Let’s get straight to the point. Organizations shouldn’t use paper or spreadsheets as the basis of their quality systems. Neither paper nor spreadsheets should be used to collect data on the plant floor. And neither of these solutions will give you the information you need. You need an SPC solution that can get you the reports you want in seconds. It’s time to throw away the paper and move into the digital age.
In our current environment, when you and the other stakeholders with whom you’re communicating may be working remotely at a variety of locations, even on-premises SPC software solutions are limited. They provide reports only for the plant in which the software resides. So, how can you get quality reports across your enterprise—to both onsite and offsite workers? The answer is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) systems.
Why SaaS? Since these solutions are cloud-based, data collection performed at multiple sites goes to one centralized data repository, where the data is standardized into a single, simple format. That data might be from different product codes, machines, shifts, or plants, but it’s all formatted the same in the centralized repository.
The result? Data collection is standardized, reporting is a breeze, and the information you need to improve quality across the enterprise is right at your fingertips. And those reports can be generated in seconds. Try that with paper.
Cloud-based quality management systems also require very little IT attention, are fast to deploy, and inexpensive to purchase; this all adds up to a trifecta of business benefits that enhance quality results.
Let’s face it—times have changed, and our “new normal” is likely to force us to adapt not just for the short-term but also to secure our futures. SaaS makes paper-based data collection and reporting obsolete. If you really want to improve your company’s quality results, it’s time to modernize.
Bring it All Together
Many quality systems today are a conglomeration of disparate systems that are cobbled together but don’t talk to one another. They employ unique, and sometimes proprietary, data formats. In short, without a means of cohesively coordinating quality data, most cobbled-together quality systems are a mess.
SaaS brings it all together. It’s the glue. SaaS doesn’t care if the systems are all different. Without requiring you to invest in additional hardware, SaaS systems can gather the data from your existing systems, keep it all in one place, and support your quality reporting needs.
Most quality professionals know the pain that people go through during audits when they have paper-based systems. That pain typically lasts for days, even weeks.
You never know what questions the auditor is going to ask or what they might want to see. The answers to auditor questions typically take this form: “That information is scattered across several systems. I think I’ve got some of it over here in this filing cabinet and some in the quality manager’s office. And the rest of it is probably in the warehouse.”
No wonder audits hurt so much. To effectively answer auditor questions, many people invariably request hours, even days to get their staff together to figure out how to lasso all that data the auditor is seeking. And that’s sometimes for just one question.
And auditors ask lots of questions. They require lots of data. You can see how stressful this is for companies with paper-based systems. It’s an ulcer, a migraine, or an anxiety attack waiting to happen. And you can see why audits take days or weeks to complete. With paper-based systems, data is inaccessible, hand-written numbers are difficult to interpret, and reports are nearly impossible to generate. That’s no way to function, and it’s no way to manage an audit.
For organizations that use SaaS quality systems, the answer to the auditor’s data request becomes something like this: “Give me a moment while I query the database and get you everything you need.”
Since you’ve condensed a one-week audit down to a couple of hours, you save time. But another huge benefit of a SaaS solution is that it typically requires just one person to answer auditor questions. Not a team. Not days of searching for the right paper or shuffling spreadsheets. It’s one person, at a computer, with knowledge of the software. It’s just click, view, here you go. Have a nice day.
A Shining Example
InfinityQS once worked with a large food manufacturer who called us into an executive meeting. They told us about a quality problem they had with one of their products—a problem that they had missed, which was eventually caught at the retail level by one of their big customers.
This customer was unhappy and had requested from the food manufacturer every bit of data for a specific product code for the last 12 months. They went into panic mode. A team of seven people was formed to find the data and present it in an understandable format. It took that team two weeks and a lot of energy to get it done.
No company can afford to do that. Nor should they have to take seven of their best people to hunt down data for a customer audit. It should take minutes or hours, and it shouldn’t be expensive.
The Future of Quality
If you have two or more plants, and you are relying on paper, spreadsheets, or even on-premises software, then audits and report generation will be challenging, expensive, and time-consuming.
Now imagine you’ve got 10 plants, or 40—with quality managers working from home and plant operators covering extended shifts. In these situations, cross-plant quality reporting is an impossibility. That is, unless you have a SaaS solution to leverage.
A SaaS solution like ours enables you to keep all your data in one place in a standardized format (it can come from anywhere, any device), and churn out useful reports from a PC, a tablet, or even a mobile phone…in minutes. The future is here and it’s SaaS.
To support the manufacturing community during these challenging times, InfinityQS is offering our cloud-based Quality Intelligence solution, Enact, free for 3 months. To learn more and enroll, visit our website.