Top 10 Reasons to Automate Manufacturing Compliance: Continued

Based on an original whitepaper by Louis Columbus

In the last blog in our series about automating manufacturing compliance, we discussed how an automated compliance system can support process efficiencies that improve and sustained customer satisfaction, a culture of quality and more comprehensive supplier audits.

We will now look at strategies surrounding corrective and preventative action strategies, supplier ranking systems and utilising a compliance system of record.

Reason 4: Develop a Comprehensive Corrective and Preventative Action Strategy

Compiling accurate records of corrective actions is crucial for maintaining a good quality system and preventing the re-occurrence of defects. It is important to have a closed-loop mechanism for initiating, implementing and verifying the effectiveness of changes that result from the non-conformance process. Some problems may only need a simple resolution, which may be closed in an exception or non-conformance record, whereas other types of problems may require the exception to be attached to an issue or action plan to complete the investigation. Early awareness of potential problems prevents escalation and saves corporate dollars and possible litigation. Additionally, integrating corrective action with other aspects of a quality system maximises the use of all information in the decision process.

Reason 5: Create and Post Audit Benchmarks on Supplier Portals

One of the best strategies for creating and sustaining competition between suppliers regarding quality is to post their relative performance on portals and internal websites where all suppliers can see who is excelling, who is staying at a constant quality level and who is falling in terms of quality.

Since the analytics required for quickly producing these ranking supplier reports usually come out of Microsoft Excel (requiring an inordinate amount of time to manually generate), manufacturers are turning to quality software (i.e., ECQM systems) to automate the reporting process. Manufacturers need to look at automating reports so that they can be quickly generated, published and used for fostering higher levels of product quality from suppliers through competition.

Reason 6: Create a Compliance System of Record

When manual processes dominate the quality management process workflows of a manufacturer, it is common to find disconnected or isolated systems. Manufacturers that rely extensively on manual workflows often have an anaemic, fragmentary compliance system of record.

The majority of the fragmented data records are in PC-based database systems. For any manufacturer to realise the benefits of pursuing quality management strategies, there needs to be greater integration across the many fragmentary databases, data sets, historical performance data, supplier audit results, non-conformance history and corrective-action reports. Once these are organised into a single compliance system of record, the manufacturer is able to effectively define and execute quality management strategies. The successful manufacturer must have a system of record that can be used to measure progress. The compliance system of record, which is the cornerstone of quality management systems, is critical for setting benchmarks for supplier, production and process performance.

Automating your quality management, as we have discovered via this blog, does not simply impact the compliance aspect of your products and processes; it puts in place comprehensive practises and action plans that will help your business to operate at its optimum.

We’ve discussed how cataloguing corrective action plans can safeguard your company against issues surrounding defects and recalls. This blog also outlines how automated quality systems speed up the generation of supplier ranking reports, which fosters competition on quality rather than simply price. We also looked at the value of a compliance system of record and the value of integrating your manufacturing systems.

Stayed tuned for the final blog in our series which will tackle engineering change notices, process improvement, competitive differentiation and government regulation.