In the hyper competitive, rapid-paced world of food and beverage, juggling the various demands of supply chain management in order to satisfy ever evolving customer expectations and instill continued confidence in your products is no simple task. And, the goal of ensuring safe, high-quality finished products while maintaining consistency and compliance becomes an exponentially trickier feat as your business scales. From sourcing the various inputs, to packaging, transporting, storing, and serving/selling the products across assorted locations, the larger the business, the more Critical Control Points (CCPs) that require vigilant oversight.
Frankly, with such rigorous supply chain demands, the only way to ensure quality, safety, and consistency is with the help of an automated platform—namely, an Enterprise Quality Management System (EQMS).
But, seeing as there are several supply chain quality management programs vying for your attention, how do you ensure that you have the right EQMS? Below, we’ll briefly touch upon the key considerations as discussed at length in our eBook, which you can download.
Key Considerations When Choosing A Supply Chain Quality Management System
Digitalization of activities has shifted how businesses approach quality management. Speed and visibility are essential aspects of supply chain activity and quality initiatives need to be threaded and layered throughout every aspect of your business, regardless of industry. That said, the term “quality” is often simply bandied as a substitute for saying that something is “good.”
However, in truth, it’s much more than that. Quality can be defined as a service or product that:
- Customers need and/or want
- Is free from deficiencies and errors
- Is continuously seeking improvement
In 2017, Forbes conducted a global survey of approximately 2,000 quality professionals and senior executives on the correlation between quality and corporate performance. They found the following:
- There’s a direct connection between the success of their continuous improvement or performance excellence initiatives and the success of their organizations as a whole.
- Quality efforts have resulted in increased profitability and have enhanced important key functions across their organizations.
- Quality has a direct impact on profit growth.
Simply put, in today’s day and age, quality needs to be an essential and integral component in your strategy if you are to grow and increase profits. Choosing the right QMS, one that provides supply chain quality management functionality is critical for ensuring success and profitability. But what do you need to be looking for?
The following are four considerations to keep in mind:
What Problems Are You Trying to Solve?
Many businesses make the mistake of looking for a SCQMS that’s chock-full of bells and whistles, instead of one that actually addresses critical problems. By looking for features rather than seeking capabilities that generate real value for your company, you hamstring yourself. Instead of putting the cart before the horse, it’s essential that you take a step back and thoroughly analyze and highlight the problems you hope that the SCQMS can solve.
Today, the most common problems brands struggle with include:
- Incomplete or out of date supply chain master data, information, and documentation
- Too many manual processes
- Too many systems that don’t “talk to one another”
- Lack of quality data for reporting and analytics
- Lack of visibility to record and process status
- Working in a reactionary mode vs. proactive mode
Before you settle on a supply chain quality solution, we recommend that you take the time to identify the various critical business processes that negatively impact your productivity at every stage of the process.
This will allow you to adequately answer:
- Where are we spending too much time on low value tasks?
- Where is my risk and where should I be spending more time?
- What questions am I unable to answer about my supply chain and products?
- Do my suppliers know what is expected?
- What does success look like?
- How is it measured?
You need a technology partner that utilizes business intelligence so that you can identify issues and take immediate and decisive action.
What’s Required to Implement the New Technology?
Since the vast majority of organizations will already have various technologies or legacy systems in place, adding a QMS to your existing environment or switching to a new one is not as simple as “plug and play.” This is why you need a platform that can be implemented in phases, and allows for seamless migration of both records and data formats.
The following are just a few of the questions that you can find in our eBook that you should ask in order to decipher what will have to be done in order to implement any new SCQMS technology:
- What systems will it be replacing?
- Will this occur immediately or slowly over time?
- Do all of your records need to be migrated?
- How difficult will it be to integrate our new system with internal and external data sources?
- Is the new QMS modular, scalable, and built for future technological advances?
Seeing as this transfer of technologies can be a laborious and tedious affair, it’s essential that you find a partner who can address such questions and provide reassurance that you’ll be better off afterwards. So, as you go about the process of finding a new QMS, make sure that your new technology partner has experience handling such issues and that they are providing a solution that is created with the evolving digital future in mind.
Are you operating on a Global Scale?
Globalization has not only provided new markets and opportunities but has also opened brands up to increased risk and complexity.
Consequently, when you take the supply chain beyond your home borders, the equation for success becomes infinitely more challenging. As you become separated by time, distance, language, culture, regulatory differences, and foreign infrastructure, each new factor creates an additional level of uncertainty along the supply chain. According to Milosz Matja, a senior business analyst at Apriso:
In an environment that has become increasingly global in nature, there are more parties involved and less information available at any point in the production process. This makes it much harder to identify, quantify, prioritize and mitigate risk for better decision making. There are three major factors that impact supply chain risk: Increasing supply chain complexity, decreasing access to information and greater need for higher quality faster, all for a lower cost.
Recognizing this, if you are a global brand or a national brand with a global supply chain, you will very likely require special processes and strategies for sourcing, manufacturing, and distributing your products. In addition, you will also need to ensure that quality and safety are maintained despite the fact that there may be differences in foreign regulatory and brand standards.
In order to determine whether your QMS will be boon or bane, ask the following questions:
- What languages are supported by the quality management system?
- Can the supply chain management system support multiple brands or concepts?
- Can it handle different workflows and manage record for different brands, regions, countries, and/or territories?
- Can the supply chain quality management system support my functional and reporting hierarchy differences?
- Is it reliable and robust across different time zones, regions, and countries?
- What devices and browsers are supported by the new system?
Keep in mind that when you find a new technology, you must ensure that it not only fits your needs of today, but can also support you as your needs grow, change, and possibly expand globally.
Are You Looking for a Technology Vendor or a Partner?
Many brands make the mistake of purchasing a SCQMS from a vendor, and then once the transaction is made, their interaction with the vendor is nonexistent. If you want to get the most out of your QMS, you need to enlist the services of someone who’s not simply selling you a good or service but will also become a partner that functions as a seamless extension of your organization.
Your QMS system needs to be an extension of your company, not a one-off product.
Before you partner with a QMS solution provider, it’s vital that you thoroughly evaluate the provider and conduct a rigorous self-analysis as to your own capabilities and resources. You need to be sure this is a match made in heaven.
Questions worth considering include:
- Is there a cultural fit between the two of us?
- Can they fill in gaps by providing resources and/or recommendations where it’s needed?
- Do they have a history of success with other brands?
- Will the technology provider be an active and accountable member in regard to success or failures?
- Can the provider handle our specific needs?
Ideally, you want a partner who can bring the following to your business:
CMX, Your Fast Track to Excellence
These days, if you wish to ensure the quality and safety of food and beverage products, you must take an integrated approach wherein your Supply Chain Quality Management Software (SCQMS) provides end-to-end quality assurance in supply chain management.
At CMX, we can be the supply chain management partner that drives your business towards Quality and Operational Excellence. We believe that choosing a highly optimized, technically sophisticated SCQMS built specifically for your industry is the decisive factor between merely competing and dominating your competition.
If you wish to delve further into this topic, download our free eBook that explains our thesis in further detail.
And if you want to talk to us, our expert team is ready and able to answer any questions you might have about supply chain quality management practices.