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Manufacturing processes and product quality are intertwined; they depend on reproducibility to attain the desired objectives. Companies can streamline the product development process by implementing a product lifecycle management (PLM) system. To ensure continued success, the system needs to be supported by quality procedures designed to detect, correct and maintain specific standards.

Many firms address a drop in profit margins and issues relating to new product introductions by implementing a PLM system capable of augmenting best-in-class manufacturing processes. However, they continue handling quality processes manually using basic tools like spreadsheets. This leads to costly quality-related risks that often result in product recalls. Quality management systems (QMS) provide a framework for data analysis, audits covering process adherence and the measurement of current performance.

QMS solutions offer small-to-medium businesses reliable software that makes it easy to comply with standard requirements. The software solution is designed to satisfy the diverse needs of companies operating in various industries, including highly regulated sectors. In turn, manufacturers gain a considerable competitive advantage by producing high-quality products.

Integrating quality systems directly with the PLM processes enables organizations to capture and maintain quality records in a way that shows adherence to regulatory requirements. This helps simplify the auditing process. According to research by LNS Research, most industrial executives identified disparate quality systems, inaccurate quality measuring metrics, and poor data sources as the major challenges their companies face.

Leveraging the Value Chain

Integrating customer relationship management (CRM) and risk management with PLM creates a viable system that takes into account potential risks and customer feedback. Doing so bolsters the overall quality by identifying and rectifying problem areas more quickly. Integration makes it easy to maintain continuous quality improvement.

Well-designed QMS software allows various departments involved in the production and quality process to have in-context visibility at every stage. Quality issues are collaboratively rectified, reviewed and approved in a way that leverages the value chain. Manufacturers have the option to involve suppliers in the process as assignees.

Some of the key areas of integration include:

  • Product Compliance – Regulated substance information and workflow data, which plays a key role in the compliance of products, must be integrated into QMS.
  • Enterprise Bill of Process – The integration of eBOP enables easier communication between various production sections or floors, which helps improve quality standards.
  • Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) – This aspect defines failure modes and can play an integral role in a closed-loop quality management system.
  • Risk Management – Assessing risk associated with product design impacts the risk profile of product lifecycle management procedures.

Benefits of PLM Integration with QMS

Harmonizing QMS with a PLM system allows firms to capitalize on key synergies. From a value-chain perspective, manual methods compromise efficiency and the ability to identify non-conformances. Companies cannot afford to create silos of information due to intense competitive pressures.

Advantages of harmonization include:

  • Quicker cross-functional collaboration
  • Significant cost savings
  • Automation of failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA)
  • Effective communication
  • Improved design, production monitoring, and post-market analysis
  • Adopting effective corrective and preventative actions (CAPA)

The integration process starts with the establishment of a cross-functional team responsible for benchmarking current performance in relation to the ideal scenario. PLM to QMS integration improves the documentation of vital CAPA and FMEA processes. An end-to-end view of quality management accelerates innovation while keeping costs low and boosting productivity.

Federated data enables a cross-enterprise view of product quality. The ability to resolve quality incidents before they escalate reduces the cost of quality. Instances of non-conformance discovered in the design phase improve customer experience, competitiveness, and boosts long-term profitability. A holistic view of managing data helps clear out bottlenecks.

Operational Metrics and EQMS

Challenges associated with disparate data sources and quality processes are easily resolved by enterprise quality management software (EQMS). It enables an unprecedented capacity for collaboration and cross-functional communication required in closed-loop quality management. The system allows entities to assess current requirements before implementing a set of relevant functionalities. Manufacturers enjoy measurable improvements in metrics like overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), which covers asset availability, quality, and efficiency.

A recent survey revealed that users of EQMS enjoyed a superior median OEE when compared to companies that are yet to adopt the system. In addition, the users reported an on-time delivery rate and product compliance median that is 3 percent higher.

Respondents taking advantage of EQMS functionality also enjoy a successful new product launch median of 24 percent. The survey confirms that the integration of silos of data allows companies to respond more effectively to quality incidents and streamline processes. As technological advancements redefine PLM processes, both small and larger businesses cannot afford to ignore quality management system software. Many PLM systems integrated with QMS come with built-in metrics capability for added convenience and practicality. This enables quality managers to assess improvement opportunities.

For additional help or information on how to implement QMS software to achieve your full potential, don’t hesitate to get in touch with CEBOS at info@cebos.com or (810) 534-2222.