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Almost a decade ago, McKinsey Quarterly published an article titled ‘Lean and Six Sigma – Why can’t we be friends?’. The primary recommendation from the article was this: Enterprises need to clearly choose between Lean or Six Sigma for their “business improvement” process but also take a holistic view that’ll ensure best practices from both approaches come into the picture. 

The Lean concept was born from the Toyota Production System (TPS) and focuses on improvements in frontline processes and quality improvements in manufacturing through processes like 5S, Kanban and Kaizen. It was deeply focused on reducing “wasteful processes” to make systems more efficient. 

On the other hand, Six Sigma is more statistical with a clearly defined execution process and usage of analytical models to “reduce variations” in often-repeated processes and therefor in the final output. Motorola and General Electric were pioneers of using Six Sigma to bring in high-levels of efficiency into business operations. 

But let’s fast forward to today’s interconnected, complex world.

Quality and operational excellence frameworks like Lean and Six Sigma are simply not enough by themselves. As this article in Quartz points out, the smart enterprise of the future will need a quality system that is agile, flexible, connected and data-driven. It should not only drive the execution of quality processes but help future-oriented teams innovate and move forward. 

It should empower teams to learn and pick-up new skills through training, quickly navigate between supplier, customer and internal dashboards and generate insights from quality and operational metrics. 

At ComplianceQuest, we’re building a next-generation EQMS to help our customers embrace Quality Excellence. 

But, what do we specifically mean by Quality Excellence? 

To us, it is a quality system that is placed at the core of all your operations – internal, supplier side, customer side and all other partners/stakeholders. It has to be agile, effective, easy-to-implement, easy-to-track and, most importantly, drives continuous improvement. 

Businesses today are facing the challenge of globalization of markets, a widely distributed supply chain, increased competition, demanding customers and stringent as well as varying regulations in the markets they operate in. Additionally, they need to gear up for the next phase of digital transformation, taking advantage of emerging technologies like AI and advanced analytics to aid innovation and growth. 

Businesses find that their legacy quality management systems are insufficient to cope with the demands from multiple directions. What they need is a versatile, next-generation quality management system not only for improved efficiency and effectiveness but also enable advancement in functionality to boost innovation, growth and quality metrics. 

In the future, a holistic quality system will be at the center of operational excellence. 

A Grand View Research of the trends in the global quality management software market shows that this need for “better performance, customer satisfaction, and competitiveness” will drive the next phase of growth in the EQMS sector. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.8 per cent in the next five years to touch USD 13.9 billion by 2025 in terms of revenue. 

We believe the following six key factors will transform a legacy system into a truly next-generation quality management solution: 

Legacy Next Generation 
On-Prem Cloud-based
Process-driven Data-driven
Silos Ecosystem
Waterfall Agile
Ops-based Continuous Development
Legacy IT Proactive IT

 

On-prem, waterfall development-based legacy technology tends to be reactive where one sees the presence of several disparate and disconnected silos. This limits the scope for collaboration, a key requirement today to bring geographically spread out teams and partners to be able to work together as and when required. Additionally, on-prem systems are cumbersome to maintain and upgrade. 

Moreover, data needs to be at the core of a next-generation EQMS. In fact, your enterprise’s EQMS can serve as the gold source of all quality data and key metrics. The Document Management System in your EQMS will ensure version control of all key documents, the Supplier Management module will drive supplier quality metrics and your EQMS’ dashboard can serve as a tracker all key metrics like say, supplier quality or customer happiness scores. 

A cloud-based system is also designed to be agile, flexible and scalable, making it easy to drive continuous improvement. It also has the necessary APIs to connect with other ERP and CRM systems, ensuring continuity of processes. 

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