Companies need to monitor and analyse data that drives quality since quality is paramount to any organization’s success. This was initially done manually through papers and with the invention of spreadsheets, spreadsheets became a staple. As databases became more available, grown systems began to spring. With evolution in software and IT, companies soon began to leverage certain solutions in their ERP system to manage data related to quality. All in all, companies were left a bunch of bespoke systems and the leaders of the business and IT were left an incredible challenge of connecting them and figuring out how to make sense of the data that was gathered across these processes and disparate systems. Enterprise Quality Management Systems (EQMS) was born out of the need to consolidate various systems that don’t necessarily talk to each other and monitor them as a whole to provide a never seen before perspective. It gave rise to quality monitoring and the need for real-time integration into the systems across the supply chain, from product conceptualization, manufacturing through distribution and service.
An EQMS system is characterized by its interoperability with other established systems like ERP, a web-based user interface, a role-based system and has a focus on workflow execution. With EQMS, quality across teams can be managed. EQMS has made real-time visibility of engineering, manufacturing, and customer service metrics possible. External quality processes such as supplier performance are also integrated into the system.
Given all these advantages of an EQMS system, access to information gathered from a worker on the go with the use of mobile phones or tablets takes EQMS solutions to the next level.
Mobile devices are ubiquitous in our lives. According to a PC world survey, 68% of adults in the United States of America own a smartphone. And this number is up from 35% just four years ago. In 2015, a smartphone user spent an average of 3 hours and 5 minutes a day using mobile apps, up from 2 hours in 2014. The increased usage indicates our comfort and even a dependency on these devices and their seamless integration with our day to day life.
Here are five ways mobile access to your EQMS data drives productivity and increases collaboration.
1. Real-Time Data
A cloud-based EQMS breaks down divisions in the company and data by creating a central hub of quality intelligence. Users have access to a holistic view of data. With mobile access to data, real-time data is available across devices making response times shorter. From charts to dashboards, each user views customized data. With information on their fingertips, employees can now be more confident about their strategy. Business agility often refers to distinct qualities that allow companies to respond quickly to changes in the external and internal environment without losing momentum. The pace of change in the business world has never been greater and mobile access to data empowers business to be more agile. With the need for information exchange becoming greater and greater, input from the relevant subject matter even more critical, access to EQMS data through mobile devices helps speed approvals, sharing of knowledge, delegations, escalation of issues, etc.
2. On the go
Sitting in traffic or waiting at the airport, a lot of productive time is lost in the mundane. By providing traveling or remote location workers with instant access to relevant information, no matter where they are, they can be a part of the team. They have access to critical data as desktop users but aren’t tied down. With a secure device, all employees can access the required data while on the go; thus travel downtime is significantly reduced. They can continue working as they would have done at the office. Working on any device helps to complete tasks quicker and deal with issues efficiently as they occur.
3. Document Control
Document control is clearly one of the biggest benefits of moving to any digital platform and especially significant for EQMS. The time saved by having all the documents in one location and retrieving it as necessary is a huge advantage to business continuity. With stricter regulations document control is critical to any organization. Mobile access to EQMS implies employees have the ability to access, upload and edit files from any secure device from any location. Even when employees are off-site, they can access documents from a controlled environment. Mobile access also means documents will be the most up-to-date increasing their accuracy and cutting down on the number of errors caused by possible mistakes due to lack of infromation access.
A holistic view of data not only improves communication within a company, but also external communication. Mobile access of EQMS data made available across the supply chain saves time spent on paperwork, updates, and meetings. It becomes easy to track the activities of a division, department or a location giving users an improved understanding. With data widely available, it is easier to get everyone on the same page.
Mobile EQMS also provides an additional platform to listen to the customer's voice. Products and services can be tailor made with a quick turnaround time, needs and demands of special customers can be catered: to quickly and effectively and time and energy can be invested in features with the most return.
Mobile EQMS dashboards provide users with quick management information. Dashboards help decision making at every level in the organization. With drill downs, KPI analysis and various data view options, understanding and making use of data helps the organization to consistently improve. With mobile real time data, it is easier to spot trends and plan business processes accordingly.
Customer complaints provide an important opportunity for improvement. Complaints range from dissatisfaction to returns, and all of them may not be voiced through traditional channels. It becomes imperative to capture all of the complaints, through all channels and then sift through them and analyze those that can actually lead to a product or process improvement. EQMS access via mobile devices makes this entire process of Complaint Management from capture to improvement visible on the same system.
EQMS access through mobile sits effortlessly with any other office tool. With little to no training, employees enjoy the benefit of working remotely, gaining the ability to view and upload data. Management has the benefit to always view up-to-date data, pull together data from various data points and take quick decisions that can have an immediate impact. A recent Tech Pro study found that 75% of companies either already allow employees to bring their own devices due to the employee availability and productivity increases that follow. Thirty percent (30%) of respondents in a CITO research study said apps improve business processes and 20% said it gave them a competitive advantage.
The task of quality management is never complete. One can create an environment of continuous improvement by measuring performance and setting increasingly higher goals over time, but this can only be achieved in a conducive work environment.