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Processes Enterprise Quality Management Software should automate

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Don’t settle for something that can’t keep up with your sequence of operations and doesn’t deliver on productivity. This is the view of Ian Huntly, CEO and MD of Rifle-Shot Performance Holdings, who says, in order to get the true value for money that an Enterprise Quality Management Software (EQMS) promises, it should at least have these 13 processes automated. SoftExpert is exclusively represented in Sub-Saharan Africa by Rifle-Shot Performance Holdings.
Embarking on the journey to implement EQMS whether for small to large organisations can mean a significant financial and time investment, some disruption, and the allocation of resources to what could be a long-term, potentially multi-year or ongoing project. The process of ensuring that the right solution is selected has a number of steps that, if followed, increase the chances of success immensely.
Organisations have every right to demand that these highly valuable products should fit their business like a glove, but most of them do not deliver as well as you would expect. They are difficult to use, are bloated with unnecessary features and don’t give any power to anyone outside the ‘control room`.
To get the true value for money that a EQMS promises, it should at least have these 13 processes automated.
* Document Control – In large organisations, it’s typical for different sites and even departments to have varying types of documents as well as methods for handling those documents. Without a centralised system to ensure uniformity, there tends to be redundancy in efforts to create and distribute them. EQMS consolidates these efforts, providing a single retrieval as well as archival resource for controlled documents, which is key for easily locating files and effective reporting.
* Non-Conformance/Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPA) – Part of the broader EQMS functionality portfolio, CAPA management is a tool utilised by many organisations to identify, resolve and avoid non conformances. Just as it sounds, CAPA has two main elements, corrective and preventive actions, both of which aim to improve the quality of processes. Although CAPA processes have long been employed by companies, they have evolved correspondingly with new technologies and strategies. It’s common today for the tool to be integrated with many applications in IT architectures and play a central role in global quality management initiatives.
* Employee Training – The impact of training management is often overlooked by executives, despite its grave importance and close connection to compliance, quality, health, safety and a wide variety of other key areas related to business performance. Fortunately, automation, combined with other next-generation software capabilities has transformed training management into a tool that’s more useful than ever. The training features in EQMS, when applied correctly, can take non-value -add administration out of the equation, so more time can be focused on the quality of content and the effectiveness of the training itself.
* Complaint Handling – Although customer complaints may have a negative connotation, they provide valuable and voluntary post -production data that would otherwise be difficult to find. Companies leveraging technology such as EQMS are building complaint management into strategies to help close the loop on quality management. Complaint management, when managed as part of an EQMS system, drives business improvements in customer retention, warranty reserves, service hours, operational risk and other areas. By connecting customer complaint data with traditionally disparate business processes and units, market leading companies have been placing higher quality products on the shelves.
* Statistical Process Control (SPC) – SPC is mainly a tool to help a company measure, analyse and reduce variability in important business processes. Most often companies start with manufacturing processes but the concepts can be applied to most any process. SPC is also often a supporting tool in other quality or continuous improvement initiatives like TPM, TQM, or Six Sigma. When it comes to high level strategic objective, most companies are primarily focused on things like revenue or profitability growth.  EQMS plays a supporting role in the achievement of these goals, specifically through variability reductions and the reduction of non -conformances and waste.
* Change Management – When implemented and managed successfully, an automated change control management solution improves a product’s cycle time and time to market, supports global supply chain initiatives, enhances product quality and the flexibility to adapt to changing regulations and, in turn, reduces operational cost. A number of companies know from experience the issues that can occur from inadequately managing change across the business.
* Reporting – To gain greater control of quality operations, leading manufacturing companies are implementing EQMS to standardise and harmonise quality processes, systems and data within a single integrated platform. Typically problems with data integrity arise when there are multiple sources of data and there is no single source of truth when it comes to master data. To overcome these complexities and inaccuracies with quality data, a manufacturer should leverage an EQMS with embedded analytics capabilities that support both business processes as well as in-depth analysis and reporting. By eliminating the need for data integration and migration for analytics, manufacturers can empower their quality people and cut costs, all while enhancing their quality management strategy.
* Audit Management – Audit management is an area where EQMS has a solid history in harmonising direct and indirect processes, and providing a strong ROI. A centralised, flexible audit management solution as part of EQMS drives sharing, learning, guidance and best practices, not to mention positive side-effects like that of a true corporate memory of all that came before.
* Supplier Quality Management (SQM) – SQM is confidence in a supplier’s ability to deliver a good or service that will satisfy the customer’s needs. Achievable through interactive relationship between the customer and the supplier, it aims at ensuring the product’s ‘fit’ to the customer’s requirements with little or no adjustment or inspection. As SQM is an integral component to the total cost of quality, EQMS companies have begun incorporating it into available software. A quality manager should integrate his or her EQMS with that of the suppliers and, if possible, with the supplier’s suppliers (often through a shared web-portal). This is an ideal method of obtaining a real-time performance assessment and greater visibility.
* Calibration Management – Calibration management allows you to better manage your workload, minimise costs, maintain production schedules and ensure customer approval while maintaining compliance with international quality standards such as FDA and ISO. As your business grows and changes, so will your calibration management needs.
* Compliance Management – In today’s highly regulated, standards-driven world, organisations across the industry spectrum are facing mounting pressures relating to corporate governance, risk management and compliance. To reduce corporate risk and optimise performance, companies must effectively demonstrate compliance with a growing array of ISO standards, government regulations and quality initiatives. Finding the most efficient and flexible way to meet this challenge can transform compliance management from a burden to a benefit. An EQMS helps you to create a unified “Culture of Compliance” for managing the full spectrum of compliance management initiatives across your enterprise, from finance and manufacturing to marketing and distribution.
* Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) – FMEA is a time-consuming process – even for top-tier manufacturers with the resources to invest heavily in customised IT systems. However, it is also a highly effective process when coordinated the right way. The challenge you face as a quality management professional is how to prepare, coordinate and (when necessary) revise FMEAs to harmonise with your company’s Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) and beyond. FMEAs should be a key part of your company’s APQP and cost containment strategy. Costs rise as quality defects come to light late in the production process. EQMS give you a systemic tool to identify potential failures, assign risk and move on to corrective and preventative actions.
* Environmental Health and Safety – EQMS drives compliance with the OHSAS 18001 standard and establishes irrefutable sound occupational health and safety performance. EQMS provides the perfect framework to meet this challenge with an OHSAS 18001 compliant Health and Safety Management System that defines how you manage risk, identifies risk and implements suitable controls. EQMS provides effective communications across all levels of your organisation, manages the identification and correction of non -conformance and provides a platform for continuous improvement.