How does a growing company in a hyper-competitive market focus on innovation while maintaining quality? That was the challenge that mattress innovator, Purple, was facing.
Purple Quality Systems Manager Anna Cook shared details on the company’s quality journey during a recent webinar. During this event, Cook discussed how Purple used ETQ Reliance’s quality management system (QMS) to automate quality processes, outlined the business benefits the company achieved and highlighted best practices and lessons learned along the way. Following are some key takeaways from the webinar:
Consider a Phased Approach to the Quality Journey
Like many organizations, Purple began its quality journey using ETQ Reliance’s document control application, then built on its success with other applications. The company started implementing this solution in February 2020, which slowed due to Covid and employee furloughs. The process was completed by summer 2020.
Now, Purple uses ETQ to manage nonconforming products, reduce customer complaints, and foster continuous improvement by minimizing defects and boosting product quality. The company customized nonconformance handling according to its unique needs and uses a “blank” application in the engineering department to store test records.
The phased approach also helps drive the adoption of the QMS throughout Purple’s organization. “As Purple grows, various departments have reached out to us — we work together with them to spec out if using Reliance will help solve their particular pain points,” Cook explained. “Showing the benefits — highlighting how ETQ can make users’ jobs easier — is a powerful selling tool.”
Acknowledge the Need for Technology
Considering the rise of people working from home, companies must invest in technology that helps workers handle their tasks from any location. That includes the benefit of signing off and approving things directly within the software.
“In this day and age with everyone working remotely, you must have software that people can log into and receive assignments and alerts on what they have to watch for,” Cook said. “It’s vital to have an integrated quality software system that allows users to approve things within the platform. And ETQ allows users to set up a delegation application so that processes don’t stall if an approver is out of the office.”
Reap Immediate Value, Then Customize
Purple began using ETQ Reliance and immediately realized value. “ETQ’s applications are a great place to start, right out-of-the-box. It’s a really great foundation for anything that you want to change,” Cook noted.
And after staffers had a chance to use the software, integrating it into their processes, Cook says gathering feedback and configuring applications to the company’s specific needs was easy, without requiring a programming background.
Take Advantage of ETQ Academy
“Academy is your best friend,” said Cook. “When I first started, I went through the Academy and all the trainings to become an admin. But just like anything else, if you don’t use it, you lose the knowledge — so to be able to go back to the Academy and refresh your memory is awesome.”
Academy and ETQ training have also been vital in vetting operators before allowing them access to the QMS. “They [users] have to complete training before inspecting or writing up products,” Cook said. “There are tests in training management, and users have to pass before they are allowed to begin work on their own.”
Implement a Corrective Action Plan
Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA) plays a crucial role in regulatory compliance and is the driver for continuous improvement. Cook recommends supporting your quality journey by implementing a corrective action plan that outlines how your business will collaborate on systemic or recurring issues. An effective corrective action plan allows organizations to track individual corrective actions and identify trends occurring over time, so you can determine where you need to start your quality improvement efforts.
Quality Supports Innovation
In a highly competitive market, businesses constantly look to gain any advantage. Continuous innovation is essential, but Cook asserts that product quality and consistency are just as important. Consider a phased approach to your quality journey, taking advantage of the technology’s out-of-the-box features to prove value before making customizations. Make the most of ETQ Academy and other training options, and don’t forgo implementing a corrective action plan to support your quality journey. By following these guidelines, your high-growth business can, like Purple, support product innovation without sacrificing quality.
Want more insights from Purple’s quality journey? Register now to view the on-demand recording of the Purple webinar here.