Quality management is about more than just having the right processes and policies in place. It’s also about giving your employees the tools they need to effectively implement quality programs. With its role as the central repository for information and workflow facilitator, a good quality management system (QMS) is the glue that holds your quality programs together.
There are multiple reasons why you might end up with the wrong QMS, including a lack of research, an unscrupulous vendor, an incomplete understanding of requirements, or a tight budget. But finding the QMS that’s perfect for your business is critical. Using the wrong QMS is like building a house on a bad foundation: it might work, but it’s just not a sustainable long-term solution.
Here are three of the top risks of choosing the wrong quality management system.
Risk #1: It Won’t Conform to the Way You Work
Your business’s established quality processes have been meeting your company’s standards for years, and your employees execute them skillfully. Then, to modernize your systems, you implement a new QMS. Suddenly, your existing processes no longer work the way you expect them to. Why? Because the new software makes assumptions about how your quality programs should operate, and the new QMS too rigid to modify. Rather than giving you flexibility to configure the software around the way you work, you’re stuck following someone else’s rules and processes.
For example, if your QMS system doesn’t have customizable forms, users will have to scroll through fields and features they don’t use in order to get to the ones they need. If it doesn’t offer report templates, users must recreate reports from scratch every time they need them. If it doesn’t allow users to build custom forms and lists, users must create workarounds using desktop productivity software. All these instances of inflexibility lead to wasted time, decreased productivity, and mistakes.
Risk #2: It Requires Extensive Technical Expertise
Then there are systems that offer flexibility and enable you to mold them to the way you work – but only if you have a programmer on staff. In these cases, the software’s foundation may be strong, but the walls and roof aren’t sturdy. You need a programmer to update or add code, which takes time; then, you have to test the new code (and perhaps fix it), which takes more time. Even small changes can end up turning into a major project.
A good QMS offers configurability, so that within hours or days of deploying the system, you can design your own functionality with no programming skills or specialized expertise. With the right system, even non-technical users can modify the layout of screens, create their own data collection/storage processes and workflows, and make other adjustments that save time and make everyone’s jobs easier.
Risk #3: People Won’t Use It
People appreciate knowing how to do their jobs efficiently, having processes they are comfortable with, and using software that they don’t have to spend too much time thinking about. A new QMS often requires that people learn new ways to work. That can make it challenging to get employees on board with the change. For them, it’s not always just a matter of what’s best for your business. In many instances, it’s a matter of continuing to use software they already know versus the pain of learning new software. Eventually, most will come around, accept the new software, and even – if it’s the right software – discover that it makes their jobs easier. A high level of configurability ensures that this transition can be fast and smooth.
The wrong QMS, in contrast, might never get employee buy-in. If it’s difficult and time-consuming to learn, if it lacks clear paths to find help, and if it makes users’ jobs harder; the wrong QMS can set you up for failure. Users will avoid using it. They’ll skip steps and create manual workarounds, wasting time and decreasing productivity. They may even get so frustrated that they quit, requiring you to recruit and train new employees. Worst of all, you’ll lose process visibility and critical data, which means losing opportunities to document problems, understand root causes, and make improvements.
Having the wrong QMS will cause user unhappiness elsewhere, too. Employees no longer want to be trapped at a desk. Effective quality programs require active visibility to the shop floor and field operations. If your QMS doesn’t have robust, effective, usable mobile apps, your employees will be tethered to a workstation (or at the very least, to a bulky laptop). A good QMS sets employees free with mobile-friendly apps that allow them to collect data, take notes, attach photos, and more – that is, everything they need to do their jobs – anywhere, anytime, on any device.
The takeaway? Invest in a quality management system that’s so intuitive that even infrequent users can log in and get to work with minimal instruction. Intellect QMS can take your company to the next level of quality management. With its extreme configurability, Intellect’s software is perfect for companies that don’t want to be forced to conform to someone else’s processes, who don’t have users with extensive expertise, and who want employees to embrace a new QMS with enthusiasm.
Intellect would love to help you take your quality programs to the next level. Contact us today to arrange a free demo, or to speak with one of our quality management experts.