ERP and Quality Management: A Dynamic Duo
Whatever industry they operate in, whatever size their company is or whatever their client base looks like, manufacturers care about quality. Especially in a modernizing market full of discerning customers and multiplying, global, options; maintaining strict product quality at the lowest possible price lies at the heart of many an enterprise software strategy. However, many of those same businesses choose to stick to antiquated quality management systems, believing that the old ways are the best ways while all the while they are being undercut by the competition. These competitors engage in a host of interconnected software systems that allow them to consolidate the power of different technologies into one powerful (and much more cost-effective) strategy.
For example, while many manufacturers may currently operate both ERP and quality management systems, they are often unaware of the power they can extract by integrating the two systems together. As an overarching enterprise system, ERP software allows users to standardize quality management principles across multiple production lines, facilities, and global locations.
Compliance is such a crucial component of so many different industries—from pharmaceuticals to automotive to the food and beverage manufacturers.
It simply makes sense that manufacturers take advantage of the robust options for quality management within their current ERP systems; or select a vendor who can offer the level of capability that they need. Keep reading for more on the importance of good quality standards and how the right use of ERP and Quality Management software can help you achieve it.
Set—And Enforce—Universal Standards
As fast-casual Mexican food giant Chipotle weathers its recent food safety disaster, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact origin of a food safety issue, and it can be even harder to contain when the problem gets out of hand. Particularly nasty outbreaks in Boston and the Northwest affected the chain’s sales all over the country, and took a huge chunk out of the company’s stock earnings. When running any business with more than one facility or location, quality assurance becomes a hazardous operation. How does one enforce strict standards across borders, employees and, sometimes, language barriers? The answer: ERP. Because it covers every single facility and can be accessed by any employee, it is much easier for ERP users to disseminate information and new production processes across a whole company. The combined power of ERP and quality management standards means universally enforced requirements for each product that comes out with your name on it. After all, with so many other options out there, customers only have to have one bad experience with your output before they turn away. You need to make sure everything rolling off your production lines is up to the standard, and fusing the power of ERP and quality management systems will help you do just that.
Quality Through Interconnectivity
Just as it’s seems common sense that a standardized set of quality safety rules should be enforced across multiple chains, it also stands to reason that all your quality management data will be stronger when it is consolidated in a single area. Your ERP software is able to just that—draw together all the pertinent quality-information like production times and machinery health, and then distill it into a real-time report that allows you to make data-driven decisions to reduce waste and increase quality exponentially.
Connecting manufacturing machinery and production lines through the cloud—creating an Internet of Things on your shop floor—will inevitably tighten up your quality assurance processes and make it easier to shut down lines if something goes wrong. IoT will allow manufacturers to collect data from every single point of their process, and consequently enforce strict standards of quality at them too. Items may have to pass certain benchmarks of quality—temperature, pH, strength—before being passed down the line. If the product doesn’t mean that standard, the system will know to stop the line. Not only will this reduce waste that results from overproduction and product that won’t make it past QA, it also takes much of the burden of tedious quality management off employees, who can then focus on the complex, harder to pinpoint aspects of quality and production that make your brand what it is.
Although every business is unique and has their own particular trademark on the manufacturing process, a quirk in operations—particularly when it comes to compliance—is not always the best idea for your company. The mundane tasks of the day-to-day are often where human error and weak guidelines can allow quality issues to sneak in. When a job is routine, workers often complete it mindlessly—a dangerous proposition when it comes to quality on your manufacturing floor. Automation of a company’s compliance related processes will help fill in those cracks. Temperature checks can be automated, as can strength tests. Put your ERP system on the task of managing that side, and let your employees put their human touch where it really matters.
Moreover, if quality management is especially critical to you as a manufacturer, then make sure that when shopping around for your ideal vendor, you thoroughly test out quality management modules from your top vendors with your own data and processes. Software sales teams will often pitch do-it-all solutions that can instantly give your quality systems super-strength, but you must look beyond a showy demo to truly determine if that ERP system has all of the functionalities necessary to support your business processes.
As competitors encroach on more and more markets, quality standards must be just as stringent and even more cost effective than ever to keep manufacturers on the leading edge of their business. By implementing enterprise software, businesses can integrate and automate many of the day-to-day necessities of quality management and focus employee efforts on the innovation that will cut costs and allow the business to grow year after year. ERP and quality management software is a natural fit for businesses of any size and in any location looking to keep up with tightening quality codes and standards; and that should be everyone reading!
For advice on how to take advantage of your own ERP and quality management systems, or how to select an ERP vendor in line with your current quality assurance processes, get in touch with an expert at Datix today!