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What is quality management software?
Quality management software (QMS) is an enterprise platform that automates the process of tracking and controlling product defects. Managers can use the software to check the final quality and ensure improvements in the processes, production, and revenue.
The software helps them identify, isolate, and correct unforeseen defects in products that could result in failure to fulfill customer needs. It also provides the tools to evaluate the effectiveness of repair attempts and aids in maintaining product compliance as per international regulations.
QMS automates the workflows and allows manufacturers to collect data from users, analyze it, and implement corrective measures to rectify any defects.
The benefits of quality management software
Maintaining consistency and good quality is the aim of all businesses. Quality management software helps businesses do the following:
- Improve customer satisfaction: The key to business growth is offering products and services of the utmost quality to end users. Implementing quality management software helps businesses meet customer requirements. It also deepens trust in your brand, which boosts customer loyalty. Quality management takes into consideration customer feedback so that teams can make improvements in the processes.
- Eliminate rework to be more efficient: Implementing quality procedures ensures that production performance is continuously measured, so that when defects occur, corrective measures are taken immediately. It saves time and improves efficiency as proper evaluation techniques are applied for consistently good performance.
- Boost financial performance: Quality management processes can lead to consistently good-quality products and fewer defects. It reduces overall costs because of reduced rework, fewer field service requirements, and lower amount of scrap generated from the production process. These improve your business’ financial performance.
- Increase market share: With the high market competition, managing your strategies and market visibility go hand-in-hand. Quality management software can help you manage the risks and costs, which allows you to make improvements in the development process. This makes the system defect-free and capable of quickly reacting to industry opportunities, which improves your market share.
Typical features of quality management software
Here are some of the most common features of quality management software:
- Audit management: Schedule and conduct periodic inspections and audits. Ensure that production processes are as per the organizational and industry standards.
- Compliance management: Track and manage non-conformance in service, product, process, or supplier to ensure that all defects get flagged in time.
- Document control: Organize documents related to all stages of a product in a centralized database. Manage and control the creation, approval, and distribution of documents and processes to ensure they meet industry regulations.
- Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPA): Create a workflow to investigate the root cause or error in products/processes and take action to prevent recurrence of the errors.
- Risk management: Identify, evaluate, mitigate, and report on risks.
- Supplier quality control: Qualify, select, and monitor supply chain partners. Track supplier issues such as instances of non-conformance.
- Complaint management: Obtain, monitor, and review customer feedback and complaints related to products and services. Resolve complaints and improve customer satisfaction.
Considerations when purchasing quality management software
Quality management software informs you about the risks and defects in the workflows through detailed reports. Therefore, selecting a vendor and the right tool requires extensive research on your business requirements and the available tools in the market. Before you purchase a solution, here are some important factors to consider:
- Flexibility to adapt to existing processes: Most often, businesses take years to establish their procedures, which can make it tough to change things for implementing the QMS. The software has to be flexible to meet your business requirements with the least amount of interruption to existing processes. Generic software may not always be the answer if you want some level of customization. You should consider software that can configure workflows, report templates, audit checklists etc.
- Ability to seamlessly integrate with other systems: Ensuring product quality is vital, but unlikely if your various tools are working in silos. It’s essential that operational areas have visibility into all the processes. This helps you resolve quality issues faster and prevents any loss in production. The compatibility of the QMS with other systems can streamline operations and ensure quick information flow to maintain the quality.
- Data analysis and report generation: Various processes work in sync with the QMS, which generates large amounts of data. Businesses should focus on analyzing this data using a reporting tool. They should get insights on product defects and yield trends, which can be used to improve development processes. Therefore, reporting capability on parameters, such as risks, costs, and KPIs, can be highly beneficial to businesses. Consider adding a third-party reporting tool to your QMS.
Relevant quality management software trends
- IoT is detecting problems in early stages: As the Internet of Things (IoT) allows devices to interact with each other, things have become easy for quality managers. IoT gives quality management an edge , with the help of digitized processes and connected sensors. It leverages data and analyzes it for proactive decision making. For instance, IoT can detect when a sub-standard material enters the supply chain or when a product attribute deviates from the predefined quality criteria. Early-stage detection saves a lot of costs and rework.
- Mobility is connecting different aspects of business: Quality managers should utilize the increasing use of mobile phones to stay updated in real time regarding every procedural change. Communication between various segments, such as manufacturing sites, IT departments, and quality operators, expedites time-sensitive decision making. It also lowers the cost of data collection and analytics by 75% .