The Client: A Premier Robot Design and Building Company

Overview

Headquartered in the United States, the client is a premier high-tech equipment design and building company. This high-tech company serves a wide spectrum of customers with its products ranging from home appliances to military and policing.

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Solution

To improve performance in a closed loop manner, the client deployed MetricStream Quality Management Solution with applications for Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA) management, Non-conformance Management (NCM), compliance management, supplier quality management, quality audit management, and Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA).

MetricStream CAPA Management Application enables companies to streamline their CAPA processes across the enterprise. It provides end-to-end exception and change management capabilities to help companies capture problem data from anywhere in their operations, conduct investigations to determine the root cause, manage interim containment action items as well as long-term corrective and preventive actions, and enable verification of the effectiveness of a CAPA to ensure that the problem is resolved effectively.

The solution allows the client to electronically issue corrective action requests to suppliers without requiring the supplier to log into the system. Each supplier simply needs to fill out forms and email them back to the company. The software automatically uploads the data into the database, and combines it with the reporting and metric tools to enhance the company’s supplier monitoring efforts.

The solution streamlines and links NCM, CAPA, deviations, production yields, and material return processes and data. Its unique combination of a broad-based Enterprise Compliance Platform and specific functional modules that support individual quality processes, unify enterprise-wide quality operations.

Product non-conformance is managed with MetricStream Non-Conformance Management Application coupled with MetricStream Compliance Management Application that encompasses industry standards like ISO 9000 to ensure quality and product reliability.

MetricStream Non-conformance Management Application enables companies to establish and follow consistent procedures across the enterprise for materials or processes that do not conform to the desired specifications. The solution supports the identification, evaluation, segregation, and disposition of non-conforming material, as well as case investigation and tracking, leading to the CAPA process. It supports organization specific standards as well as industry standard 8D methodology. It also provides end-to-end exception and change management capabilities to help companies capture problem data from anywhere in their operation, conduct investigations to determine the root cause, manage the entire CAPA process, implement changes, and ensure that the problem is resolved effectively.

The powerful analytics and non-conformance reporting capability with graphical dashboards help track each case from initiation to closure, providing complete real-time visibility into the quality system.

MetricStream applications for supplier quality management and RMA were used to further fortify the quality process. The quality audit management application was also implemented to facilitate process and improvement audits.

The established applications will serve as an integrated and robust enterprise-wide framework to collect, distribute, and analyze quality data throughout the internal organization and supply chain with Web-based access for employees as well as suppliers.

Challenges

While managing quality across its internal enterprise and wide network of suppliers, the client faced a number of challenges, including:

  • Short product lifecycles: Due to the innovative nature of the company, new product offerings are a regular feature. The client does business in a market where it strictly ought to comply with quality standards so as to meet high levels of excellence demanded by customers.
  • Inefficient manual processes: The client’s existing quality processes had manual and inefficient methods of managing and tracking audits, non-conforming material, corrective actions, production yields, material returns, and deviations. Non-conformance reports were not automatically generated by the client’s contract manufacturer. The link between the non-conforming material database and the process of initiating corrective actions was manual and weak. All approvals were done physically and all data gathering required additional manual steps. Deviation forms were generated by contract manufacturers on paper, and forwarded to the client for evaluation and completion which, in turn, involved further paper-work. Monthly reporting of quality metrics was time consuming and inconsistent.
  • Decentralized system: The client’s decentralized Quality Management System (QMS) enabled audits using separate forms. Data from each of the audit areas was maintained and managed separately. This made it difficult to schedule, conduct, track, and report audit details. The ability to analyze results across audits, and recognize overall issues was non-existent. The ability to report metrics was manual and very limited. Duplicated entries made it cumbersome to build checklists, and find and backload data.
  • High costs: The client’s existing QMS significantly increased the Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ). A quality management solution providing real-time visibility into the system was required. Establishing an integrated, automated, and closed loop corrective action process was also a necessity to eliminate issues arising from various supplier sourcing activities.

Benefits

  • Enterprise-wide visibility:
    The client achieves end-to-end integration of quality management across operations with real-time visibility into quality processes, remediation, and other tracking metrics.
  • Improved communication across functional areas:
    The single integrated suite of applications based on MetricStream GRC Platform provides clear information across business processes, supporting continued improvements, and fostering stronger collaboration with suppliers and contract manufacturers.
  • Accelerated auditing:
    The time spent by auditors preparing and managing audits is reduced by automating activities such as checklist preparation, reporting, and documentation of corrective actions.
  • Simplified corrective action management:
    The solution allows the client to electronically issue corrective actions to suppliers.
  • Greater availability:
    The solution allows contract manufacturers to easily access the system and create deviation reports, NCM reports, return material forms, and requests for corrective actions.
  • Better reporting and analytics:
    The search, retrieval, and reuse of data becomes easy and quick with the MetricStream solution. It also allows for more powerful data analysis and data trending.
  • Improved system performance:
    The MetricStream solution simplifies the measurement and reporting of overall system performance and all other process areas within the QMS.
  • Lower compliance cost:
    The cost of regulatory compliance is lowered with the help of time-stamped audit trials and electronic records and signatures.

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