Long before the days of quality management software — or software in general, for that matter — Lucille Ball famously demonstrated some of the potential pitfalls in manufacturing.
The “I Love Lucy” scene in question placed Lucy and Ethel in a chocolate factory to oversee the wrapping portion of the production line. As truffles careened down the conveyor belt, our heroes simply couldn’t keep up with the quickening pace, and were forced to shove candy in their pockets, hats and mouths to prevent them from reaching the floor. It was a hilarious situation for most viewers at home, but a legitimate nightmare scenario for any plant supervisors or assembly workers tuning in.
Quality assurance, as with countless other job duties, was an irksome, drawn-out task before technology intervened. It was far easier to let inefficiencies (e.g. production is too fast, chocolate is missing) go overlooked or unaddressed, causing a domino effect into lost revenue and fractured client relationships. Unfortunately, many companies today likely succumb to these issues even with technology on their side; and in the words of Ricky Ricardo, have some splainin’ to do to shareholders, customers and employees when the chocolate hits the figurative floor.
Well that simply won’t suffice. To help the manufacturers and suppliers of the world perfect their processes and curtail troublesome incidents, we’ve introduced the Quality Management Software (QMS) category. Now, verified professional users can review QMS tools they use in their workplaces, and others can leverage these reviews to choose the right solution for their company. Then they can write reviews and help the next batch of buyers, and so on — like its own assembly line, of sorts.
The QMS category includes products that help analyze inventory in relation to specifications, take note of trends or changes, and identify proverbial holes in the boat that need plugging. When there’s a report of defective goods or other complaints from customers, managers can go through records and pin down the underlying circumstances, whether that be a glitch in the machinery or a rogue employee having an “off day” (à la Lucy).
In addition to these general documentation features, QMS tools often serve as knowledge bases for industry-related quality standards and regulations, such an environmental impact, sanitation and packaging. Together with governance, risk and compliance software, manufacturers can stay informed on best practices and take the necessary precautions to avoid a major hiccup. They can also keep employees up-to-date — a number of QMS products provide training toolsets to educate the crew on process updates or how to prevent various types of issues.
According to our research specialists, who determine the requirements for each category on our site, in order to be able to be included in this new category, a product must:
- Provide a database for incidents and inspection details
- Store information related to quality standards and regulations
- Assist with corrective measures for quality issues
- Integrate with ERP, PLM or other software critical to production
There are currently 23 products in this new category, only seven of which have reviews as of December 22, 2017. Tools of this nature can go by other names, such as manufacturing quality or EQMS (electronic or enterprise quality management systems).
Let’s check out a few of the products in this new space.
MasterControl Quality Management System
MasterControl’s complete quality management solution helps users stay compliant with regulations while bolstering the quality of their output. The developer offers specific modules for different industries, such as pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing, and the primary software has extensive features such as batch records, deviations management and food safety. Some variation of MasterControl has been on the market since 1993.
“We are monitoring all of our documentation and bringing up to quality standards. Packets make it easy to start making edits to documents also. Highly recommended to companies wanting a simplified and more direct way to make edits to documentation.” — MasterControl review from Whitney K.
Layed out based on the size of your business: Mid-to-large (more than 50 employees) or small business (less than 50 employees). You can request a quote on the MasterControl website.
Batch Records, Deviations Management, Risks & Mitigations
Significant ROI, Minimal IT Resources Required, Scalable, FDA 21 CFR Compliant
Plex Manufacturing Cloud is advertised as a unified ERP and manufacturing operation solution. In addition to quality management, Plex features include inventory management, production management, human capital and suppliers and purchasing. The software is also “infinitely scalable,” according to the website, and promises enterprise-class data security across the spectrum of use cases.
“It has solved material planning problems. We now have components on time. We now have a good relationship with our suppliers because we are not hounding them for components. It has a supplier portal, which has solved supplier issues. It has given us the ability to forecast our customer’s needs. Plex has taught me so much about our business. It has solved problems with functionality. I love it.” — Plex review from anonymous user in mechanical or industrial engineering.
Inquire with the vendor.
Secure Cloud ERP, Supply Chain Traceability, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) for Automotive, Security and Data Protection
Versionless and Always Current, Unified Database, Unlimited Users and Devices, No Delays
Greenlight Guru Quality Management Software
Designed specially for use in the medical device space, Greenlight Guru describes its solution as a “connected quality ecosystem” that connects the many disparate processes of this particular industry for optimum compliance and consistency. The main feature of the software are grouped into three categories: Design control, document management and risk management. In addition to the platform itself, Greenlight Guru offers access to experts that help with product implementation and consultation related to the regulatory process.
“The GG team goes out of their way to help us meet our business objectives. They are knowledgeable in the regulatory and quality management space and are always trying to improve their software and user experience.” — Greenlight Guru review from Ryan S.
Inquire with the vendor.
Design Control, Document Management, Risk Management
Designed for Medical Device Industry, End-to-End Traceability, Streamline Team Communication, Follow FDA and ISO Best Practices
It’s only the beginning for this important new category on G2 Crowd, and the number of featured vendors and products will undoubtedly increase as developers act to add their own solutions and make their presence felt. At the same time, increased reviews from users around the world will bring heightened transparency to the market and allow the cream to rise to the top. Reviews are an invaluable form of quality management and we’re proud that our 300,000 approved reviews have helped thousands of businesses make quality-based buying decisions.
If you’ve used any of these QMS products and feel strongly about your experience, feel free to write a review on the product listing. Once we have six products with more than 10 reviews, we can create a Grid® to show the leaders in the category. Category Grids® are a cornerstone of our unique review marketplace, bringing the data from reviews to life and allowing the cream of the crop to be easily recognized. In short, the more reviews that appear in a new software category like QMS, the more transparent the buying journey for others like you. With your help we can ensure your fellow manufacturers don’t let the chocolate hit the floor, in all manners of speaking.
QA professionals should be sure to check out these quality assurance management techniques as well.
* Please note: Reviews have been edited for spelling and grammar.