Creating a Business Case for a Quality Management System

Learn 5 elements to include in your quality management system business case

There’s never been a more critical time to invest in a quality management system (QMS) to help elevate the quality of your business. But creating a successful business case to justify a quality management system means you have to approach it holistically. Every stakeholder in the value chain must buy into the business case you present to justify QMS implementation and maintenance costs. At the very least, your business case should include these elements:

  • Organizational alignment/impact of quality
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Maturity and readiness
  • QMS data (current versus future state)
  • Communication of value

By following these steps, your company can realize the cost benefits and savings of improved quality management throughout the enterprise.

1. Organizational Alignment and the Impact of Quality

In the past, QMS has been relegated to a lower status than monolithic ERP, MOM or PLM systems. To overcome this hurdle and elevate the importance of investing in quality, you need to analyze quality from an organizational alignment perspective and its impact on quality overall.

Here are some key questions to answer:

  • What is your company’s current state of quality?
  • Do current quality management processes align across departments?
  • Can quality enable improved alignment with strategic objectives?
  • How does cost of quality affect operational planning?
  • What data do you possess to support your assertions?

Essentially, this step amounts to assessing your current QMS capabilities and their effectiveness from a holistic point of view.

2. Stakeholder Engagement

Of all the steps discussed in this blog post, many would consider stakeholder engagement the most important. Without top-down buy-in, any QMS software implementation will most likely fall short of its potential. Creating a business case to justify a quality management system requires stakeholders to see how quality affects the value chain.

Here are some key questions to answer:

  • How do the costs of quality affect a stakeholder’s domain?
  • Do stakeholders think of a QMS on a functional basis or as a value chain?
  • What motivates stakeholders to engage in the QMS discussion?
  • What data must you present to engage stakeholders?

Far too often, quality departments provide treasure troves of data, but they neglect to place this data in context. To build a winning quality management system business case, you need to engage and educate your stakeholders.

3. Maturity and Readiness

Despite its quantifiable cost of quality reductions, a holistic QMS implementation may not be feasible. If your company lacks the maturity and readiness to embrace an improved QMS, any implementation will be incomplete.

To gauge your company’s maturity and readiness, you should include the answers to these questions in your quality management system business case:

  • What role does improved QMS play in best-in-class organizations?
  • How far must your company go to achieve best-in-class status?
  • Are stakeholders poised to lead and embrace a QMS?
  • Is your organization making progress in closing the maturity and readiness gap?

Maturity and readiness relates very closely to stakeholder engagement. Raising the bar on quality can actually expedite QMS maturity and prepare your organization to join best-in-class companies.

4. QMS Data

Not surprisingly, executives are going to demand that you present data to justify QMS implementation and maintenance costs. By presenting the right data in the right context, stakeholders can reach their own conclusions on why improved QMS is a sound investment. Numbers are certainly important, but context is key when presenting data to justify an improved QMS.

At the very least, you should include these data elements in your business case:

  • Site-level data
  • Production metrics
  • Supplier performance metrics
  • Compliance and auditing data
  • Cost savings over time

This data affords you the benefit of highlighting a stakeholder’s pain points and where an improved QMS can enable cost of quality reductions.

5. Communication of Value

Ultimately, you want to build the business case to justify improved QMS by building a consensus. Without multiple stakeholders’ buy-in, your business case will not be successful. Adopting the value-chain perspective is one way to communicate with stakeholders on a granular level. As companies learn to do more with fewer resources, improved QMS steps forward as a viable option to lower cost of quality. To start creating a business case to justify QMS, these steps will point you in the right direction.