What is EQMS? (Enterprise Quality Management Software)

Posted by Matthew Littlefield on Thu, Dec 06, 2012 @ 06:00 AM

While the general best practices and management systems behind quality management have remained consistent for decades, the systems and solutions used to ensure the production and delivery of high quality products and processes across the value chain have changed drastically. Systems that once seemed ideal have become obsolete and unable to address the rising complexities of today’s markets.

quality cost definitionCompanies initially developed spreadsheet management systems, which were used to manually monitor and analyze quality data. With developments in technology, there was a movement toward companies either implementing point quality solutions, many of them home grown or quality specific modules in ERP systems to manage quality. In both cases, the vast majority of companies failed to meet the business and technical requirements of global manufacturing companies.

As a result, many organizations now have a disjointed and broad set of systems that don’t easily communicate with one another. Improvements with these systems are often localized, lacking the global visibility needed to truly manage quality. With the need in the market, a new software category has emerged, Enterprise Quality Management Software (EQMS).

EQMS Software selection guide

How to Define Enterprise Quality Management Software

EQMS is an emerging enterprise software category that manages content and business processes for quality and compliance across the value chain. It can be viewed as a quality management platform with an integrated with IT architecture and data model that facilitates cross-functional communication and collaboration. 

EQMS’s General Technology Capabilities

The solutions market for EQMS varies by functionality, industry, technology delivery platforms, company sizes served, and numerous other characteristics. There are, however, a set of typical capabilities that most vendors offer and/or are heavily investing in. These include:

  • A modern web-services based technology platform
  • A BPM approach to deploying functionality. Applications are built on the platform with integration between applications
  • Pre-configured interoperability with other enterprise applications like ERP, PLM, MOM, and SCM
  • GUI is web-based, role-based, avoids forms, and focuses on workflow execution

Functionalities Provided by EQMS

EQMS can be used for many reasons, including the management of compliance, facilitating the investigation of adverse events and the proceeding corrective actions, managing risk, and, among many others, integrating complaint management into the quality management process. A more extensive list of these functionalities is provided below:

  • Non-Conformances / Corrective and Preventive Action (NC/CAPA)
  • Compliance Management
  • Supplier Quality Management
  • Risk Management
  • Statistical Process Control (SPC)
  • Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
  • Complaint Handling
  • Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP)
  • Environment, Health, and Safety (EH&S)
  • Audit Management
  • Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP)
  • Change Management
  • Reporting
  • Document Control
  • Calibration Management
  • Employee Training
  • Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)

Closed Loop Business Processes Enabled by EQMS

Modern IT architecture offered by EQMS enables organizations to close the loop on quality management. EQMS’s functionalities help to integrate quality management into end-to-end business processes across the value chain, from product ideation through distribution and service. A more specific description of EQMS’s closed loop capabilities is provided below:

Internal Quality Processes (Engineering, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Service)

  • Real-time visibility of quality metrics in engineering, manufacturing, and customer service                                       
  • Formal NC/CAPA processes established across company                                            
  • Cross-functional teams in place to manage quality across design, manufacturing, and suppliers                                

External Quality Processes (Suppliers)

  • Real-time visibility of quality metrics in supplier performance                                   
  • Supplier scorecards established to measure and monitor performance                                
  • Supplier quality data collected automatically through web-based portal                                               
  • Statistical analysis used to monitor and analyze real-time supplier quality data                                  
  • Standardized escalation processes exist for supplier quality and non-compliance events                                             
  • Suppliers are included in design for quality initiatives 

Compliance and Risk

  • Compliance processes are easily understood and documented                                
  • Formal audit management processes established to understand current compliance status and identify area for improvement
  • Formal risk management framework established                                           
  • Ability to identify risk factors across operations, quantify, visualize, prioritize and mitigate risk factors across operations

Goals of a Typical EQMS Implementation

With the amount of resources needed, implementing an EQMS can be a daunting undertaking. However, with the proper planning, it can be incredibly beneficial to an operation. The list of goals that typically accompany an EQMS implementation includes:

  • Standardize, processes, metrics, and expectations
  • Integrate quality system from suppliers through customers
  • Create one global web-based quality system
  • Listen to the voice of customer
  • Empower people with data
  • Drive performance improvement
  • Have a single source of truth
  • Enable data sharing and continuous improvement
  • Provide real-time business data to all stakeholders
  • Support the "one company" philosophy
  • Be flexible enough to support changing business needs

The Future of Quality Management Software

EQMS will continue to surface as the leading solution for managing quality. Through our experiences and the creation of the industry's first solution selection guide for EQMS, we've had the opportunity to fully analyze the market. The convergence of disparate, specialized solutions will undoubtedly continue, with out-of-the-box solutions getting stronger and stronger. We're also seeing a lot of opportunity and investments being made in Business Intelligence, Mobility, User Experience, GUIs, Cloud Computing, and the development of app-based programs. In the future, we will touch more on these advancements.

EQMS Solution Selection Guide

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EQMS: Understanding the Drivers behind Global Adoption

Top Integration Points for Enterprise Quality Management

Closed-Loop Quality Management in the Consumer Products

Tags: EQMS, Manufacturing Software, Quality Management