Today’s businesses face tremendous pressure to bring products to market quickly. In an intensely competitive global economy, companies must identify unmet needs, develop new innovations, adapt their products quickly, and make new goods and services available as soon as possible.
Software-based products and tangible goods with embedded technology are notable for the speed at which new variations must be brought to market, compelling companies across virtually all sectors of the economy to innovate and execute with agility. Companies must manage software and firmware updates, as well as coordinate customer support.
At the same time, products have a shorter lifespan than ever before. Price and performance pressures demand continuous improvement. Consumer expectations are higher than ever, often calling for unique variations to suit the preferences of individual customers.
To bring products to market quickly while ensuring high quality, organizations need tools to help them coordinate an increasingly complex array of activities across product management, product design, and quality assurance. With a unified approach that integrates Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) with an organization’s Quality Management System (QMS), companies can improve collaboration and efficiency throughout their entire value chain.
The Problem with Siloed PLM and QMS Systems
Quality management and product lifecycle management often go hand-in-hand, but responsibility for these two domains generally falls to different departments. That means they typically operate as silos unto themselves. When companies implement QMS and PLM without integration, it can lead to disjointed business processes and poor communication. Design processes may fail to incorporate feedback from QMS, and quality assurance may suffer because of limited visibility of information held by the product team.
By connecting PLM with QMS, the entire organization benefits from better visibility of relevant information, smoother and more efficient workflows, and increased business agility.
PLM provides a framework for managing a product’s lifecycle from its initial inception, through design, manufacturing, sales, service, and eventual retirement. A good PLM system will provide a single source of truth for product requirements documentation, engineering specifications, supplier content, CAD files and drawings, quality KPIs, bills of material, performance testing plans and data, and more.
PLM touches upon business processes and data that are managed within a myriad of other systems, including CAD software, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). Perhaps the single most important touchpoint, though, is QMS.
By integrating QMS with PLM, organizations get a single, comprehensive view of their products – with better collaboration, timely and accurate communication, automated workflows, and holistic analytics. That results in better quality and faster time to market.
Extending quality throughout your entire business
By integrating PLM with QMS, organizations can level up to a closed-loop quality system, extending the quality function throughout the entire product lifecycle and to the business as a whole. The result is that quality becomes integral to the way the entire organization operates, from product design to manufacturing, all the way through to customer service and support.
PLM is the system of record for product design, bills of material, change management, and revisions. QMS is concerned with things like non-conformance, complaint management, root-cause analysis, and risk mitigation. By feeding information back to the PLM system from QMS, an organization ensures that valuable feedback is available to drive improvements in the revision process or in new product development. Learn more about how these 2 systems can work together in this video.
Integrated QMS and PLM ultimately also enable a cultural transformation in which organizations embrace quality from an entirely new perspective. That has much broader ramifications, including employee satisfaction, productivity, worker safety, and more. To get there, leaders must be intentional about making that cultural transformation happen, – but integrated QMS and PLM systems provide a foundation that contributes to its success.
Intellect QMS and Duro PLM: a perfect match
For over two decades, Intellect has helped hundreds of customers achieve quality excellence with our flexible, intuitive, cloud-based EQMS solution. Our platform’s extreme configurability means quality management teams get exactly what they need to operate effectively and efficiently, with unified analytics, automated workflows, and mobile apps for anytime/anywhere access.
Intellect has partnered with Duro to provide an integrated PLM and QMS offering to our mutual customers. Duro’s PLM software is built around the same user-centric, intuitive, cloud-native design principles that have made Intellect so successful.
Together, Intellect and Duro are proving the benefits of integrated PLM and QMS. Bellwether Coffee, one of our common customers, has implemented both solutions, including our PLM/QMS integration. Today, data flows seamlessly between the two domains, providing a unified view of the product lifecycle without the manual effort that was previously required. Members of Bellwether’s quality team now have access to the product data being managed in CAD and ERP, and they are able to fully participate in change approval processes that happen on the PLM side of the fence.
With a closed-loop quality system in place, Bellwether can shift the cost of quality to the left, where costs are significantly lower than when quality issues emerge later. By focusing on the cost of quality (COQ) rather than addressing the cost of poor quality (COPQ) after the fact, Bellwether is saving money and increasing customer satisfaction.
If you’re already using Intellect and would like to learn more about our integration with Duro, please reach out to us. If you’re looking for a holistic solution that combines best-of-breed cloud-based QMS and PLM, contact us for a free, no-obligation appointment. We’d love to hear what your company is working on and discuss how we can help.