6 signs that show your Electronic Quality Management System is not flexible

Electronic quality management system (eQMS)

Recent events like the Covid-19 pandemic have exposed businesses to large-scale disruption. As a result of this disruption, inefficiencies in quality processes and weaknesses in electronic quality management systems (eQMS) have created many challenges for companies. 

While we can’t predict the future, we know that the present is uncertain. Therefore, businesses need to know how to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances and requirements. This situation shines a spotlight on quality leaders, asking them to consider how to bring flexibility to core systems and processes, such as QMS.

A survey found that this is a pressing concern for managers, as nearly 90% of those interviewed confirmed that adapting their practices to the current situation was a top priority.

The ability to adapt and embrace flexibility is particularly critical in quality management, given its nature as a continuous process.

Without flexibility, quality practices become reactive rather than proactive. This often turns quality management processes into disorganised firefighting. That is, instead of using them as tools for strategic improvement.

In this article, we discuss the importance of implementing flexible electronic quality management systems, and we list the signs that show your management system falls short of flexibility.

The importance of implementing an electronic quality management system (eQMS)

One of the reasons why electronic quality management systems are important is because mostly, they offer a higher level of flexibility when compared to manual or disintegrated QMS.

QMS systems that lack integration as well as manual systems that are either partially or fully excel and paper-based often create many limitations.

Moreover, the lack of flexibility can lead to constant error and serious inefficiency.

QHSE management system and QHSE workflows

On the other hand, digitalised systems can have a positive impact on the following areas:

Functionality should be a key criterion for choosing an eQMS. Flexibility is an integral part of functionality, since systems that cannot adapt to changing scenarios become dysfunctional sooner rather than later.

The importance of implementing an electronic quality management system (eQMS)

1. It cannot integrate with other data systems

No business system exists in a vacuum. For optimal efficiency, quality management and data systems must be interconnected.

Lack of integration impacts core business areas. For example, it hinders collaboration within and between teams, since different systems in place produce data that aren’t always consistent with each other.

Poorly integrated systems are time-consuming as a result of inefficient data management. Think of the countless hours spent cross-checking information or file versions. In some cases, more time is spent working on technical issues or resolving communication problems than on managing quality.

Moreover, disintegrated QMS obscures important data. Because of this, it reduces process visibility and creates obstacles to effective reporting, tracking and monitoring quality processes.

2. You’re still using spreadsheets, paper-documents and emails

With emails, excel and paper-based processes, communications can’t be observed in real time. As a result, teams can easily miss out on crucial insights that could help improve overall quality management.

Relying on printed documents and paper-based communications presents two additional challenges.

Firstly, storage limitations translate into accessibility issues. Simply because there’s only so much information that can be kept on-site at any given time. And secondly, they constrain staff to being physically present in the office to carry out their duties. As well as that, communicating across emails means often leads to loss of data in threads of emails.

3. The system cannot be accessed offline

Quality systems that lack offline and mobile capabilities hinder the smooth running of operations. For example, this rigid approach causes delays in obtaining electronic signatures. In addition, it slows down approvals, data retrieval and reporting.

Since information cannot be relayed in real-time, companies that operate in remote areas are at a special risk of operational failure. 

Quality management in marine engineering

This applies to the offshore sector, to engineering projects in remote areas, and to any industry that has adopted hybrid or remote work.

4. Reporting, tracking and monitoring quality is too complex

If these tasks are becoming increasingly complex or hard to handle, chances are your QMS lacks the flexibility that comes from modern electronic systems. Fragmented data across multiple manual and IT systems leads to poor record retention. 

In turn, this prevents effective tracking, monitoring, and reporting key metrics, in which gradually erodes process and system efficiency. Without competent reporting abilities, it is near impossible to maintain quality standards. Simply because, managers cannot oversee any hinderance without any visibility into process overview.

5. Your eQMS cannot adapt to new requirements

In the current context, where remote or hybrid work are becoming the norm, organisations are being pushed to invest in software development that integrates with their electronic quality management system. This process can take between 6 and 12 months, by which time new requirements could arise that render the software inadequate.

In some cases, companies retain their existing software, but developers need to make modifications. If a quality management system isn’t flexible, they won’t be able to create customised features that solve important pain points.

6. Your organisation is constantly failing audits

An eQMS is obviously not working if the company repeatedly fails audits, or if they bring up long lists of non-conformities and quality issues.

Audit failure is the cumulative result of all the issues mentioned in previous paragraphs. From lack of integration to poor communication and limited accessibility, they all play a role in poor audits. Also, it highlights the risks involved in not infusing your quality management processes with flexibility.

How Kianda eQMS can help

Kianda eQMS platform is built around the concept of flexibility-by-design. The platform helps industry leaders to enhance quality and compliance through features and capabilities like:

In addition, automating custom quality processes can help your organisation ensure it approaches quality management proactively and adapts to the requirements of an increasingly complex supply chain.

As an added bonus, Kianda supports and expedites the process of digital transformation and adaptation to industry regulations.

As a flexible no-code process automation platform, Kianda makes the process easier, and up to ten times faster, while at the same time increasing productivity and embedding continuous improvement in quality management processes.

Kianda QHSE quality management form

Overall, Kianda facilitates the smooth flow of information between multiple systems. This can enrich organisational vision, make operations more robust and more compliant, and help ensure your department or company is future ready.

To learn more about Kianda’s flexible eQMS, talk to one of our experts today.