A top-notch quality management system (QMS) is a powerful and necessary tool. The most effective quality control managers leverage their QMSs to increase product quality, optimize manufacturing processes and exceed business standards. So, how can you improve your quality management system?
Get More Out of Your QMS
Harness the Power of Automation
The old adage, “work smarter, not harder” definitely applies here. Traditional paper-based or spreadsheet-based QMSs are hard work to maintain and require a lot of manual updating. Attempting to analyze any of the data collected in these systems is even more of a time suck. For this reason, leading manufacturers are investing in automated QMSs. Automated QMSs collect and aggregate data in real time, streamlining the quality management process. On top of that, modern QMSs provide automated version control and a central data repository. That way, you never have to guess which is the updated document, and you never have to go hunting in multiple places for a particular piece of information. Talk about increasing efficiency!
Integrate QC with Other Management Processes
Quality control should never be a “lone ranger.” Instead, QC should harmonize with other areas of your business strategy–from sourcing and design up through manufacturing, distribution, and service. Next-generation QMS solutions, like TrackVia, integrate key data sources and systems to develop closed-loop quality processes, or feedback loops, between functional areas. These closed-loop processes facilitate improvements earlier in the value chain, helping to continuously correct and prevent quality issues while driving costs down.
Maintain High Standards for Reporting and Analytics
Solid reporting stems from solid data. If your QMS requires manual entry of data into a spreadsheet, the reports you rely on are not only built with old data but they are most likely riddled with errors too. A modern QMS takes reporting and analytics to a new level. Firstly, reports are built from real-time data. Secondly, reporting dashboards are dynamic and provide multiple views of the data with drill-down capabilities. Thirdly, since these live-data reports are housed in the cloud, QC directors don’t have to wait for someone to email them the latest spreadsheet. They have immediate access to these reports 24/7 and are empowered to make better and faster decisions.
Be Forward Thinking
It is important to have a QMS that grows with your business and manufacturing needs. Old-school (paper-based and spreadsheet-based) QMSs have little capability to grow in this manner. In contrast, automated QMSs are more flexible. Scalable and fully agile systems are worth their initial investment because they provide a strong framework that eliminates the need to start from scratch when the business expands and/or when your QC process evolves over time. Spreadsheet-based systems ultimately topple under the pressure to support increasing amounts of data. Moreover, the data that is retained in these types of systems can easily get “lost” and never be put to practical use.
Make It Mobile
Imagine being able to track quality on a mobile device. Not only are you able to capture and aggregate real-time data while on the move, you can give visibility into that data and subsequent reports to anyone and everyone in your manufacturing organization. Plus, going mobile means that you are not tethered to your desktop compiling aging data that may never see the light of day. You can even take photos on your mobile QMS and annotate it, which provides a more comprehensive and multidimensional view for stakeholders residing thousands of miles away.
Continuously Validate Your Systems
Continually striving for excellence is a necessary strategy for becoming a leader in your niche of manufacturing. This same principle applies to your QMS. In order to help manufacturers achieve that aim (and to protect consumers), the federal government requires manufacturers in highly regulated industries to update (i.e., validate) their QMS to stay in line with current regulations. Modern QMSs have continuous validation built into the system. These types of systems are ideal because they save manufacturers from the incredible headache of updating the system manually.
It’s clear that traditional QMSs can be counterproductive to a manufacturer’s goal of continuous improvement. On the other hand, a modern QMS can lower your cost of quality by eliminating unnecessary expenses due to human error, undiagnosed issues and communication gaps. The best and brightest quality managers are leveraging the latest mobile QMS technology. They’re not just looking to bridge gaps in their system today; they’re protecting their leadership position in the marketplace and setting themselves up for greater success.
Is your QMS facilitating your success or hindering it? Take this short quiz to find out. Your company may be ready to consider a next-generation solution to replace costly and error-prone QMS systems of the past.