When looking for ways to improve your quality management system (QMS), it's important to ask: How can we put our supply chain in the best position to act on problems before they become catastrophes? After all, we can agree that proactivity is preferable to reactive measures. In this article, we will explore the importance of a seamless quality management system, as well as ways to improve an existing quality management system so you can take control of your inspections.
A QMS is a set of business and manufacturing practices aimed at finding ways to improve customer satisfaction, as well as meet stakeholder needs.
An effective QMS should establish consistent -- and consistently understood -- customer-oriented goals across the supply chain. Establishing these goals is the first step to achieving consistent product quality, compliance and transparency at every stage of production, including:
The most recognizable standard for establishing QMS best practice is the International Standard Organization (ISO) 9001:2015 "Quality Management System Requirements."
ISO 9001 is organized into seven quality management principles (QMP), including Customer Focus, Leadership, Improvement, Evidence-based Decision Making, and Relationship Management.
Evolving QMS Technology
Modern QMS took root when online capabilities began driving global quality management.
Since then, further breakthroughs in integrated, cloud-based software have helped to streamline data storage, analysis, and communication across supply chains of all sizes and distances.
Today's most cutting edge software is even more refined, targeting specific areas within the manufacturing process. These areas include Testing, Inspection, and Certification (TIC) management.
This kind of precision technology helps responsible managers find proactive ways to improve a company's overall quality management system.
Why is a QMS Vital for Global Businesses?
Virtually all production businesses are global, even if you only sell within your own country.
Somewhere along the supply chain, disparate and siloed management systems might be masking sourcing methods and production habits that do not align with your values or your customers' demands.
Therefore, even domestic businesses reliant on materials from abroad must behave like a global enterprise. And that is why forward-thinking companies have come to rely on integrated platforms and digital transformation technology to help improve QMS.
Continuous and Flexible Improvement
QMS improvement should be looked at as a continuous process, requiring decisions to be made well in advance of potentially debilitating production problems.
Decision making should also be a flexible process, made at precise moments based on emerging data evidence--not once a month, once a year, or even once a day.
QMS Improvement Benefits
When companies can successfully carry out their QMS aims, they can:
To this last point, here is a situation where you may already be consistent with quality and regulatory compliance; however, it is discovered too late that a supplier has been unethically harvesting raw materials, ignoring ethical labor practices, or damaging the environment.
A quality management system designed to spotlight unethical behavior can bring accountability to the fore.
1. Consolidate Quality Control (QC) Data
With the application of QMS software "quality and compliance" features, you can effectively consolidate scattered and siloed inspection data, and leverage them into actionable results. Consolidating data will give all connected supply chain managers a single, easy-to-access source for all QC reports.
As a result, busy managers no longer have to waste time searching for missing reports or manually decipher larger trends adversely affecting quality.
2. Make Supply Chain Performance Visible
Once these larger trends are available across your supply chain, all connected partners can see the larger picture, and thus make wiser, proactive decisions to stop problems in their tracks.
Otherwise, unforeseen production problems will grow to devour production-cycle efficiency.
3. Allocate Inspections Based on Performance
Every supplier in your network performs differently. A QMS that can capture previous supplier performance can be used to map out future inspections based on risk profiles. Perhaps the most trusted suppliers can perform their own inspections, whereas third party inspections may be required for higher risk suppliers.
4. Ensure Accountability Among Suppliers and Inspectors
When suppliers and inspectors can work from a singular, standardized process and specifically designed workflows, quality and compliance requirements can easily be upheld. QMS software can provide all relevant templates based on industry best practices. In turn, those templates can be automatically updated based on regulatory changes that occur in your designated marketplace.
5. Use Performance Reports to Vet New Supply Chain Partners
Enforcing accountability from your current inspectors and suppliers when performing quality control is important.
Equally important is finding accountable operations when searching for new suppliers.
QMS software with TIC features can make the vetting process cost-effective if the platform provides detailed, customizable, and ready-to-use auditing templates.
6. Provide E-Training Materials
Perhaps the most vital improvement method for QMS is clear guidance.
Supply chains are often caught up in a complicated web made up of strict market regulations, preferred auditing methods, and your own uncompromising production standards.
By implementing a comprehensive set of quality production and ethical operating standards, backed by a platform of training tools, you give your supply chain the ability to raise their own business profile.
This, in turn, can spark a drive for suppliers to become industry leaders, potentially triggering positive global change.
7. Focus on Sustainability and Transparency
Modern QMS concerns are leaning more towards the ethical side of production because customers demand products that are in line with their values. Customers are increasingly willing to stay loyal to brands that practice sustainable and environmentally-friendly sourcing--and can deliver health, safety, and fair-pay guarantees for laborers.
Once you can confirm all ethical standards are being met, you can pass along this assurance to your customers with confidence.
Finding ways to further improve your quality management system shouldn't include scrapping your existing supply chain management platform.
QIMAone quality inspection software can be integrated with existing targeted-management tools, such as Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Warehouse Management Software (WMS). It is designed with probable user scenarios in mind--that is, often in limited manufacturing space, across numerous factory areas and locations, as well as in remote environments. Additionally, our software's real-time data exchange, on-the-fly task assignments, and user support makes for a blazingly efficient inspection process.
Our inspection templates provide step-by-step inspection guidance for in-house users that are both industry- and market-specific.
Finally, QIMAone provides access to 2,500 inspectors and auditors over 85 countries, plus E-learning material on quality and compliance best practices. Let QIMAone help you find proactive ways to improve your quality management system.
Want to see how it works? Learn more about QIMAone applications by scheduling a demo today.