Manufacturers across industries are investing in digital solutions for their business systems. The systems that you use for managing everything—from suppliers to logistics, operations to corporate strategy—form a complex ecosystem of information.

However, one area that many manufacturers have not digitized yet is one of the most important: the manufacturing process and quality environment. Continued reliance on paper and spreadsheet quality systems prevents access to the critical and timely data coming from the heart of your business. And those legacy systems also have a high cost.

There are numerous hidden costs of owning a legacy quality solution that’s limited to on-premises installations and manual workflows. It’s like buying a pre-owned car; the used vehicle might have wear and tear that you just can’t see. How well has the engine been maintained? Is the automatic transmission reaching the end of its life? And what about all the things that you don’t think about until they go wrong, like the suspension, timing belt, or brakes?

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The unforeseen expenses can add up—as do the hidden costs of owning an on-premises quality management solution.

Strategic Benefits of Moving to the Cloud

In contrast, a cloud quality solution provides myriad benefits. Consider the value you’ll get from digitizing quality and process data and taking advantage of the value of cloud technology.

1. Increased Uptime

Downtime—or time lost when operations are paused or halted—is devasting to manufacturing production. So if you can avoid even planned downtime—like the time required for software upgrades—you’re already improving your bottom line.

For instance, one InfinityQS® customer told us they had recently spent over two years and more than $250,000 preparing and completing an upgrade across their 50+ plants! These arduous projects are no longer necessary with cloud technology.

When data is in the cloud, upgrades are no longer required. Instead, cloud technology offers automated updates—seamlessly, without downtime. The cloud enables users to always have the latest-and-greatest version of the software at hand. Whenever the software is improved, everyone benefits.

2. Standardization

That same customer experienced challenges with their upgrade because the IT infrastructure necessary to support the system was replicated 50+ times—once for each plant. Every plant used a separate, locally installed database.

The organization tried to maintain standardization across all of those sites, but it proved virtually impossible with separate databases. Over time, small changes made in any of the databases led them to gradually diverge from the standardized template they started with. This made their upgrade even more difficult. Each database had to be “dissected” first, changes “fixed,” and then upgraded separately—all due to those small changes made over time.

By contrast, with a centralized database in the cloud, all plants follow the same standardized format, with only the appropriate administrators allowed to make changes. With a single, standardized database, the process of data collection and reporting becomes streamlined, yielding significant improvement in operational efficiency.

3. Faster Implementation

Cloud technology significantly reduces the cost of deployment for some obvious reasons:

  • Eliminating the need for physical IT infrastructure, from design to approval to procurement to installation
  • Improving the consistency of implementation and streamlining business practices by standardizing operations wherever possible

But there is a less obvious benefit as well: opportunity cost. If the software is going to help find root causes and solve critical issues, then what are your opportunity costs for each day, week, or month when you are not using the system and extracting these benefits?

And cloud quality management solutions dramatically reduce implementation and configuration time. The faster your staff use the software, the less time you lose, and very likely the more money you save.

4. Reducing Risk

Cloud technology helps mitigate risk in a variety of ways. Data backups are automatic, data is readily available, and reporting is easily configured to be enterprise-wide.

If disaster strikes and your organization uses an on-premises solution, you will need to rebuild the entire business system and database from scratch—not a pleasant proposition to consider.

5. Compliance

Product quality compliance—that is, ensuring that products are in spec and right the first time—is critical. The primary reason for having a quality management solution is to proactively ensure that every product is in conformance and ready to ship. And when you have that level of assurance at your fingertips, all subsequent levels of compliance fall into place.

With the reporting capabilities and accountability available in a cloud system, you can simplify meeting any agency or customer audit requirements, avoid penalties, and answer customers’ requests more effectively.

What’s even more impressive is that this can be done anywhere you have access to the internet. One database, one source—not multiple, siloed databases.

To further explore the compliance benefits of quality management in the cloud, read our free white paper, Right the First Time: Closing Your Compliance Loops.

6. Latest Version

Because cloud technology offers updates rather than upgrades, users always have the latest version of their software. This means happier employees who have the assurance they are using advanced technology.

7. Cybersecurity

Likewise, using the cloud means always having the latest security patches immediately and consistently applied across the entire organization, without having to rely on or burden your IT staff.

If a vendor is providing a cloud-based, Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, cybersecurity must be one of their top priorities. Security shouldn’t ever be put on the “back burner.” Your company is only one of the vendor’s many clients using the system, and the security of the system impacts everyone using it. Thus, it demands the vendor’s full attention, full time.

With on-premises systems, your own IT staff is responsible for cybersecurity. Unfortunately, they might be pulled into other priority projects, which temporarily delays the much-needed upgrade to your own cybersecurity technology—but that brief pause may be too long, and it might then be too late. The consequences of cyber-attacks can be catastrophic and should never be taken lightly.

8. Financial Agility

When you reduce operating costs using cloud technology, that money becomes available for the organization to make investments in other areas.

9. Best Practices

The cloud enables you to view your entire enterprise, and from this vantage point you can see what is working well and then spread those best practices throughout the organization. Success stories can be shared quickly and have a bigger impact on the bottom line more quickly.

10. Scalability

SaaS is typically subscription-based, which means you can control your level of coverage as your needs ebb and flow throughout the year. When the busier times taper off, you can optimize expenditure by decreasing your subscriptions.

Switch to the Cloud

From security and compliance to standardization and increased ROI, there are plenty of strategic benefits to transitioning to cloud-based quality management software. Enact® by InfinityQSis, a cloud-native Statistical Process Control (SPC) quality management platform that offers manufacturers the opportunity to take full advantage of the cost reductions and business benefits of the cloud.

CTA: Learn more about the advantages of cloud-based quality management by visiting the InfinityQS site.