Quality Management Software: Common EQMS Implementation Pitfalls

quality management software selectionMany organizations have implemented targeted quality management functionalities to address immediate pains. Over the years, it's become common for these functionalities to be homegrown or bought as off-the-shelf software solutions. Though, as a consequence, organizations are now facing a challenge of ensuring that these applications connect seamlessly.

With the maturation of the quality management software market in the past decade, companies have increasingly started to implement Enterprise Quality Management Software (EQMS). These implementations are becoming more and more complex, and in this blog, we'll highlight solutions to some of the common pitfalls organizations face during the process.

Building a Strategic Vision

It's important for organizations to build a strategic vision for managing quality across the organization and also to define how EQMS will enable that vision. Building such a framework helps companies understand and adopt industry best practices. For more information, we've written several blog posts and research reports about best practices in Enterprise Quality Management Software.

With a strategic vision established, focus should shift toward the EQMS implementation. The research process for selecting an EQMS is as critical (if not more) as the implementation itself. We've seen companies rush into failed implementations after making decisions in the shorter time frame based on the understanding of few software vendors. However, this shouldn't be the case. With readily available third party research, executives now have access to more resources than ever before.

Cultural Issues: Collaboration

An EQMS implementation touches and impacts several functional groups across the organization. This requires that everyone is on the same page in regards to the goals and objectives of the project. To make the important EQMS-related decisions, organizations should establish a cross-function team with representation from each functional groups that will be impacted by the implementation.

Creating a cross-functional group will not only help to streamline the implementation process, it will be critical for attaining buy-in from employees across functional groups and having these employees use the system effectively after the implementation.

Implementation Processes & Services Partners

During the implementation process, questions will arise such as should we start implementing from a plant? Or do we start with one functionality across different plants? These are common during the process. Our recommendation is to start with something that will show an immediate return on investment. This may be different by organization. But understanding the immediate pain points and having the ability to show quick ROI will go a long way in ensuring that the project sponsors see value from the process and also that the funding for the project is seamless.

Another critical aspect is implementation partners. We've seen organizations starting to get help from third-party companies to manage the implementation process for EQMS. This is especially true for large global implementations where there are many moving parts. Even if it's a small implementation, getting a service partner with solid experience in your industry as well as the process will pay off in the longer term.

Form-based to workflow-based

While implementing EQMS, it's common for companies to try to replicate form-based manual process into the new system. Companies should avoid this pitfall and use the implementation as an opportunity to optimize the existing processes through a workflow-based process. Most of the modern EQMS applications available in the marketplace run on workflow-based engines. Although this will take more time and resources up front, it will reap huge benefits from a long-term perspective. 

Data Model/Reporting and Analytics

With an EQMS implemention, organizations should spend time designing the data model. The implementation will have little value if the system does not enable employees to visualize, monitor, and report on the data collected, and use that data to make intelligent decisions. Companies often think about reporting and analytics capabilities as additional costs and not absolutely critical for the implementation. However, high performing companies are proving that investing in such functionality is leading to stronger decision making abilities. 

Mobility: Access to Data  

Mobility is another area in which companies are missing out. This functionality becomes critical in areas such as audit management. Without the ability to collect audit data on mobile devices, in many circumstances, employees end up using a paper-based approach. In this way, they have to input the data collected on paper into the system in every audit. This increases the possibility of errors in the process. Thinking about such scenarios up front and investing in mobility is beneficial from a long-term perspective. 

We are sure there are other pitfalls that companies have faced during a EQMS implementation project. Share your thoughts below. We have also included some of our prior posts highlighting critical trends in EQMS.

Quality Management Solutions
You might also be interested in:

Realizing Operational Excellence through EQMS

EQMS for SMB: Balancing Growth and Quality

Microsoft SharePoint as a Platform for EQMS and Collaboration

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