We receive many inquiries each week about our comprehensive Quality Management Software (QMS) solution, and every company we speak to has different motivations for investigating the QMS options available in the marketplace. Here are the top five reasons that we hear from companies around the world.
During the manufacturing process, almost all companies have operators or inspectors check and measure key process or key product characteristics. But utilization of this data varies from case to case.
Some companies have their operators inspect the parts, but do not have them write down the results. When measuring a feature, the operator observes the results only for the sake of making a single determination: Is the part good or bad? If it is good, they advance the part through the process; if it is bad, they frequently will place a tag on the part and then quarantine it for review and disposition. When employed in this manner, a precision height gage or micrometer is essentially being (mis)used as a go/no-go gage.
Other companies recognize that the measurement data is valuable, or simply that it is required by their customers. So they have the operator write down the results on paper inspection sheets, which may either include all results, or just max and min results. These are sometimes scanned into a document repository or stowed in a filing cabinet.
One energetic CEO explained to us, "We have a ton of dead data. Measurements are hand-written on paper inspection sheets, scanned to a PDF, and stored in an electronic system, but we can't do anything with the data. Therefore, the data is dead. What we need is live data that we can use to make data-driven decisions." Net-Inspect helps companies do just that, by allowing data to be leveraged in driving inspection frequencies; assessing capability by operator, machine, or part number; and reducing scrap and rework. Which leads us to reason #2:
Companies often know exactly what their scrap and rework costs are for a given week, month, year, etc., because they have been tracking this metric for years in their MRP solution. What companies often do not know is why they have such a significant volume of scrap and rework, and what they can do to reduce it.
Companies frequently find that when they put in initiatives to eliminate scrap, rework increases; and when they implement initiatives to eliminate rework, scrap increases. It's like squeezing a tube of toothpaste: whatever side of the tube you squeeze, the toothpaste moves to the other side. What companies must do is get to the real root causes behind their scrap and rework, and focus on preventing them from reoccurring. This is why companies look for QMS solutions that can capture root causes in real time.
We find that operators know, frequently at the time of manufacturing, exactly why a feature is out of tolerance - they just changed a tool, they just put in an offset, the part wasn't fixtured properly, etc. With Net-Inspect, operators can provide this root cause information at the time of inspection, which helps significantly with root cause identification. Then, using our analytic tools, you can identify when and where these root causes occur and utilize the software as a corrective action. For example, if tool wear is a common issue, then you can add a feature to the inspection plan that reminds the operator to change the insert every 6th piece.
While it may help the environment, companies don't only choose to eliminate paper as part of "going green." They also recognize that paper-based processes are prone to inefficiencies and errors. (Picture a part that is ready for shipment, and whose material certifications are nowhere to be found. Or maybe someone realizes that a first article inspection was required for the part but never completed.) With Net-Inspect, these processes can be captured digitally, and their forms and documentation be accessed from anywhere. A Plant Manager can monitor 3rd shift from their home computer, and when it's time to ship, all electronic documentation is easily accessible and retrievable.
Sometimes, companies are driven to look for a new QMS solution simply because their current system is no longer being maintained. Years ago, these companies either developed their own homegrown software or purchased an off-the-shelf solution that is now no longer supported. In-house solutions frequently reach their end of life when everyone involved in the development and maintenance of the application leaves the company, and no remaining employees know how to support it. As for off-the-shelf installed software solutions, perhaps the developer is sold to another company, and the acquiring company decides they are no longer going to support "legacy" software solutions; or else, they may reach their end of life alongside the operating system that supports it (Windows XP, Windows 7, etc.).
While going through this kind of situation can be incredibly difficult for companies, it does bring to light some of the advantages of choosing a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. With a web-based solution, they can rest assured that the software will be continually maintained and kept up to date, and that its platform won't become obsolete.
Companies value Net-Inspect not only because they can be confident in its continued compatibility and support, but also because it is kept up to date with industry standards such as AS9102, AS9145, and more. (For example, when AS9102 Rev. B was still under development, Net-Inspect began work on the software changes that would be required to support the revised first article inspection report, and released these updates immediately upon Rev. B taking effect. We will do the same as AS9102 Rev. C is being finalized.)
The fifth and final reason we hear from companies is that they want to use a single system for all of their quality-related needs: FAIs, PPAPs, Non-conformance records, SPC, Tool Calibration, Machine Maintenance, Shipment Documentation, Supplier Management, and so on. This not only lets these companies avoid the cost and confusion of maintaining multiple quality systems, but also allows them to easily leverage their existing data in Net-Inspect for all of these activities.
Many companies have used Net-Inspect for several years specifically for generating and sending FAIRs to their customers for review and approval. This FAI data can be used to generate inspection plans and can be hyperlinked to PPAP submissions; there is no need to re-key this information. If, on the other hand, inspection records or FAIRs are currently maintained in another system, Excel import templates are available for migrating x-large volumes of data from legacy systems to Net-Inspect, allowing Net-Inspect to serve as an end-to-end QMS Solution.
Do any of these reasons resonate with you and your team? Contact us today at [email protected] or click the Contact Us button below to learn more about how Net-Inspect can help you implement its end-to-end Supply Chain and Quality Management solution.