Whether it is employee management, resource planning or indeed quality management: Wherever large amounts of data are collected, spreadsheet applications such as Excel are usually not far behind. However, what often appears to be the easiest way is not always the most reliable or efficient solution – especially when it comes to something as crucial as quality management.

The advantages of a standard application such as Excel seem clear at first: If the program is installed on the company computers anyway and is now to be used additionally for quality management, then no further procurement or installation costs are incurred, and the expense for training is also kept within limits.

Excel templates for quality management are often available for download, but a self-built solution is also conceivable. If the general conditions change, the existing document can be adapted to the new challenges with the corresponding effort, as far as this is possible with the functionalities of a spreadsheet. For despite its numerous possibilities, Excel is an office application that was not primarily developed for quality management and does not offer any proprietary solutions for the challenges of modern quality management.


Specific Requirements Determine the Scope of Functions

Software that specializes in quality tasks, on the other hand, has precisely the user interface and functionalities that are necessary for this purpose. If the company's requirements change, then additional software modules are available. Manufacturers of software for quality management know the requirements of their customers and are constantly developing new functions or reacting to changing conditions. Updates keep the software up to date without requiring any programming knowledge on the part of the user.

All modules of the quality management software access the same data master. If, for example, CAD drawing dimensions are stamped in the BabtecQ software, the corresponding data is automatically available in all relevant modules and can be used, for example, for goods inspection (keyword: integration).

By comparison, with more complex data structures, companies often work with several Excel documents in parallel. To avoid duplicates in the underlying data, references between these documents are now necessary. This quickly becomes confusing and error-prone: even accidentally changing a file name can destroy all references to the data in that document. In addition, other people can subsequently change the structure of the Excel document. Instead of a company-wide standard, different versions are quickly in circulation.

Direct Data Exchange Without Duplicates

In terms of connectivity, Excel cannot compete with QM software either: Special interfaces here enable the exchange of data not only with software solutions from other manufacturers, but even with measuring devices or machines. The frequently used ERP solution from SAP can be connected in the same way as the CRM software used in the respective company or the electronic caliper, without the need for different copies of the same data. Implementing all these interfaces in Excel is complicated at least, but in many cases simply impossible.

When it comes to collaboration, Microsoft Office and thus Excel have made progress: After all, it is now possible to work together on documents. However, this type of collaboration often ends at departmental or company boundaries. In order to collaborate with other departments, with customers or suppliers, exports have to be created, sent back and forth via e-mail, and the newly acquired data has to be entered back into the existing Excel spreadsheet. So the same data is stored as copies in different places and copied in and out by hand. This drastically increases the risk of inconsistencies or errors – not a good starting point for high quality.

Professional quality management software, on the other hand, allows quality-related data to be shared and edited together within the company network. With the cloud-based software BabtecQube, users can even integrate business partners outside their own company into the quality cycle without media disruptions and, for example, process complaints together.

Professional Solutions for Complex Challenges

The comparison shows: Of what software specialized in quality management can do, Excel offers at best basic functionalities. For small departments with very simple processes and only a few employees, an Excel solution can therefore work – with significant losses in convenience and functionality, a high susceptibility to errors and not inconsiderable risks.

If the challenges and thus the data structures become more complex, QM software decisively reduces the effort required to enter and maintain data. Media discontinuities and duplicated data are avoided, the risk of errors decreases and employees can take care of what is crucial for the success of every company: sustainable high quality.


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