Quality That Lasts, and Lasts, and Lasts.

The advantages of working digitally are a big topic right now. One of the most successful providers of pipe support solutions has implemented Babtec’s solution and discovered what digitalization can achieve in quality assurance. A whole year later, almost all communication with suppliers for complaints management is carried out via the cloud.

When external requirements change, companies need to react. Sikla, an expert in innovative pipe support solutions, recognized this early on and has therefore had over 50 years of success. Present in over 35 countries and with around 500 employees, the company ensures that building elements and industrial equipment are fastened and fixed securely and safely. With products that can be assembled with each other as the user desires, according to the modular product system, they have made work easier for installers around the world. As one of the world’s leading specialists in their industry, Sikla makes sure that they keep pace with technology and has therefore been using Babtec software for quality management for the past 12 years. Quality has always been a crucial factor for success: In 1993, Sikla was one of the first in the industry to get certified under the ISO 9001 standard. Regular product and system checks, along with audits, ensure the safety for the products.

Relying on suppliers 100%

As Sikla outsources the manufacture of its products, professional complaints management has also found its place at the core of quality management, in addition to preventive quality assurance. Around 75 percent of all product groups are developed internally and planned using manufacturing drawings. A multitude of selected suppliers, located throughout Europe, then produce the products using these drawings as a basis. The challenges that come from this intensive cooperation with many different suppliers are obvious. A particularly intelligent solution was needed in order to ensure that the high levels of quality that the customers are used to were provided.

It’s not surprising that the mediumsized company decided to pick up one of the most innovative CAQ solutions on the market: the cloud-based Qube platform from service provider Babtec. The innovative possibilities for complaints management quickly convinced the quality management team that this was the way to the future.

Taking suppliers on a voyage into the future

From the very start, it was clear that the manufacturing suppliers had to invest in the journey as well, as the quality of the parts depends on them to a large extent. Here, an optimally organized complaints management system, using the 8D method, was used. If a complaint is made, this method is used to find the causes of the fault and then corrective and preventive measures are initiated based on them. Communication with manufacturers is particularly important here, as a significant proportion of the complaints are due to production errors.

Therefore, Sikla were looking for a straightforward system that could be used to exchange data in a clear and rapid manner. The quality of complaint processing was to be increased, measures to improve production quality were to be documented. The flood of e-mails and cases in which complaints are lost in the system were to be a thing of the past. Transparent presentation needed to be a feature as well, both for Sikla and the suppliers.

The decision has been made: Babtec Qube is the winner

When Sikla first heard of the new cloud-based platform in fall 2016, their curiosity was awoken. The possibility of communicating with their suppliers so easily, quickly and efficiently convinced them. Therefore the decision to install the Babtec Qube was quickly made. The company is now directly connected to its suppliers via the platform. All complaints can be viewed easily in one screen and can be traced at any time. All communication occurs over the Qube, which makes e-mails superfluous and reduces misunderstandings. The fragmentation of information, which made finding the required information a drawn-out search process, is a thing of the past. This is because all data are saved in one location in the system, no matter how many employees are working on it.

It is easy to see which suppliers process their complaints on time and which leave them for long periods, by looking at the Qube logs. This can be tracked using clear numbers and processing data. It also enables more stringent compliance with deadlines to be achieved, and times can be checked easily. In addition, there is also the option of comment on feedback – this creates transparency and helps to advance development of the suppliers.

Qualitatively excellent processing of complaints is made easier for the customers as a result of the clear guidance on the 8D method. Processing in the Qube is intuitive and documents such as photographs, PDFs or an inspection plan can be included.

Suppliers are integrated systematically

Sikla took a systematic approach to converting their complaints management. This was kicked off with an analysis of the suppliers: Who has high numbers of deliveries? Which suppliers stand out because of their high complaint rates? A list of 20 suppliers was produced using this list. They were informed from the beginning on, via an introductory letter, and were accompanied through the conversion. Upon introduction of the Qube, the objective of reducing complaints by up to 20 percent was agreed upon. The suppliers were convinced by this goal. A few of them had been working without CAQ systems and were still processing complaints in the traditional manner. With Babtec Qube, they were offered a straightforward system which they can A Company That Moves With the Times Quality That Lasts, and Lasts, and Lasts. — by Achim Münch The advantages of working digitally are a big topic right now. One of the most successful providers of pipe support solutions has implemented Babtec’s solution and discovered what digitalization can achieve in quality assurance. A whole year later, almost all communication with suppliers for complaints management is carried out via the cloud. use to manage their complaints, which is also free for them. The visual design of the Qube was also a convincing factor, as the design is responsive and modern.

Patience and support are vital

Despite the detailed description of the registration process in the introductory letter, a few of the suppliers needed further support in order to register for the system. The process is similar to that of social networks, but not everyone is aware of this technology. The initial issues were solved quickly because the contact partners from Sikla and the Support team from Babtec were available for consultation on questions. Right from the start, all complaints for these suppliers were processed in the Qube, which quickly created a routine. The project was a complete success: Now, every single product complaint is processed via the Qube at Sikla. Experience has already shown that the suppliers have become far more consistent in filling out their 8D reports.

Supplier development will soon come to the Supplier Cockpit

The success has been so overwhelming that the next project in the Qube has already been planned. All relevant supplier key figures can be viewed in the Supplier Cockpit by both parties. Firstly, a new ERP system was introduced, in order to link all interfaces to Babtec Qube directly. This means that all key figures can be imported from the ERP system directly. The Supplier Cockpit will create the foundation for a targeted supplier control circle, which is used to drive measures for supplier development forward. This brings huge advantages with it as suppliers can find out their status and obtain feedback regularly. In contrast to classic supplier assessments, this feedback can be given at any time and not just once a year – this is a huge step forward without incurring any extra effort and expenditure.

Digitalization? We’re on board!

Looking back, complaints management via Babtec Qube fulfills all of the company’s expectations: Transparency has been increased; the common database enables traceability of the complaints, which was never possible before. All processes have been simplified and the processing quality of the 8D reports has been significantly increased.

The company has taken a huge step closer to the objective of reducing complaints by 20%. The browser function of the Qube, in particular, has proved a great advantage in cooperative work with suppliers. In contrast to the usual systems which need to be installed locally, this step, which often brings many issues with it, is skipped. In addition, the function enables the system to be operated from almost anywhere at any time – you only need a mobile end device with a browser to operate it. Collaborative work in the cloud is no longer just a dream for the future at Sikla.

The Author

Achim Münch

Head of Management Systems / Quality Management Department
Sikla GmbH

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