The growth of lean quality management and compliance systems has given manufacturers a means to soften the financial impacts on total cost of quality. To increase quality and lower production costs, today’s manufacturers require a fully-integrated, modern enterprise quality management software (EQMS) solution. As you seek to upgrade your outdated QMS and vet EQMS vendors, consider some of the top technology trends in quality management software outlined below.
The Old Wisdom: Software Integration vs. Outdated Quality Management Systems
Despite the obvious advantages of an integrated software solution, many manufacturers hesitate when faced with the idea of transitioning quality processes to an integrated quality management system. The cost of initial investment, along with an uncertain ROI, gives business decision-makers cause for concern when analyzing the potential viability of modern IT solutions. As a result, laggard manufacturers remain inhibited by paper-driven and disparate quality management systems.
Paper-driven quality management systems are both time-consuming and expensive to maintain. The problem with paper-driven methods for managing quality lies in the way quality management systems have evolved. In one manner of speaking, many legacy systems accommodate the paper-driven method itself, rather than the method accommodating the system.
In recent years, technological advancements have made paper-driven quality management systems all but obsolete. Today’s integrated software solutions seek to correct this imbalance by streamlining quality management processes tailored to the unique requirements of the quality system as a whole from an enterprise-wide perspective.
Disparate Automated Systems
Manufacturers that operate across a global supply chain contend with the added challenge of coordinating disparate automated quality management systems. When manufacturers opt to deploy disparate automation solutions, the challenge of data collection, analysis, and management strains the capabilities of obsolete quality systems.
Even after implementing new IT solutions to increase efficiency in quality management processes, the issue of integration only worsens the operational issues at hand. While the evolution of open platform communications (OPC) standardization offers a means to facilitate data transmission between disparate manufacturing components, the problem of system administration from an enterprise-wide perspective persists even after deploying integrated software solutions.
Beyond QMS Software Integration: Trends in Quality Management Facilitated by Modern Solutions
As a result of software integration, businesses are taking a more holistic approach to quality management. As you consider the benefits of a fully-integrated QMS, consider these additional trends.
Business decision-makers can’t afford to underestimate the human element of implementing new quality management systems. As the rate of technological innovation in the manufacturing industry continues to accelerate, manufacturers must be able to educate employees on new systems.
If deployed correctly, manufacturers can potentially achieve substantial ROI from integrated software solutions. The key is to align integrated systems with current business practices by launching proactive training initiatives. Ideally, software solutions should be intuitive enough to take advantage of the technological literacy of quality management personnel.
Software as a Service
Software vendors are increasingly moving toward subscription service models, also known as software as a service (SaaS). SaaS solutions enable quality management software vendors to quickly and easily keep customers’ software applications up-to-date. Because vendors host the application, they can control both the timing and method of update roll-outs.
Keeping software up-to-date is as much of a benefit for customers as it is for providers. It not only allows vendors to shorten their development cycles and release new features or bug fixes more quickly, but it also ensures that customers and providers are always using the same software version. This consistency makes working with global colleagues and suppliers more efficient since everyone has exactly the same features available and no one can fall behind due to lack of updating.
Mobility is more than just a trend; it’s a critical component in today’s quality management platforms. With the rise of mobile devices, it’s necessary for quality management personnel to remain up-to-date with real-time data.
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of mobile-friendly software is that communication can be streamlined between IT departments, quality operators, and disparate manufacturing sites. Time-sensitive decisions are no longer subject to the inherent inefficiencies of disparate quality management systems, as anyone with access to these platforms can view and report data in real time. By leveraging mobile devices in the workplace, manufacturers can potentially lower the cost of data collection and analysis by as much as 75 percent, while support and data can decrease by up to 50 percent.
Modern solutions can be tailored to accommodate many of your preferred quality management processes within a single system. The flexibility of today’s quality management solutions allows for the customization needed to meet your company’s unique goals and quality objectives.
From document control to training management, today’s robust quality management systems can integrate with other major enterprise systems. To name a few, consider integrating software modules, such as:
- Product life cycle management
- Customer relations management
- Supplier quality management
- Risk management
Modern Enterprise-Grade Quality Management Software Solution
Manufacturing industry experts agree that the success of quality management initiatives hinges on the ability of upper-level management personnel to breed a new quality management culture. Integrated systems like IQS’ enterprise quality management software (EQMS) combine intuitive training, mobile device elements, and platform flexibility to help manufacturers stay ahead of the curve.
Contact IQS today to learn more or to request a demo of our enterprise quality management software.