Ensuring Food Safety with Quality Management Software

Food safety characteristics have a very close connection to food quality characteristics, and while all food safety characteristics relate to quality, not all food quality characteristics relate to safety. Food quality, according to Alli (2016), relates to ensuring that products meet the established requirements for food characteristics. Garvin (1987) describes eight dimensions for measuring the characteristics of food quality: performance, features, reliability, conformance, durability, serviceability, aesthetics, and perceptions. Food safety, which relates to the characteristics that have the potential to be harmful to human health by causing illness, falls under the performance and reliability dimensions of food quality. Food safety characteristics are therefore specific kinds of food quality characteristics.

By recognizing that food safety and food quality have an integrated relationship, organizations can bring quality methods and tools to bear on the difficulties of navigating food safety regulations in their FSMS (Food Safety Management System). With food supply chains now … Read more...

The Benefits of FMEA & QMS Software in your Organization

FMEA studies can require a huge effort. For complex processes or product designs with a multitude of systems and subsystems, you can easily end up with hundreds or thousands of failure modes.

Enhancing your Quality Management System (QMS) software with an FMEA application will enable you to store and manage risk-related information, and easily relate risk reduction to quality events for maximum benefits. In addition, you can:

  • Streamline data collection, risk assessment and reporting across sites and facilities
  • Eliminate duplicate data, improve sharing and communication, and significantly reduce study time
  • Deploy active notifications based on built-in risk reduction policies and threshold limits
  • Reducing costs through improved risk management processes, including more effectively identifying and addressing failure modes
  • Provide real-time access to corporate quality performance metrics
  • Create control plans and control plan templates to follow through

In Intelex’s latest video, “Effectively Mitigate Risk with Intelex’s FMEA Software!” we show you … Read more...

Demonstrate Risk-Based Thinking to Auditors

The auditor is coming, or will be coming, to evaluate your organization. While continuous improvement and compliance helps, there are things that you can do to make the auditing process go much more smoothly (this applies to internal audits as well). Preparation doesn’t start the week before, it starts the minute you implement a quality management system or prepare for ISO 9001 certification. You need a systematic approach to audit reporting that begins with core management principles, training, traceability, and credibility.

Because risk-based thinking is more prominent in ISO 9001:2015 than in previous versions of the standard, many organizations are wondering how to demonstrate how they do it to auditors. Fortunately, most activities in the domain of quality management, if successful, serve to reduce risks. The key is to keep track of how your efforts relate to risk.

Here are five actionable recommendations to demonstrate risk-based thinking to auditors :… Read more...

Did You Know That Customer Complaints Can Be a Good Thing for Your Business?

Surely, it’s a bad thing when a business receives customer complaints. If the customer isn’t happy, then there must have been a poor interaction and we need to do everything we can to make the customer happy as quickly as possible, right?

Well, not so fast. While it’s true that no one likes to hear about customers being unhappy, it’s also true that customer complaints are very valuable learning opportunities. When customers tell you why they’re unhappy and what you need to do to make things right, they’re giving you important information about how to fix your processes and design your products to improve and enhance the overall experience for all your customers. With the broad availability of technology making consumers increasingly knowledgeable about what they want, enhanced customer experience and satisfaction is set to become the best way in which businesses can differentiate themselves from their competition.

However, collecting, … Read more...

Drive Engagement in Quality and Safety Management with the Help of Technology

“If only I could get my organization to a state where our quality culture is embedded as a norm in every leader, contributor and partner. This would alleviate our constant trouble-shooting and reactive-stance dilemma. We’ve invested, stopped to ‘sharpen the saw’ multiple times, and while we have seen initial improvements, it’s very challenging to sustain.”

“We’ve made all the right ‘traditional’ moves by putting in place a mentoring program, defining accountability, consulting stakeholders, holding events, providing support and putting training programs in place. It seems though, that we experience diminishing returns and even I can’t remember the last time I took notice of the multitude of posters (some of which I sourced) dotted around the workplace.”

Sound familiar? If you’ve said it, thought it or heard it, maybe it’s time to think differently about quality culture and, more specifically, engagement in the context of quality and/or safety management. Engagement is … Read more...

How Risk-Based Thinking Can Have a Significant Impact on Brand Equity

By Nicole Radziwill & Sonduren Fanarredha

For an organization to deliver high-quality products and services consistently, it must be able to create and sustain long-term value. An organization’s brand therefore consists not only of its name, but also its logo, its overall image and how it is perceived. “Brand equity” is the additional value a brand acquires because of its reputation or prestige in the marketplace. Brand equity takes time to build and, since it can have an impact on buying decisions over time, it is a significant part of an organization’s brand recognition and value. Losing this equity because of brand damage can also have far-reaching negative consequences.

As powerful as it can be, brand equity is also fragile. There are many forces that can threaten it, including:

  • Industry environments that are more uncertain and competitive.
  • Consumers that are increasingly empowered and have a stronger idea of what they
Read more...

What is Data Governance and Why Do You Need It?

Improving product and process quality requires that organizations make data-driven decisions about when, how much, and how often to adjust aspects of operations.

This means the data has to be available and accurate! Unfortunately, information often is siloed, living in Word docs and Excel files, and although that data might be on a publicly accessible network, finding it and knowing whether it will meet your needs can be impossible.

Busting silos and encouraging collaboration facilitates systems integration and leads to better decisions — ones that save time, money and effort while capturing valuable opportunities for growth and improvement. A solid plan for data governance — strategic, high-level planning and control for data management tasks.

A data governance framework essentially is a quality management system for data. Setting one up is an essential part of planning for Quality 4.0 for large enterprises or other organizations that are drowning in data.… Read more...

Quality Architecture in SPC & FMEA: Use Strategic Systems Thinking and Core Tools to Get the Outcomes You Want

Even though most businesses have invested in quality management and performance improvement, each organization is unique. People, processes, and machines must be coordinated to achieve desired outcomes. This is not easy! Whether you’re in discrete manufacturing, a process industry, or a service environment, it’s likely that you face challenges like:

  • Variability in customer satisfaction and experience
  • Resource constraints that impact quality and performance
  • Inconsistent and/or inefficient processes
  • Availability, reliability, and timeliness of information for decision-making
  • Effectively prioritizing tasks and activities
  • Organizational silos that reduce the speed and quality of decision-making

Furthermore, you may have more visionary goals like promoting sustainability throughout your environmental, health, and safety functions (NAEM, 2016), or promoting sustainability in the supply chain. (NAEM, 2018) It’s hard to pursue these things when there are problems getting in the way of customer satisfaction, occupying the time of your managers and your staff.

Quality management is not just about … Read more...

What’s Your Quality 4.0 Strategy?

In ISO 9001:2015, quality is the “degree to which a set of inherent characteristics of an object fulfils requirements.” (3.6.2) Quality 4.0 describes the technological innovations that will help us more quickly assess compliance and customer satisfaction and optimize business processes through systems integration — whether the object we’re working with is a process, a product, a person or an intelligent software system.

Quality 4.0 systems are:

  • Connected— electronic, networked, and capable of communicating in real time with people and systems.
  • Intelligent— autonomous, reactive, proactive, social and/or adaptive to new data or new environmental conditions.
  • Automated — able to carry out instructions with or without human participation.

As a result, Quality 4.0 strategies emphasize real-time visibility, intelligent decision support, and improved communication — between people, systems and machines.

For example, Nikon’s recently announced Quality 4.0 strategy focuses on real-time measurement: improving and automating measurement systems, automating inspections and … Read more...

Uncovering Opportunities with a Risk-Based Mindset in Quality

Quality management is more than it appears to be. While many see it as being about meeting specifications and creating processes that don’t fail, it’s also about enhancing performance by helping people and machines work together more easily and efficiently. Sometimes this means putting controls in place to prevent losses and waste. At other times it means identifying opportunities for improvement and growth. Knowing how to act on those opportunities comes from managing risk.

Risk is not simply the potential for negative outcomes. It’s really the effect of uncertainty on outcomes. Organizations are exploring risk every time they engage with the idea of uncertainty or try to anticipate anything that could prevent them from achieving their objectives. When organizations make decisions that put them closer to their goals, they are successfully engaging with, and addressing, risk.

Risk therefore considers the uncertainty in both threats and opportunities. Risk-based thinking can be … Read more...