Why Fast-Growing Companies Need a Digital Quality<sup>+</sup> Platform to Integrate Quality with Business Strategy
Blog | April 30th, 2024

Why Fast-Growing Companies Need a Digital Quality+ Platform to Integrate Quality with Business Strategy

Last year, ComplianceQuest’s Product and Solutions Team caught up with several fast-growing medical device companies at a conference. We met a combination of founders, CEOs, and Quality Directors – all of whom resonated with a common problem: “It was not easy to scale their company’s quality operations as the business scaled.”

A founder of a medical device manufacturing company specializing in innovative EEG technology spoke about how his enterprise managed quality in the early stages with manual processes like pen, paper, Excel workbooks, and email. However, as the company prepared to scale, the limitations of these methods became evident.

Key Quality Challenges Faced by Fast-Growing Companies

The founder shared, in detail, some of the challenges his company – and others in a similar phase – were facing:

  • Scalability of Processes: As companies grow, processes that worked well at a smaller scale can become inefficient or inadequate.
  • Consistency and Standardization: Rapid expansion can lead to inconsistencies in how quality processes and policies are applied across different locations or departments.
  • Operational Challenges in Meeting Regulatory Compliance: Keeping up with various industry standards and regulations becomes more complex as the company expands into new markets and/or adds new product versions.
  • Integration of New Tools and Systems: Implementing new quality management tools or systems across an expanding organization can be challenging. In fact, it is easier to start implementing a scalable, flexible QMS as early as possible and scale this as the business grows.
  • Training and Development: Ensuring all employees are properly trained on quality standards and practices can be difficult as the workforce grows rapidly.
  • ‘Connected’ Quality: Without a QMS that ensures data visibility across the design stage, product development lifecycle, production, supplier management, and customer satisfaction, it becomes impossible to meet consistent quality standards/goals.
  • Efficiency and Error Reduction: Automating quality processes through a modern QMS reduces the potential for human error, enhances accuracy, and speeds up response times, which are crucial for maintaining product quality and safety. This was a key missing piece in a manual QMS process.
  • Operational Delays: Without an automated system, the quality management processes were slow and error-prone, causing delays in critical operations, corrective actions, regulatory filings and responding to market requirements.
  • Product Recalls: Due to the lack of automated tracking and real-time data analysis, product defects that could have been preemptively identified were missed, leading to costly recalls.
  • Justifying the ROI of Implementing a QMS: One reason companies postpone the decision to implement a modern QMS is the cost. However, a careful analysis reveals that a better, well-implemented QMS will help you save costs and get to market faster, playing a key role in improving both top-line and profitability.

Integrating Quality Management with Business Strategy

In highly regulated sectors like medical devices & manufacturing, quality management is vital for scaling operations effectively. It helps standardize processes and ensure consistency across expanded operations by establishing rigorous quality controls that comply with industry standards, such as ISO 13485 and FDA regulations. This standardization is crucial to prevent errors and ensure product reliability and safety as production volumes increase.

This case study with Standard Biotools highlights how implementing a robust quality management system enabled them to scale up operations with a quality-first approach.

Quality management can be deeply integrated into medical device manufacturers' strategic planning processes. This involves aligning quality goals with business objectives to ensure that product development and manufacturing processes meet stringent regulatory requirements and address patient safety from the outset.

The early integration of quality measures allows companies to foresee potential challenges and implement preventive measures, reducing the risk and cost associated with post-market corrections and recalls.

This Spinal Implant Manufacturer's quality management journey provides an excellent example of this approach of embedding quality management into the lifecycle of their products — accelerating the process of New Product Introductions (NPIs) and the overall path to market.

Choosing a Digital Quality+ Platform

Overcoming the above challenges requires a strategic approach to quality management. Adopting a modern EQMS, like ComplianceQuest's AI-infused Digital Quality+ Platform, will be a game-changer. It is designed to intelligently automate quality and compliance operations with a unified PLM, QMS, EHS, and Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) Solution.

CQ’s EQMS automates and integrates quality processes, ensuring scalability and consistency across all departments and locations. It enhances compliance with regulatory standards and simplifies process integration. Training programs can be streamlined and made more effective, while connected systems ensure full data visibility and real-time data analysis, reducing errors, operational delays, and the risk of product recalls.

Additionally, the return on investment from implementing such a system can be significant, not only in cost savings but also in speeding up time-to-market, crucial for maintaining competitiveness and profitability in a fast-growing environment.

​​CQ also comes with our in-built AI framework, CQ.AI which is designed to implement the following types of automation:

  • Task Automation: Automating short-running, routine tasks for quick benefits. From a quality perspective, this could be as simple as automatically notifying a stakeholder once a CAPA is triggered or an audit is scheduled with an e-mail notification.
  • Process Automation: Orchestrating and automating long-running processes to deliver higher business value. Examples include eliminating redundant complaint records by detecting duplicates and automatically merging and closing them.
  • Augmentation: Empower knowledge workers with intelligent capabilities and enable self-service for customers. For instance, this could be spotting a non-conformance that is fairly similar to an earlier one that was detected and automatically recommending escalation to CAPA.
  • Next Best Actions: Use advanced analytics to suggest recommendations or next steps. For example, if there is a high volume of complaints in a particular area, the root cause of the issue could be related to a particular supplier. If a tool can suggest a recommendation to check that supplier’s quality rating, there would be several steps in between that would be saved for the quality leader responsible for it.
  • Guided Workflows: One simple yet very useful use case of automation and AI is to “connect” processes and move from one step to the next with agility. Through intelligent notifications, if the EQMS system could truly connect people, processes, and systems – that in itself would be a game changer.
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