Quality management is a catalyst to organizational success that builds a pathway to product and service excellence, brand loyalty and financial improvement. No longer a luxury, quality management is now a strategic business initiative. And an automated quality management system – QMS – delivers measurable ROI as it builds a sustainable competitive advantage.
Quality is under pressure everywhere which means quality management must evolve. As competitive pressures force brands to develop products faster and compliance requirements become stricter, maintaining rock-solid quality becomes increasingly difficult. Outdated spreadsheet-based processes that can’t meet the need for greater agility and scalability can result in poor quality that causes recalls, repairs and product delays.
Today, product and service quality and the quality management systems – QMS – that deliver them are critical elements in building a sustainable business advantage. In fact, savvy organizations that are pursuing a digital transformation strategy have integrated quality management and QMS software into their enterprise-level technology stack – co-equal with ERP, MES and CRM systems.
Quality professionals need a QMS that can quickly adapt as business conditions change, scale when their organizations grow and engage stakeholders inside and outside their organizations to build a culture of quality and continuous improvement. Truly next-generation quality management can be a catalyst to organization-wide digital transformation through enterprise integration and advanced, actionable analytics. Rock-solid product quality is the backbone of brand reputation and brings a premium to quality-centric organizations. Quality products and services establish and reinforce lifelong loyalty, market dominance and profitable businesses. Making the transition to automated quality management provides your organization with all the tools necessary to build the foundation of a culture of quality, maximize cost efficiency and secure your brand’s reputation.
Reduce the Cost of Poor Quality
As we have seen, today’s dynamic, chaotic and disrupted world is no place for manual processes. Yet, many organizations choose to do little more than maintain the status quo when it comes to their quality efforts.
The caveat is that the status quo is not enough in the modern business world. Companies that don’t invest in quality management are taking a huge risk, a decision that may usher in some or all of the following outcomes:
- Reduced competitive position
- Risk of repeated failures
- Inability of anticipate, predict, and prevent quality issues
- Manual time-consuming quality processes
- Inconsistent documentation and training
- Risk of errors from manual data entry across multiple, disconnected systems
- Lack of visibility into supplier performance
An additional cost of not investing in a robust QMS is the loss of potential gains only achievable through an investment in good quality. As investors and finance professionals know, the “opportunity cost” of selecting one investment over another, even if one of those alternatives is “doing nothing,” needs to be considered. In the case of quality management this means a company that decides not to manage quality in a comprehensive way is foregoing the potential cost efficiencies and revenue gains that can be achieved through tighter management and process control.
Advanced Quality Management is Easier Than it Sounds
Moving into a digital QMS approach may seem daunting, if you’re coming from a strictly manual process environment — but it is truly not. The key is to focus your new software-driven approach on a few critical areas that will deliver immediate results.
At ETQ, we’ve found that – in most cases – choosing quality management software applications that focus on automating document control, corrective action, audit management, employee training and nonconformance resolutions often have the most immediate impact in improving quality management. It is important, however, to select a QMS that manages to both provide immediate value out of the box and allow easy configurability and flexibility to map to your organization’s internal quality environment.
Often, customers quickly move beyond the basic QMS building blocks above and begin to use their QMS for ensuring supplier quality. This may involve allowing your suppliers to have direct controlled access to your QMS to ensure the highest level of supplied part quality on a sustained basis. Doing so enables near real time supplier corrective actions to take place, which should improve product quality through the product lifecycle.
Additionally, a data-driven culture encourages transparency, traceability, strategic planning and, ultimately, facilitates informed action. In other words, analytics turns masses of seemingly incomprehensible data from across an enterprise into a common language that can be consumed by business leaders to drive their operation more effectively. Analytics is a critical part of making sense of quality-related data. As the internet of connected things and IIOT become more common phenomena, companies have found innumerable ways to collect and maintain data, especially during the production process with corrective action trend analysis and pattern identification in nonconformance management.
As a result, quality data insights are increasingly becoming the glue that leads to improved visibility in the supply chain with supplier corrective action remediation (SCAR) and first article inspection.