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Superpowers elevate quality management systems

These days, technology is offering tools and devices that were science fiction just a few years ago. Captain Kirk’s “Communicator” from the 1966 inaugural “Star Trek” series was the harbinger of the first-ever clamshell/flip mobile phone, the 1996 Motorola StarTAC. The 1960s also introduced you to the Jetsons seemingly miraculous “videophone,” which looks and acts suspiciously like today’s Skype programming. The Jetsons themselves relied on then-fictional robots (Rosie) and voice controls to maneuver their homes and offices. In your not-very-far-off future, the “Internet of Things” will offer you the same capacity.

Superpowers elevate quality management systems_IQSHowever, television is not the only source of science fiction that is the basis for today’s science facts. Back in the mid-1930s, while the country was struggling through the Great Depression, Action Comics introduced Superman, the world’s first “superhero.” At the time, the notion that a person – even an alien person – could overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles gave the American population hope that they, too, could survive the worst economic failure in the history of the country. Superman offered a distraction from the grind of low wages and lower morale and always won the day, no matter who he was fighting. The character became the first of a long line of superhero characters, each of whom manifested a unique and different power set, and all of whom dazzled the readers with their ability to resolve the unresolvable.

Technology adopts superhero powers

The global economy pits every widget manufacturer against every other widget manufacturer. It wouldn’t be a surprise if, in the battle for market supremacy, some manufacturers might be searching for superpowers to give them the edge they need to surpass their competition. Today’s technology leaders have built on the imaginations of those early comic and TV creators to develop digital tools that incorporate what appear to be superpowers into everyday devices and systems.

Nowhere is this more apparent or significant than in today’s ultra-competitive commercial markets. Imagine if you had X-ray vision to show you where your manufacturing equipment was failing, or was about to fail. Imagine having the flexibility to double output quotas simply by implementing technologies that reduce waste and costs while speeding production times. Imagine if you could ensure that all aspects of your enterprise were operating in true harmony with each other, and that you could track that harmony in your quarterly, annual and compliance reports.

The reality is that imagination is no longer necessary: these are the superhuman feats of today’s quality management software solutions.

X-Ray and telescopic vision

Being able to see through walls or other barriers, or the capacity to telescopically investigate minute details too small to see otherwise are two traits that are common to many superheroes (HyperionSupergirl).

Today’s enterprises often are an amalgam of corporate entities partnered with supply chains, vendors, and contractors. There can be thousands of actions that occur within the behemoth each day, any one of which can have the capacity to undermine quality, slow production or violate compliance regulations. For management at any level, identifying when and where glitches happen is extremely difficult when there is no system in place to accurately and comprehensively capture those details.

Other enterprise elements that can benefit from X-ray or telescopic vision are document, systems, and equipment management. Proper management of corporate documentation is critical to corporate activities but can be challenging to achieve when forms and papers are generated by departments or entities located miles away. Sometimes systems are spread across numerous facilities, and the work going on in each is integral to the function of the whole. Any gap that occurs in one sector can negatively impact the entire process. Where equipment is concerned, proprietary machinery might be the foundation of the company’s brand. Equipment failure can skew product quality, delay delivery timelines, or halt production altogether.

Software that analyzes the data created by each of these systems and each of their elements “sees through” the bits and pieces and generates a “big picture” on the soundness of the whole. Machine outputs and engine data, production times and volumes, and energy and supplies levels can inform operators not if, but when a malfunction is about to occur; not if but when supplies will run out; not if but when reports are due and where the data will be to create them. An integrated quality management system implemented throughout the enterprise gives management the X-ray and telescopic vision needed to comprehensively manage production and identify concerns before they become problems.

Mutation, duplication, and merging

The power to mutate (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) into a stronger, more effective entity is imperative in today’s complex commercial environment. Corporate flexibility allows enterprises to adapt to changing circumstances, adopt new cultural nuances, and pivot to accomplish new objectives or regulatory compliances. For larger businesses, it sometimes becomes necessary for management to be in two places at the same time (duplication – Jamie Madrox) to achieve composite goals at both sites. And sometimes, just merging (B’Wana Beast) all the corporate parts into a single cohesive whole is the goal.

Each of these actions requires coordination of data, systems, and operations. Understanding what needs to change often suggests the structure of the change process itself. Opening satellite offices or production facilities mustn’t erode product quality, so duplicate systems have to be created to avoid that concern. Downsizing or reorganizing into a more productive, less expensive version often requires precise determinations about which assets must stay and which assets are expendable.

In all these processes, quality management software provides the enterprise-wide “big data” details on which the C-Suite can rely when making these critical business decisions.

Super durable and virtually invulnerable

Another superpower bestowed by quality management software is the durability (Luke Cage) necessary to flex and stretch through market shifts and global industrial developments. Data analytics of company activities keep management attuned to corporate competitiveness and provides the information needed to steer changes. Customer satisfaction data guides product development and research. Even employee training processes can be streamlined to ensure that every worker, wherever located, is as competent as possible when performing their job function. With this high level of adaptability, every enterprise can withstand the vast majority of corporate challenges.

However, perhaps the most valuable superpower gained by businesses that adopt quality management programming is virtual invulnerability (Emery Schaub). With the data supplied by system-wide, quality-focused technology, you have at your fingertips all the information you need to maintain your market share, compete in your chosen industries, adapt to market pressures, and demonstrate compliance with all sets of regulations.

All that is old is new again

The superpowers of the comic book heroes of the 1930s delighted the imaginations of millions of readers who could picture themselves acting heroically in the face of unknown threats. The 1960s television shows repeated those thrills by creating futuristic devices that made life easier and safer. Today, imaginative technology developers have embraced the ideas and concepts created by those earlier artists and added the digital technologies that have emerged over the past 20 years. Incorporating both the superpowers envisioned by one generation with the magical devices developed by another, today’s quality management software systems perform superhuman feats every day, just in their normal course of business. For today’s corporate leadership looking to maintain their status in this hyper-competitive world, that development is just, well, super.

Manufacturing Metrics in an IoT World 2016_IQS



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