Has your business been set up to reach optimal success in 2020 and the new decade? If you haven’t been considering performance quality improvement and evaluation as part of your business strategy, you may just be missing a critical piece of the puzzle! Today’s strongest teams are able to implement robust quality assurance practices, assess weaknesses or concerning trends before they become serious roadblocks, and maintain a sterling reputation with customers and clients. The secret to making it look easy? Using an enterprise quality management system to streamline administrative and operational needs for quality assurance and improvement, creating a seamless system for monitoring compliance.
Common Challenges for Quality Improvement
So, why isn’t every modern company equally competitive when it comes to quality assurance? There are several common barriers that often challenge businesses seeking to improve their quality management strategies, including:
Cost – Many businesses are daunted by the potential costs of implementing better processes and oversights, especially if they’re currently operating on slim profit margins. In fact, budgeting is often assumed to be a prohibitive issue even before researching the numbers. Too many people ask if they can afford to change, or simply assume they can’t afford it, rather than considering the missed opportunity cost of failing to make effective change! The good news is that technological innovation has made establishing an enterprise quality management system simpler and more affordable than ever before, including shorter migration times and easier implementation. Making a move to an efficient, modern system technology will end up saving businesses much more in the long run, so don’t be put off by fears about cost!
Training – Effectively managing quality assurance often requires additional employee training time to establish the right practices in the right way. Without having capable, informed staff engaged in the change management process, any improvements implemented may not have a lasting positive impact. This is especially true for junior management staff who may need extra support in understanding the skills needed for strong project management and how to motivate their teams. Choosing a system that can track training objectives and monitor staff progress can simplify the training process, and eliminate those barriers. Automating key training benchmarks can help ensure that no one gets left behind or misses out an opportunity to refresh their knowledge over the course of their tenure with the company.
Organizational Culture – Growth and change can actually trigger emotional difficulties for staff within the organization, and it’s extremely common to witness team members getting attached to the concept of “we’ve always done it this way” rather than being open to new ideas. To overcome resistance from within the staff, it’s important to communicate clearly and openly throughout the entire process. Share your goals and objectives, and talk about why they matter at each level of the leadership structure to help each employee understand how their role will be affected and why. Creating a focus group or steering committee to provide feedback into the process and the proposed changes can also be an excellent way to ensure that you have everyone’s buy-in and help employees feel invested in the results! Ultimately, as the new processes and policies start to show results, that evidence will be its own reward – smoothing the path for completing the organizational cultural shift and cementing those changes.
Customization – While there may be countless resources and advice available for how to improve and assure quality, how do you really know what is right for your unique business? Companies have to individually discern the right way to tailor insights regarding the best practices and policies to their circumstances, organizational culture, and workplace setting. Don’t risk implementing change that isn’t right for your business – and no one knows your business better than you and your team. While external consultation can be a helpful tool for identifying blind spots and potential weak areas, when it comes to creating a process to address those issues, the solution has to incorporate inside knowledge of how and why your staff works effectively – as well as your unique strengths, challenges, and risks within your current system. Without that perspective, you’ll be flying blind.
These kinds of roadblocks can be easily overcome with the right strategy and the right software!
Implementing an Enterprise Quality Management System
Before developing a strategy for migrating to a new system, start by clearly identifying your needs and goals for the process. It can be tempting to get swept away in the excitement of “progress” without truly staying focused on the desired end result. What are the top priorities for your business’ quality management? What are the biggest issues you’re currently dealing with, and where do those issues have the greatest impact – administrative time, workplace safety, legal compliance, financial health, or another area? How will an enterprise quality management system change the way your teams work, and what will stay the same? Who are the key stakeholders in the work, and how can you make sure you have their buy-in? By working collaboratively to establish concrete goals and desired results, you’ll be able to set benchmarks for success and feel confident that the work is moving in the right direction.
It’s also critically important to ensure that you are collecting baseline data on your business performance so that you can measure the prior outcomes against the new (and hopefully improved!) data. If your business isn’t already tracking this kind of data, consider moving forward with the switch to an updated EHS system – but hold off on procedural changes until you have the insights to know what you’re working with moving forward. Having that software in place will make it easier to gather the information you need to make strategic decisions, while supporting further process improvement down the line.
Finding the Right Features
The enterprise quality management system you choose should integrate fully into your organization in order to help manage quality processes, ensure operational excellence, and streamline quality assurance and improvement. If your business isn’t already paperless, it is past time to upgrade! Taking all of your quality management into the digital world strengthens efficiency, accuracy, and paves the way for greater success as you set a course for achieving all of your goals in 2020.
Look for software that has built-in compliance tracking to manage internal and external regulatory requirements, standards conformance, and customer mandates – without increasing administrative overhead or creating burdensome reporting. The right software should also centralize and integrate your data into the foundation of what you’re doing, making business intelligence simple and automated – using statistical process control to avoid errors and integrate with legacy systems. Streamlining document control can make change requests, archiving data, and document revisions simple and efficient, as well as provide a digital “paper trail” for your work.
One easy way to increase the impact of your new system is to include suppliers, contractors, vendors, and other external stakeholders. By using a supplier portal, the businesses you rely on every day can enter their own information regarding contacts, locations, accreditations, and product information in one place – making it easy for your team to pull the information your business needs when you need it most. Supplier quality is often an integral part of ensuring overall quality compliance, so gaining supply chain visibility can have a significant impact on reaching quality benchmarks. You can also sync your inspection data, storing revision levels, and change histories over the course of your business operations.
The right software can also simplify tracking and improving employee training. Track courses and completion by position and tenure, and easily identify any gaps or noncompliance.
Your quality management system can also play a significant role in preparing for or protecting against an audit, ensuring a complete audit trail that includes all of the documentation and records you need for an investigation. Centralizing audit management makes it possible to schedule and perform audit tasks on time and without the extra headaches. Easily track key performance indicators, supply issues, and incident reports in case of an audit – and never lose sleep over regulatory compliance again. Your software solution should track all nonconformances and CAPAs for compliance and satisfy quality standards, such as ISO 9000, IATF 16949 and AS 9100, among others.
By managing all of your business’ quality assurance and EHS information via one centralized system, your leadership will be empowered to monitor trends and risks, review incident reports, and utilize the latest reporting software to view data dashboard and metrics – providing a foundation for better business decisions and strategic growth.
Moving Forward for Better Quality Management
Cority has been a trusted industry leader over thirty years, and currently serves over eight hundred companies seeking the latest technology solutions for improving business practices and managing EHSQ programs. Our mission is to partner with business leaders like you to help create meaningful change while delivering outstanding customer service. To find out more about how our software solutions can impact your business and set up a free demo, contact the Cority team today!