Over the last 20 years, design-and-make companies have invested heavily in CAD and other systems so they could enhance their product development processes. Even though innovative software project management tools have become available, a surprising number of these businesses are still using tools built in the 1980s to support their quality management systems, or QMS.
Although there are many software project management tools on the market today that are excellent for writing technical specification documents, creating graphs for documenting and controlling quality processes, these tools are no longer up to the job of ensuring quality.
The most popular generic tool for managing quality is spreadsheet software. However, there are many risks to managing your quality control process with a spreadsheet, including:
• Lack of collaboration tools • No defined user access • Difficulty reporting on progress • Overreliance on meetings
Many issues arise from using such tools in today’s climate of compressed product lifecycles, stringent regulatory requirements, geographically dispersed project teams, outsourced partnerships and frequent product changes.
In addition, modern product records are large and highly relational with many associated files and data that need to be attached to them. Changes are made often, and there is a need to communicate these changes with a growing number of stakeholders inside and outside of an organization.
A system based on an unsuitable platform can lead to a disorganized system in which it is difficult for the stakeholder to find the information they require.
Even worse, it can make the life of an auditor so difficult it can impede product approval, meaning you aren’t able to sell you products.
Why do you need a purpose-driven QMS? An exceptional QMS will: • Improve traceability • Guarantee data security • Get rid of human error • Speed up product releases
A better way
The good news is software project management tools exist, giving companies a tool to enable project managers and stakeholders to effectively manage quality.
Instead of poring over thousands of lines of a standalone spreadsheet to find information, a good QMS ensures broad accessibility to the latest iteration and that any work moving forward is accurate.
Remote teams? Siloed departments? No problem. If your QMS software is browser-based, everyone can access it from wherever they are. They can have instant access to any critical information needed to fulfil their duties, such as a project manager who can access the reports page, giving full transparency to a project at the click of a button.
Further, application lifecycle management tools eradicate errors from projects as data accuracy and workflows facilitate the correct information flow through the business to the right people.
Finally, using quality management systems and application lifecycle management tools offers automated compliance capability, so companies can be confident they will pass any audit.
As more companies use an exceptional QMS tool, they find better management capabilities and the ability to connect teams to projects while maintaining end-to-end traceability and visibility. This means a greater competitive edge helping to design and develop products to get them to market faster than your competitors.
As companies look toward the future, spreadsheet-based systems will no longer be enough to ensure your products’ quality and your competitiveness in the market.