Perhaps no other function in manufacturing is as document-heavy and paper-centric as the quality function. We have all struggled with the reams of information locked in manual and semi-manual systems that can euphemistically be referred to as credenza-ware. The design specifications, quality definition data and control limits are not quite locked away but nearly always an effort to get to. Three out of four manufacturers admit to disconnect between their quality operations.
Heroic efforts happen intermittently to summarize this string of virtual deserted islands of information. Our old friend the spreadsheet becomes the rickety bridge between our data sets. Electronic does not equal integrated. Sadly electronic doesn’t even imply paperless. Often the spreadsheet approach is just a temporary attempt to aggregate data that is then printed out yet again. All of this results in thicker binders for the credenza-ware and the illusion of integration.
Many manufacturers have done remarkable things with spreadsheets and some of these manual systems. Nearly every manufacturer can recount stories of how hard it was before they had the spreadsheet. However, most manufacturers are feeling daily discomfort as these systems are stressed to keep up with the demands of modern requirements. As valuable as the spreadsheet system has become for many, there is still a lack of integrated and synchronized information.
So what is Vertically Integrated Quality?
Vertical integration is defined as the integration of all upstream and downstream processes that contribute to the quality aspects of manufacturing of a product. At one end of the vertical functional integration is the design of the product and selection of materials. A vertically integrated QMS will include the quality definition of the designed product and the specifications of the contributing materials. The other end of the integrated quality-related functionality covers the management of product that has already been put into use at the customer.
With a vertically Integrated Quality Management System, manufacturers have a strong foundation for sharing the most current and accurate information.
How Can Manufacturers Solve the Quality Conundrum with Quality Management Software?
Check out a recent whitepaper that details the challenges and potential solutions for a vertically integrated quality management system. Manufacturers whose growth and scale require the entire team to move beyond paperless and into integrated.