Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are designed to integrate and provide information to flow from one department to another in a manageable fashion. ERP systems are common in the business world and are designed with a focus on business metrics.
Quality data is different in nature than business data because natural variation is expected. Specialized analysis methodologies, such as statistical process control (SPC), are needed to better understand this variation. While it is possible to collect quality data in ERP systems, your ERP won’t necessarily help you solve your quality problems.
Let’s look at four reasons why an SPC-based Quality Intelligence software solution will address quality issues better than an ERP.
Spreadsheets Dramatically Slow Down SPC
It may seem like an intuitive approach to export data from your ERP into a spreadsheet or related software to perform SPC analysis. However, a significant amount of time is required to set up and maintain such a system.
Looking at a specific chart for a set of data would be easy enough, but suppose a customer wants a different chart type, or wants to compare different parts or processes for different specifications. You would have to start over every time you got such a request.
Using a system that’s built and intended for collecting and working with quality data enables you to easily perform comparative analyses with just a few clicks.
Your time would be better spent improving your processes instead of compiling data.
Real-Time Interactions Can’t Happen with Siloed Data
One of the most important aspects of quality assurance is to be alerted when an issue occurs and identify the cause of the issue in real time. Using a cumbersome library of separated spreadsheets, data analysis can only happen after the fact—and that could be costly if poor products are produced while you’re dredging through data.
This is where the investment of real-time quality software is very beneficial. When specification and control limits are set in the software, real-time alarms automatically trigger, alerting operators or sending notifications to the appropriate personnel.
Assignable causes and corrective actions for these alarms can be documented and analyzed instantly to prevent the same mistakes from being made in the future. Reports and analysis are always readily available—no need for tenuous database queries.
Adapting to ERP
Each ERP implementation is unique, designed to meet the needs of a particular business. Although that uniqueness often offers value, the amount of resources and time required to customize and maintain these systems is enormous. To adapt an ERP for quality management requires an additional investment in programming, customization, and maintenance. Your IT team must coordinate with the ERP vendor to ensure everything is connected and installed properly, thoroughly validate the system to make sure you have all the proper logic for SPC, and finally train users to work with the system.
All of these requirements are daunting and costly. A system designed specifically for quality data will have the proper programming and features for data entry and analysis already established. And the right, modern SPC software will also be built to integrate with your existing ERP system—so there is no need to replace or reconfigure the larger business analysis solution.
Finally, manufacturing (and all its associated quality issues) is dynamic, and changes happen rapidly. Operators and quality professionals accommodate new issues in the moment, as they arise. A quality system should be able to adapt quickly to these needs, and the custom nature of ERP deployments doesn’t lend itself to rapid changes.
As we all know, a successful software implementation means getting employees, especially those directly responsible for entering data, to enthusiastically adopt and consistently use the system.
However, most ERP implementations, and the associated after-the-fact add-ons, aren’t designed with an operations-focused end user in mind. ERP solutions don’t accommodate the daily tasks, checklists, or requirements that quality professionals and production personnel face every day.
This lack of granular accommodation can be very frustrating to the end users who are entering data and taking actions based on that information. If the ERP requires end users to change their operations or daily tasks to work in the system, training and adoption can be a nightmare.
Modern quality management software solutions are purpose-built around the operations that are essential for keeping production lines running. Today’s user-friendly interfaces and intuitive dashboards provide useful prompts to guide users. Training is simplified, adoption is easier, and benefits are realized quickly.
Don’t Ditch the ERP—and Don’t Skimp on Quality
An ERP system brings many advantages to a business as it incorporates and tailors various functions or departments within an organization to a single system.
However, when it comes to addressing quality issues, an ERP is not the right system to solve your quality problems. With the programming and logic already built in, modern SPC software is clearly the better choice. When it comes to collecting and analyzing the data related to the quality of your products, you need a system that was specifically designed to meet your quality needs.
InfinityQS invites you to visit our website to learn more about the benefits of modern SPC solutions.