Mobile Quality Management: Solutions for Today

By ETQ on March 24, 2022

On-site quality management can often be complicated, and accurate recording has historically been challenging to maintain while on the move, with information getting lost in a sea of paper. However, thanks to advances in mobile technology, quality management has made considerable strides in terms of ease-of-recording and accuracy.

Let’s dive into the benefits a mobile app brings to quality management.

Factors Driving Adoption

Adopting mobile devices in quality control has been slow, but it’s picking up – and with good reason. A quick poll taken by ETQ showed that almost 60% of people use personal devices for work. Many of us reach for phones and tablets rather than laptops to complete simple tasks — making quality management more straightforward thanks to these mobile devices.

Nowadays, several factors gradually drive the adoption of mobile for quality management. 

Distributed Global Locations

Any organization operating across multiple geographical locations benefits from mobile, thanks to the ability to log real-time updates and reports easily. Using a mobile device for day-to-day quality operations makes sense.

Quality Where You Need It

Being able to take a device where you need it – no matter how remote the location – makes all the difference. For inspections, audits, or anything else needing to occur on-site, carrying a laptop is inconvenient and potentially dangerous. A mobile device does the job far more efficiently and can also capture images or other information in a way that’s uniquely suited to mobile. 

Low or No Connectivity

Internet connectivity isn’t always reliable in the field, but that’s no barrier for mobile devices as they can still capture data even if there’s no signal. This information syncs after reestablishing a connection. 

Mobile and Quality

There are several differences between quality management on a desktop computer or laptop versus a mobile device. Remember that you’re not attempting to replicate the entire desktop process with a mobile device – it’s about getting it started in an accurate, timely manner. 

Capture the start

In the field, the user would use the ETQ Reliance app to capture the start of the process via a simple form with just the basic information. Then, it can be submitted to the web version for the appropriate person to handle. This process allows for greater flexibility and productivity when out in the field. 

Augment the process

A mobile device is never going to take on the entire process alone. Instead, it’s more about augmenting a workflow or action more quickly and efficiently. One of the reasons it’s so easy to use mobile at the start of the process is because, in the field, you are in a position where something is being observed; with an app, you can capture it as it occurs. Otherwise, it has to be remembered or written down then inputted later.

Keep it simple

Using mobile for quality management is about capturing a moment of information. Snapping a photo, scanning a barcode, or filing an initial report as the event occurs – it’s about taking that initial step in a more accurate, coherent way.

ETQ Reliance At a Glance

Here’s an overview of some of the ETQ Reliance app’s features:

  • Functions on and offline
  • Create or edit documents easily
  • Push notifications for assignments and alerts
  • Scan barcodes and QR codes for rapid data entry
  • Access to device camera and microphone for image and sound recording
  • Advanced configurations for complex use cases

Most Common Application Deployments for Mobile

There are many benefits to using a mobile device out in the field. 

Audits Management

The ability to conduct audits is a particular strength of using mobile devices in the QMS process, especially given the benefit of the immediate taking and uploading of photos. ETQ Reliance’s in-app audit checklist allows a user to attach evidence, give a case a rating that relates to the appropriate quality standard, and add additional information like classification and other comments. From there, this information can be saved or sent forward.

Plus, if the user is unsure whether there’s connectivity on-site, they can download the checklist beforehand but still use all of the mobile functionality to fill it in while offline. Then, they can upload the form once they’re back online.

Take a look at how Coca-Cola uses this type of mobility to conduct audits.

Accidents and Safety Reporting

Most people always carry their phones on them and constantly observe the world around them. Anybody using a mobile device on-site has easy access to a camera, so they can record the evidence of an incident in real-time, make a few notes, and move on. 

Creating a new accident report couldn’t be easier. A simple form where the user records basic information is quickly accessible, and the in-app camera allows them to either capture an image or upload an existing one. Then the case can be assigned to a safety manager and sent off. 

Additionally, the user can record observations and witness statements – either typed, taken down via text-to-speech, or recorded as a .wav file. Users can even use the touchscreen to record a physical signature if required.

Document Control

When the user is in a situation where they are unsure of web access, they can download documents beforehand, creating a local copy that syncs once connectivity is established. Nothing needs to be remembered or scribbled down in a hurry since all the required files are still accessible.

Assets, Calibration, and Maintenance

Because a user can use a mobile device on the go, calibration and maintenance are made easier than ever. Employees can record data and make updates as they walk around the facility using the mobile app. 

Non-conformance Reporting

For any non-conformance happening on-site, a mobile device makes it easy to identify and record issues in real-time using the camera, voice-to-text functionalities, or any other configuration specific to a mobile device.

Using the ETQ Reliance app, mobile quality management is just as configurable and flexible as the web version. Anything can be configured on the platform and mobilized – even the user’s own apps. 

As soon as a mobile report is logged, it’s accessible on the more in-depth web version, where the user has the opportunity to add more detail if required. Most importantly, mobile allows anywhere access. Wherever the user is, an app on a device makes quality control simple, accessible, and straightforward. If you’re interested in learning more, book a demo here.