Achieving Operational Excellence with EQMS: A 5-Step Roadmap for Manufacturers
Blog | May 20th, 2024

Achieving Operational Excellence with EQMS: A 5-Step Roadmap for Manufacturers

Operational excellence refers to the “continuous improvement of manufacturing processes to maximize efficiency, performance, and growth while cutting down on expenses and increasing competitive advantage.” It uses practices such as Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, Just in Time (JIT), and Kaizen (continuous improvement) to enable resource optimization.

The goals of Operational Excellence and Quality Management are greatly aligned and aim to:

  • Improve productivity
  • Increase revenue
  • Facilitate sustainable growth
  • Prevent disruption to operations due to breakdowns or other quality events
  • Standardize operations across the enterprise
  • Enable resilience
  • Drive interconnected operations with coordinated efforts across multi-disciplinary teams

To achieve operational excellence, businesses need to establish a culture of quality by using a risk-based approach to identify and mitigate risks, empower workers to proactively contribute to improving efficiency and effectiveness, and automate processes to minimize errors. The overarching goal is to improve the accuracy and efficiency of systems and processes. With operational excellence, manufacturing businesses can unlock value and improve profitability.

Role of an EQMS in Achieving Operational Excellence

An enterprise-wide Quality Management System (QMS) enables manufacturers to leverage Industry 4.0 technology, such as the cloud, IoT, data analytics, AI/ML, and others, to gain visibility into processes for greater efficiency. Although manual systems have been used in the past to achieve operational excellence, digital technologies empower even the last worker on the shop floor to proactively contribute to ensuring excellence.

Let’s look at the 5 key ways in which manufacturers can achieve operational excellence by implementing a modern EQMS with key capabilities:

#1 - Digital SOPs

The first and foremost requirement for any manufacturing company seeking to achieve operational excellence is to align all employees and functions toward a common goal. While each function will also have its own objectives, they must all synchronize and contribute to achieving the primary goal—in this case, Operational Excellence.

Therefore, it is essential to create policies and procedures and share them with the workers to make them aware of their roles and responsibilities and the correct way to carry out each task. Every time there is a revision, or a new recruit joins the team, they must also be made aware of the SOPs and policies. Manual tomes can be hard to handle and filled with information not relevant to them. Digital SOPs can be stored in centralized locations with videos and content in easy-to-consume formats and languages to support the policies/documents that can be accessed easily, anytime from anywhere.

ISO 45001 Compliance ISO 45001 Compliance

#2 - The Connected Worker

The next step is to provide the workers with digital tools that enable them to access data/documents from anywhere, anytime, with sufficient access controls and authorization. This helps them to review and approve changes or requirements, access their tools remotely, and perform operations without disruptions. The tools must also enable the workers to report deviations and anomalies for timely action to minimize nonconformance and non-compliance.

Digital tools can help workers record observations and interviews on the system during inspections and audits and make them accessible to all decision-makers in real-time. This makes the process more efficient and frees up the inspecting/auditing team’s time to focus on higher-value tasks. It can also help the quality team gain visibility into processes to make informed decisions.

ISO 45001 Compliance ISO 45001 Compliance

#3 - Data-Driven Decision-Making: Visibility & Traceability are Critical

The foundation for operational excellence is data. A cloud-based EQMS that integrates with other enterprise systems such as PLM, ERP, SRM, CRM, etc., helps leaders across functions and the top management with a unified view of data to identify risks, manage change, and improve process efficiency.

It helps with resource optimization and enables the streamlining of processes through automation of workflows to reduce errors. It improves standardization and customization across locations, supplier management, and looping back customer feedback to the relevant departments for continuous improvement. It also helps with audit trails, improving traceability for faster identification and rectification of errors. In case of any issues, it facilitates identifying the root cause and triggering CAPA as needed.

#4 - Communication and Collaboration: A Unified Solution is the Need of the Hour

The modern workplace requires collaboration between multiple teams across the organizational workflow to ensure quality and operational excellence. Each activity impacts upstream and downstream processes, which makes communication of key decisions to all stakeholders essential.

Communication plays a key role in processes such as implementing changes, mitigating risks, predictive maintenance, etc. The management, too, needs to keep the employees informed about any changes to policies and procedures or other key decisions. A centralized platform enables a unified view of all communication to improve decision-making. Collaborating for operations-related processes and quality management processes such as root cause analysis, CAPA, etc., must be managed in a unified quality management platform for greater efficiency and operational effectiveness.

#5 - Training and Compliance Management

Upskilling workers is a critical need in an ever-evolving workplace. Policy changes, regulatory changes, or process changes could require new skills or methodologies to be adopted. Workers must have the required knowledge to meet the new requirements, and therefore, the organization must have a robust training program.

Using a Modern EQMS makes it easier to provide customized training, track progress, and demonstrate compliance. All training-related documentation is available in a centralized location, making it easy to plan future training programs – customized per specific employee or department needs.

ComplianceQuest EQMS is a cloud-based EQMS built on Salesforce and aligned with all ISO Quality standards. It provides manufacturers with all key quality management features needed for achieving operational excellence. To know more, visit https://www.compliancequest.com/quality/

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