If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. That’s what they say isn’t it? Well, I wanted freedom, to learn to be more carefree and explore places I’ve never seen. That’s why I decided to take the trip of a lifetime and travel to Europe this summer. Upon my adventure I learned that we all have journeys (whether for work or play); however, it isn’t necessarily about the outcome. It’s more so about what lies in the journey ahead and how you handle it.
When we first landed in Italy (not speaking Italian might I add) it was a bit intimidating. However, we found that everyone was very nice and extremely helpful. It’s hard going to an unfamiliar place and not having any prior personal experience or knowledge about what to expect. Since every individual’s experience is different you can’t base your own off of another person’s.
I found that my European adventure can very well be related to an organization’s search for a Quality Management System (QMS). When you’re first getting started on a new journey, things are exciting and you’re ready for anything to be thrown your way! But then—after an hour and a half of traveling in the blazing sun and high 90s heat, trying to find your way— your patience is tested. The same goes for selecting the right QMS for your business. You must be prepared.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a few traits to look for when selecting an effective QMS.
A Centralized Location for all Data: Just like it was important for me to stay organized on my journey, it’s just as important for a business to be organized. You must prepare for the unexpected. The QMS provides you with a centralized location for all data, ensuring that your information is organized and can be retrieved at the click of a button. This capability allows for better decision making and provides greater visibility into what is going on across your organization. Sometimes, an organization may not know exactly what traits it needs the most. One of the benefits of a QMS is having a solution that is able to offer all of the right elements that will configure common business tasks like Document Control, Corrective Action, Training, Audits and more. Overall, it helps you stay in control and provides you with visibility into all of your processes.
A Process to Help Manage Risk: Whether traveling abroad or implementing a QMS, you need to prepare for any possible risks. For my trip, I was prepared for rain—I brought a poncho in the event I would get stuck in a storm with all of my belongings on me. Luckily it didn’t rain. I also made sure to keep my money separated and in safe compartments where I would not have to worry about it. I also Googled what the terrain would be like and what shoes to pack. Comfortable foot wear is a must when backpacking! My companions and I made sure to travel safely, locking up our things, never leaving stuff unattended and always carrying our passports with us for the most part. In doing so, we were prepared for these risks.
For an organization, Corrective Action and Risk Management work together to form a critical piece in identifying, filtering and resolving adverse events. Some adverse events cannot be completely avoided and that’s expected, but with these tools you will have a better idea of where your risks are, whether there are trends in risks across your enterprise and the possible outcome of each risk, so you can act appropriately for each situation. These capabilities are important because without a method to identify risk, an adverse event can become detrimental to an organization or its consumers. The QMS ensures that, even if there is an adverse event, you will be back on your feet as quickly as possible.
Flexibility to be Yourself: In Europe, I was able to make the trip my own, by picking and choosing the places I wanted to see most. I was on my own agenda—and every now and then plans had to be adapted. Having no unyielding plans meant the ability to make the trip my own. Flexibility is a trait that is also seen in the most effective QMS solutions. You shouldn’t have to adapt to the QMS—an effective QMS will adapt to your unique processes to reflect your businesses true “personality.” Flexibility in a QMS encompasses many different things. It is the ability for the software to conform to your company’s business practices, essentially molding itself to the way your company does things—instead of the other way around.
Room to Grow: Any time you travel somewhere previously unknown to you, you gain new experiences, a new perspective, and, in the end, this contributes to personal growth. While the meaning is a bit different in the business world, growth is an important factor and a QMS that can support this is key. Companies need solutions that will allow them the ability to stay ahead, while growing along with the business. When looking into QMS solutions, take into account the level of scalability of the system. QMS software should operate in a scalable environment, which will enable the system to grow in proportion to your business—ensuring that you never outgrow the software. Modular systems are highly scalable as each piece of the software expands to accommodate additional users and locations.
As I learned in Europe, it’s okay to take chances, but you must be sure to do so with caution, and have a plan in place in the event that anything goes wrong. Luckily for me, I did my research beforehand and was prepared to take on the journey ahead of me. In the end, being organized and foreseeing possible risks (and preparing for them) helped make my trip a success.
Applying these traits to the QMS, along with flexibility and scalability, will help ensure success for an organization that has just begun its quality journey…and make the process a bit easier.