At the heart of everything that quality managers do daily is a simple focus—continuous improvement. Searching for inefficiencies in processes, reducing waste, tracking quality standards, and keeping employees training and regulatory compliant all aim to improve their organization through practice improvements. Countless quality systems have been developed that set forth frameworks and principles for quality management practices. As digital transformation has taken root in all areas of business, quality management practitioners are also adopting a suite of software tools to bolster their own processes and change the way organizations operate.
An effective quality management system (QMS Software) aims to help coordinate and align an organization’s activities to uphold the customer and regulatory requirements while focusing on improving effectiveness and efficiency on a continuous basis.
In a technical sense, Gartner defines quality management software as “the business management system that houses internal quality policies and standard operating procedures (SOPs). This may include, but is not limited to, customer requirements, quality documents, ISO requirements, manufacturing capabilities, robust design, auditing procedures, nonconformance/risk management activities, testing criteria, and any industry-specific regulations.”
Quality management software systems support the goal of quality managers in facilitating improvement in formalized processes around quality policies and ensure all standards and regulations are met as defined by any stakeholder (customer, organization, regulatory body, etc.). QMS software provides a link between multiple groups, often with disparate needs, that are directly affected by an organization’s production. Ultimately, QMS programs serve the greater purpose of your quality management system and minimize inefficiencies in existing processes.
QMS software run on platforms, like Quickbase, that are built to facilitate continuous improvement. Workflow management and data dashboarding are critical processes that fall within the scope of QMS software. Integrated quality software programs vary significantly between all-inclusive systems and point solutions. The emergence of low-code platforms has also allowed professionals to easily build out applications that address their own unique quality issues and encompass their defined range of processes.
There are 7 principles defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) related to quality management in the ISO 9001. The principles are customer focus, leadership, engagement of people, process approach, continuous improvement, data-driven decision making, and relationship management. Each principle directly relates to a fundamental belief of quality management and has explicit benefits to quality practices.
Regardless of the QMS that you determine is best for your organization, the 5 basic steps to implementing a QMS software are the same. The 5 steps are design, deploy, control, measure, review & improve.
The implementation steps are all predicated on the establishment of a quality manual. The quality manual is an overarching document that describes an organization’s quality management system and is useful for internal and external use. The contents of a quality manual should provide a reader with a holistic and thorough understanding of an organization’s quality processes.
Quality control management practices revolve around principles and practices, however, enabling and executing on these processes require significant effort. To address process improvement, a multitude of quality management software programs exist to help achieve quality management improvement goals. Technology enhances quality control management in two major ways: visibility and automation.
Analyzing data is at the heart of any process improvement. Most organizations have a tremendous amount of data related to their process housed in multiple systems. Developing a holistic view of all quality data in one place is a strength of quality management technology. Enhanced visibility and surfacing information from legacy systems make identifying processes ripe for improvement simpler and more efficient.
Process inefficiencies and waste are inevitable when organizations rely on manual processes. Platforms facilitating process automation are being adopted by quality managers in order to boost the quality processes. Low-code platforms, like Quickbase, are especially effective at allowing organizations to build out custom solutions to automate their quality processes. Automation reduces the requisite effort and opportunity for errors in quality processes. This leads to streamlined operations and overall organizational benefit.
A QMS program is a software solution adopted by an organization with the purpose of operating, integrating, and/or improving an organization’s quality management system. There are four main components of quality management systems: quality planning, quality improvement, quality control, and quality assurance. Optimal QMS programs serve as a connector between these crucial components and lead to more efficient operations and enhanced quality processes.
The cost of QMS programs ranges widely between a few hundred dollars a month to upwards of $80,000 a year. The pricing of these programs depends on several factors including number of organizational users, scope of quality operations, provider services required, and more.