A new generation of cloud ERP software is bringing the benefits of on-demand financials, inventory, logistics, and manufacturing to today’s small and midsized organizations. Most of the major ERP vendors don’t handle quality management out of the box, though; preferring instead to work with best of breed solutions that have proven their value in the QMS space.
Unfortunately, many of the companies that have deployed dedicated quality management software are running those QMS systems in disconnected mode, with little or no integration to ERP. As a result, information between the two systems can easily become inconsistent over time. As new inventory SKUs are added to ERP, they must be re-keyed into the QMS system, or must be exported from the ERP system and imported to QMS manually. Serialized items must be batch-loaded from ERP to QMS, or entered by hand when a non-conformance investigation is started.
This problem can be especially challenging when it comes to transactional records. For example, ERP software stores a vast amount of transactional information in work orders, sales orders, purchase orders, and service tickets. That information includes equipment or devices sold to customers, along with records about product that was subsequently serviced or replaced. When an organization is running separate ERP and QMS systems without good integration, they experience the silo effect; company employees must constantly switch back-and-forth between two systems looking up information and scanning for inconsistencies along the way.
Eliminating the "Silo Effect"
In a fully integrated scenario, QMS users have direct, real-time access to relevant data from the ERP system, without ever leaving the QMS software. The minimum representative into the ERP system, it becomes visible in QMS. If you want to access information about products sold to a particular customer, you can simply pull up the history directly in QMS. If someone adds a new inventory item (SKU) to the ERP system, it will immediately be visible within the QMS system as well.
At Intellect, we design our products for extreme configurability. Our goal is to develop software that can easily be conformed to your unique business processes, without requiring deep technical expertise. We have developed our integration into Oracle NetSuite and other ERP software products with that in mind.
In NetSuite, for example, users can create a “saved search” to retrieve information that meets a pre-defined set of criteria. A saved search is simply a request for information from the NetSuite ERP database. If you’re familiar with the concept of a SQL database query, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what a NetSuite saved search can do. Oracle NetSuite makes it easy for users to set up a saved search without the detailed technical knowledge that would be required to write a SQL database query from scratch. They have a wizard-driven process that makes it simple.
Direct Access to NetSuite Information from QMS
In the Intellect QMS 4.0 product, we link your QMS information directly to a saved search in NetSuite. That gives you immediate access to virtually any information you need from your NetSuite ERP system, without ever leaving Intellect QMS 4.0. You get extreme configurability in your QMS, along with a fast, flexible integration to NetSuite ERP that can easily be customized, without extensive technical expertise.
Device history records (DHRs) in Intellect QMS, for example, can pull information directly from NetSuite sales orders or purchase orders, and that information automatically becomes available for complaint management and non-conformance investigations. Document control can access production information from the ERP system in real time, without ever leaving the QMS software. Supplier certifications, supplier qualifications, and corrective actions can all be directly tied to live data within the ERP system as well.
This level of integration is a game-changer. It does away with the tedious and error-prone manual entry processes that most organizations believe are a necessary evil. It eliminates delays that naturally occur when information from one system must be manually keyed or imported into QMS. Effective integration between ERP and QMS breaks down silos so that everybody in your organization is operating from the same page.
If your company is seeking to implement quality programs with a QMS system that is efficient, effective, and can function seamlessly alongside your ERP system, Intellect would love to speak with you. If you’re interested in reducing costs and increasing customer satisfaction, we can help. Contact us today to discuss your needs and learn how Intellect QMS can help you achieve your quality objectives.
Written by Peter Hargittay
Peter Hargittay is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and VP of Corporate Development at Intellect. Peter is responsible for rebranding the company as Intellect from Interneer and for positioning the company for significant growth. Peter joined Intellect in 2013, and is responsible for corporate, product, and online marketing, business development through the Intellect partner channel, demand generation, sales enablement, and go-to-market strategies. Peter has more than 15 years of experience in building successful software and services businesses. Prior to Intellect, Peter served as the VP of Marketing and Sales Operations at Arise Virtual Solutions, and previously held executive marketing roles at Aegis, PeopleSupport, Intersil, and FileNet. Peter received both his BA in Economics and MBA from California State University, Fullerton.