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More companies are in the planning phase of EQMS adoption than in previous years - significantly more. This is a journey that begins at disparate artifacts (binders, spreadsheets, repositories, etc.) with a planned destination of a comprehensive enterprise EQMS hub with appropriate integration across other core systems including ERP, PLM, MOM, EHS and CRM platforms.
It’s the nature of a manufacturing business to have both competing and complementary goals and objectives. Financial and operational goals are sometimes seemingly at odds where time and resource investments should be made to best meet overall corporate initiatives. But sometimes, there exist opportunities for alignment and synergy as well.
On June 17, 2014, LNS Research and Quality Digest hosted a webcast entitled, "Turning Today's Quality Challenges Into a Source of Competitive Advantage with Closed-Loop Quality Management." Toward the end of the event, we received many questions, several of which we weren't able to address due to time constraints. In this post, I'll speak to the top 5 questions we were asked.
Generally, Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) software is thought of primarily as a collection of applications that manage production and related operations and activities. This is certainly true—the core intended purpose of MOM applications is to connect, aggregate, and federate shop-floor automation activities, along with all of the additional production workflows and supporting activities to the larger ERP and reporting software of the enterprise.
Many companies that have pain points around quality today are exploring different areas for improvement. Some are investing in enterprise quality management software (EQMS) solutions or rethinking the way the cost of quality is measured. These are both initiatives that can have a positive impact on quality and are worth the time and capital investment.
Accounting for the complexities associated with business today – the global supplier network, intricate products and processes, dynamic consumer demands, social media as a powerful public feedback portal, and so on – it comes with little surprise that executives are working hard to optimize their quality management investments. Quality is, after all, a major variable in profitability and reputation.
When considering quality management strategies, it’s important to note the different factors that may influence an organization’s approach to implementing solutions in this area. While most companies are in some way trying to cut quality costs and improve manufacturing efficiency, the type of industry and size of an enterprise are, among others, important variables that will ultimately affect that particular company’s pain points and priorities surrounding quality.
There are a number of costs and benefits when it comes to migrating a process that’s conventionally been carried out at the local level to standardizing it across the enterprise. While some may argue that it takes away from the potential for site-level innovations and improvements, others praise global process standardization for its positive impacts on visibility, communication, and collaboration.
Because research has shown that the earlier a defect or nonconformance is caught the less expensive it will be in the long-run, it’s critical that end-to-end quality capabilities extend from suppliers all the way through service and everything in between. This is especially true in discrete manufacturing industries such as electronics or high-tech, where the ability to balance quality and product complexity is often the source of a competitive advantage.
When discussing quality management strategies, it's important to note the differences between small and large organizations. Often, the size of a company will greatly impact its focus points, challenges, and approaches in regard to ensuring the quality of products and processes. Interestingly, there can even be significant differences and similarities between company sizes within the same industry.
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