When you onboard a new quality management system (QMS), you’ll likely have some clear outcomes in mind. You may want it to improve your overall efficiency and produce happier customers to allow your organization to grow. Yet you’re likely also aware that setting up a quality system isn’t a simple flip of the switch.
A robust QMS touches every part of the production network, from factories to vendors to shipping and logistics, and beyond. Implementing a QMS should be a transformative experience for your business. If you can make room for the change, a CMS reinforces itself with productivity, breathing new life and ROI into your supply chain. Here’s an overview of how to implement a QMS the right way.
Five steps to QMS success
Frame the structure of your quality management system to fit the realities of your business, including a detailed implementation strategy. List stakeholders, plan implementation timelines, assign responsible parties, gather the necessary documents, and build a system that can achieve the right certifications.
After triple-checking that you have a customized implementation plan that’s aligned with current goals and begin educating employees. Training and familiarization with properly translated documentation is necessary to align your workforce with your business aims for new efficiency and innovation.
Develop standardized means of evaluating QMS performance, which will likely rely on routine audits. Use these to adjust individual processes to optimize efficiency and effectiveness.
Objective, trustworthy metrics tell you whether your QMS is meeting its goals. Use metrics to monitor quality performance, identify problem areas, determine effective resolutions, and calculate project impact.
Using the data gathered in the previous two steps, identify and act on performance trends. Make use of metrics and analytics to spot patterns and correlations. As you implement new improvement measures, keep stakeholder communications centralized on the one platform and not spread over email and phone calls.
How to maximize QMS effectiveness
A QMS is not just a process; it’s a strategy. As an organization, you want to ensure you’re steering in the right direction, and an effective QMS allows you to continuously improve your quality management and avoid problems before they occur.
Moving beyond the basics, here’s seven ways to ensure your QMS is truly effective.
1. Gain full visibility over quality processes
The most pressing reason companies are switching to automated QMS solutions is the ability to increase visibility. You can’t fix things without removing the true source of the problem. By digitizing quality management, stakeholders gain a clear view of the organization’s processes — even when you are opening new facilities around the world.
An effective QMS should do the visibility legwork for you: storing and analyzing data using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), and making those insights accessible across your supply chain stakeholders.
2. Centralize communication
Many problems we experience with quality management stem from poor communication. Decentralized solutions like spreadsheets and emails lead to communication silos and missed messages, and time wasted searching for vital information.
Your QMS should centralize all quality-related communication into a single platform. This gives stakeholders access to the same information and eliminates compatibility and formatting issues, and email duplication.
3. Consolidate data
Make your data more actionable and effective by using your QMS to centralize communications, as well as data collection and analysis. Take full advantage of your QMS’ capability to:
- monitor key trends by embedding report views directly into the user portal
- organize and filter data by risk level, location, product line
- set alerts to notify you of problems in real-time.
Consolidating data into a single platform gives you radical levels of visibility and real-time responsiveness by leveraging your QMS to distill vast quantities of information into actionable, digestible insights for your stakeholders.
4. Continuous improvement
Ultimately, your QMS is a framework for creating change at your headquarters and across your supply chain network. There is no better vehicle for change than a culture of continuous improvement and accountability.
Use your QMS to create quality process standards. Prescribe checks and balances that minimize the risk of nonconformance and maximize organizational efficiency. By empowering all parties with the right processes and tools, you ensure your QMS creates stability and aligns individual effort toward quality products and satisfied customers.
5. Gain deep insights
Your quality managers are tasked with flagging and addressing risk across hundreds or even thousands of facilities in your supply chain. Yet without a way to view the real-time quality risk of every factory, guesswork will inevitably come into play.
The consequences of being unable to properly identify risk are all too familiar to most brands and retailers. Problems that arise early in production go undetected and turn into product defects. Those defects then trigger weeks of resource-hungry surveillance — although the damage has already been done to your bottom line, customer loyalty, and supply chain partnerships.
A robust QMS is dynamic and responsive to real-time data. According to Dr Khanh Pham, Head of Data Science at Inspectorio, features like Inspectorio’s Factory Risk Prediction “change over time with each new inspection, …[and] each piece of incoming data is used in our model to predict factory risk for a more objective and data-driven pattern.”
Humans and technology work hand-in-hand. Your QMS should use machine learning and artificial intelligence to address real-time critical event data, allowing people in your supply chain to respond efficiently and prevent delays.
6. Move to evidence-based decision making
If you want to make evidence-based decisions, you must rely on trustworthy, standardized data. Furthermore, you must be able to prove the accuracy of the data you’re quoting.
Real-time data and monitoring capabilities provide high-integrity evidence to guide your decision making and justify choices to other stakeholders. Everyone can objectively understand whether a process is successful or requires correction.
7. Choose an easy-to-use QMS
Finally, your system should not be difficult to onboard or operate. Your QMS should include a clean user interface, a comprehensive range of intuitive features, and easy-to-learn training courses.
How Inspectorio can help
By improving your quality management by basing your decisions on trustworthy performance metrics collected from every corner of your supply chain, Inspectorio offers:
Digitized and centralized platform
Connect everyone in your supply chain with the same trustworthy information. Only with true end-to-end connection can your supply chain approach 100% real-time visibility.
Intelligent risk prediction
Leverage ML and AI to quickly gain insights into every factory in your supply chain. This includes each facility’s risk for failure, its performance compared with other facilities, and individual metrics that contribute to overall risk.
Flexible data comparison
Inspectorio’s data comparison tools provide stakeholders with an intuitive means of zeroing in on how variables stack up against one another, such as: factories, inspection types, suppliers, product lines, countries, brands, and oversight offices.
Take the next step with our guide on data and the future of quality management: Top 4 KPIs for Data-Driven Quality Management