To be able to assert oneself economically successfully on the market as a company requires the consideration and co-determination of various factors. These include not only hard factors such as turnover and costs, but also soft factors such as image or reputation. One aspect is essential: the quality of products and processes.
Because high quality has a positive effect on both hard and soft factors. Thus, good quality not only has the potential to increase sales in the long term, but also to positively influence the company’s image among customers and suppliers. In the modern economy, quality is a necessity. The complexity of supply networks has increased dramatically in recent years and requires that all parties involved can rely on the agreed quality of the respective business partner. It is not without reason that, in addition to standards and guidelines that ensure a minimum level of quality, customer requirements, for example, when it comes to processes in one’s own company, also play such an important role.
But quality can do much more than that: it can exceed standards and customer expectations. This not only creates a high level of satisfaction on the part of the customer, but also a high level of trust, which is reflected in the reputation and image of the company. In order not only to ensure quality, but also to improve it continuously and sustainably, the integration of a digitally supported quality management system is necessary.
1. Quality ensures sustainable corporate success: Differentiation from competitors and relevance for customers – probably the most important aspects when it comes to corporate success. Quality is an essential factor in meeting customer expectations and differentiating from competing products. However, a high-quality end product can only be guaranteed by consistently high quality throughout the entire manufacturing process. Good QM software supports the management of these processes by digitizing all internal and cross-company quality processes.
2. Quality along the entire supply chain: Successful quality management not only ensures the quality of the processes within your own company, but at best also the quality of those processes that run along the supply chain. Since the quality of the end product depends to a large extent on the quality and origin of the supplier products, it is essential to think about quality beyond the boundaries of your own company. Digitally supported quality management has the potential to further develop not only the quality processes within one’s own company, but also those of suppliers.
3. Digital quality management saves time and money: How annoying is it, if a delivered product does not meet your own quality standards? This not only costs time, but also money. In this context, the use of a QM software facilitates, for example, the incoming and outgoing goods inspection, as products can be inspected faster and better according to certain specifications. In terms of the Closed Quality Loop, a QM solution covers Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA), inspection plans, production-related inspections including incoming and outgoing goods, complaints and action management. In principle, digital QM systems in this control loop support the monitoring and analysis of quality-relevant data.
4. Quality as an interdepartmental task: High quality is created distributed over the various process steps in the manufacture of a product, but never depends on just one measure or person. Ensuring product and service quality must therefore not depend only on individual employees. Rather, it must be understood as a company-wide task that depends on the cooperation of the most diverse participants. This is where the integration of a QM software can help, because it digitizes the processes that take place in the various areas with a quality reference, thus ensuring transparency and company-wide insight into quality-relevant aspects.
5. Guidelines and standards define the minimum: The basis for the product and process quality to be achieved is provided by guidelines and standards such as ISO 9001 or IATF 16949, which define the minimum requirements for quality management. Anyone who does not comply with these mandatory standards does not receive certification and consequently cannot guarantee his customers the minimum level of quality that the standard and thus the market demands. A good QM software supports the most automated coverage possible of all requirements that are set by standards, customers or even the own company for the quality of a product or process.
6. Standards create transparency and efficiency: Everyone works differently, it’s human nature. But in order to make QM processes not only effective but also efficient, it is necessary to attach importance to standardized methods. For example, the 8D-Report has proven itself worldwide in complaint management. Using QM software, the 8D-Report can be implemented in a guided, standardized form company-wide for all types of complaints. This not only increases the efficiency of the quality process, but also creates transparency for all those involved and can be used as an accepted standard along the supply chain – whether towards the customer or the supplier.
7. Holistic use of quality-related indicators: In order to make quality measurable, corresponding key figures are necessary. If no key figures are available, the potential for improvement can hardly be identified and the process and product quality can therefore only be developed further with difficulty. A good QM system continuously collects data from various sources, condenses it and makes it available in the form of process key figures. Those who are involved or other interested parties then use the key figures to continuously develop the processes and products.
8. Connectivity creates the quality reference: The digitalization of manufacturing processes is causing an explosive increase in available data. The best connectivity to quality management ensures the provision of process key figures and the monitoring and control of capabilities. This includes, for example, that the production-related test equipment used in the company is verifiably capable. The connectivity of the best specialist application in each case with the other specialist applications (e.g. ERP or MES) according to the “Best of Breed” principle ensures high user satisfaction and a uniform data stock. Thus, connectivity also leads to a reduction of organizational and administrative effort when it comes to combining and evaluating quality data.
9. Future-proof investment: All the above-mentioned advantages can be summarised to one essential point, because the investment will be profitable in the long term. Just as the expectations for quality in your own company and in supply chains continue to evolve, this also applies to the QM software itself. In the best case scenario, QM software will therefore continue to develop in line with quality requirements, and has the potential to proactively support users in the company with its versions adapted to standard requirements.
And for all those who wonder why decisions such as these should be taken in times of pandemic of all times, here is the final impulse:
10. Emerge even stronger from the crisis: Even if challenges seem to accumulate in turbulent times like these, perhaps even production came to a standstill for a while and employees had to be sent on short-time work – especially now the time available can be used to examine existing processes in order to strengthen quality management in the long term. The introduction and expansion of a QM software, in particular, ultimately provides the opportunity to be prepared for the competition and to move into the period after the pandemic.