6 Steps to Showing Value and Scaling Quality Management Investments

Posted by Matthew Littlefield on Wed, Feb 12, 2014

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quality management investment growthTaking full advantage of the evolution in quality management technology, market leaders are transitioning from a number of distributed systems and data sources to a single, holistic platform for managing quality across the enterprise. While the quality, risk, and compliance benefits of this global approach are vast, whether or not you reap those benefits is largely dependent on your implementation strategy.

When it comes to Enterprise Quality Management Software (EQMS) implementations, in some cases months or even years can pass before the implementation is entirely complete. It’s important to lay out a solid implementation strategy up front, so you can not only justify your investment with a measurable return (as we’ve discussed in the past), but also so you start quickly improving the quality of your products and processes.

In reality, if it’s takes more than a year to get your solution up and running effectively, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage. When talking with industry executives, we advise first focusing on areas where you can show value quickly and then scaling up from there. In this post, we’ll explain 6 steps to this strategy.

1. Establish a leader and cross-functional team to spearhead this project

In today’s competitive, demanding, and dynamic global economy, it’s vital that you adopt the mindset that quality management extends beyond the four walls of manufacturing. Because no one department or team has all of the answers, you’re going to want to first identify a leader who can put together a quality-minded cross-functional team to take on this project.

2. Identify and prioritize your major quality management gaps

Establishing a cross-functional team is important for understanding your current quality management capabilities as well as your gaps. Provide this team with the resources needed to begin gathering information on your current quality management performance and resources. This intelligence will have two roles. It will act as the baseline to measure future performance against, and it will also be used in the gap analysis.

Take this analysis a step further by developing a list of goals and aspirations: your future quality management vision. With current and desired performance laid out, you will have all of the information needed to conduct a gap analysis. Here, you will determine the major gaps in your quality management performance and corresponding resources, and prioritize those that have the greatest impact on business performance.

3. Determine which EQMS functionalities can most effectively fill those gaps

Once you’ve determined your baseline and prioritized gaps, it’s time to start researching the EQMS market. With its next-generation quality management platform, EQMS helps to roll out centralized, standardized, and streamlined quality management processes. This technology’s instrumental in not just progressing forward in quality capabilities, but making leaps and bound.

Generally, we’re seeing the most common gaps in performance to be with disparate processes, systems, and data sources for non-conformance-corrective and preventive action (CAPA) management and document management. There is also a great need for improved supplier quality management capabilities and better visibility into the cost of quality.

In this stage, benchmark research is helpful as well, as it provides insight into the performance improvements other organizations have experienced when automating quality management processes with EQMS.

4. Build a Change Management Roadmap for your implementation

Once you’ve established which EQMS functionalities will deliver the greatest benefits, before diving into the implementation we advise developing a change management roadmap for harmonizing new and existing systems and establishing best practices for these standardized processes. Again, your cross-functional team will play a central role in the development of this roadmap.

5. Pilot selected EQMS functionalities at one or several facilities

Rather than overwhelming the IT department and impacted functional units, after developing the roadmap it’s time to roll out the harmonized process in a small way. You’ll want to reference your gap analysis and look for the low-hanging fruit, so you can have a better chance to show some results quicker.

Challenged processes or challenged plants can be a good place to pilot these projects. Following this strategy, you may be able to say, “If X plant can do it, any one of our plants can do it,” but the scope has to be defined in such a way that the wins are achievable. If it’s too painful other plants will say no.

6. Analyze results, adapt implementation strategy, and deploy functionalities globally

Analyze your results and take the lessons you’ve learned from your pilot project, applying them to your change management roadmap and long-term strategy. This will also be a good time to communicate the results—performance improvements, dollars saved, etc.—to relevant personnel, so you can gain additional backing for similar or complementary investments.

Once this is complete, work to scale the process or processes you piloted up to the global level, and repeat these steps for additional EQMS functionalities. Always keep in mind that this is a continuous improvement journey, and your change management roadmap and deployment strategy should only strengthen over time.

Developing Your Concrete Quality Management Software Roadmap

The move from paper-based and manual processes to homegrown systems and ultimately to next-generation quality management systems is a journey most companies take. To gain a better understanding of this journey and how to move from one stage to the next, join me on February 18 for a webcast on the topic.

In the webcast, I’ll be discussing LNS Research’s new Quality Management Maturity Model, and a list of executable steps you can take to develop a market leading quality management system. Follow the button below to register.

quality maturity model webcast

Categories: Enterprise Quality Management System (EQMS)