The time has come for connected enterprise quality management (EQM) — a pervasive, cross-enterprise, and integrated approach to quality management. Quality is too critical an initiative, according to our survey data and conversations with manufacturers, to be kept in its own silo, separate from design, engineering, supply chain, and manufacturing.
Whole product and organization quality, inclusive of engineering efficacy, supply chain, manufacturing process, and service information, is the focus for global manufacturers today. This entails bringing together different points of quality data from the organization into the systems where action can be taken, whether it's supplier quality in supply chain planning, ERP, and PLM systems; process quality information in MES or PLM systems; or product quality information in service life-cycle management (SLM) and PLM systems. Why is there a need for a unified approach to quality across the enterprise and value chain? There are multiple industry challenges driving this, including the following:
- Complexity: Complexity of product, demand, and supply, leading to higher potential of quality issues
- Speed: Speed to market and speed to update products that have quality issues
- Competition and new markets: Global expansion and competition, which means you better have your products right first time, sourced from reputable suppliers and designed and modeled for optimal performance and customer experience
- Continuous innovation, customization, and personalization: Increases the potential of errors because of the constant tweaks to your products and new development
- Value chain expansion: Need to have resource and process control of the extended value chain of designers, suppliers, and partners
- Regulatory compliance: Need to validate that regulations are complied with - customers will quickly disconnect from the brand based on an adverse event
- Data: Enormous increase in the amount of data that can fuel innovation and improve product and process quality
There are three key areas to consider when incorporating an EQM approach to managing quality across products, operations, manufacturing, supply chain, and service:
- Embed quality information into relevant systems for rapid consumption and action. This includes a constant feedback loop into PLM, the supply chain, MES, and manufacturing operations management (MOM).
- Leverage 3rd Platform technologies and innovation accelerators for a unified view of quality. Analytics is the decision support mechanism for maintaining good product, process, and operations quality. Cloud architecture enables more rapid consumption of quality data; internal and external social networking can be used for real-time determination of issues and to expedite changes that need to occur.
- Establish quality as the bridge connecting processes across the organization. This includes connected products, connected manufacturing, connected supply chain, and connected service that exist at many manufacturers today. This chain is connected via a digital thread on which flows a consistent stream of quality data.
We’ll continue to research and write about the critical need for quality information throughout the enterprise over the next year and beyond, including the upcoming IDC PlanScape: Planning for Enterprise Quality Management. As always, I welcome your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.