Intangible Benefits of Quality Management Systems
How does one give value to something that is not easily seen? For starters, it’s important to understand that in a successful company, there are many elements that contribute towards success. An intangible benefit is not measured for its financial impact, but rather its broader impact – how it affects the people, culture and values of the company. Some of the primary benefits of this ilk that can be realised through a well-run QMS include the following:
1. Accountability, Transparency and Recognition
Those who run quality management strategies can be thought of as ‘gatekeepers’ who guard the many actions and tasks of the quality system. This could be a closed-loop system or something more open. CAPAs (corrective and preventive actions) are monitored to ensure that they are completed on time, audits are scheduled and run, and various other tasks are kept in order too. In a world where there was no software system to offer an objective, automated way to guard all of these tasks, the gatekeeper would be far more of a nanny who would have had to manually chase each incomplete task to ensure that it is done on time. With a system in place however, the gatekeeping process provides a completely accountable and transparent way to track all actions, from employee competency to non-compliance, audit results and corrective actions. Recognition can be provided without emotion or human interference, and monitoring becomes purely transparent as each action is tracked until it is completed. As such, the opportunity for non-compliance, favouritism and emotive response becomes smaller when audits and other tasks are performed.
2. Facts and Evidence vs Blame and Egos
Instead of the blame game and other ego driven responses that would arise from a non-automated audit for example, the focus is placed squarely on facts and evidence. This allows performance to be substituted for process, with non-compliance managed in a structured fashion, investigations and root cause analysis done according to process, workflows to be automated and processes to be driven and recorded formally and then preserved in a way that resolves any potential blame games and disputes. Actions are determined on stated findings and root cause, after which they are resolved accordingly.
3. The Value of Time
While time saving can be seen as a financial advantage, it has many additional benefits too. In a sense, you could look at a QMS as a memory of the company and its processes, actions and completed goals. Being able to report, search, investigate, document, review, create, approve and meet regulation and standards with the help of the various tools used within the quality system allows time to be managed as well as tracked. Having all past information available when needed to track progress, tracking versions of important documents that have changed over the years, being able to compare audits from then and now and have a simple system that understands the value of time cannot be over-estimated. The bottom line remains an important focus area, and of course, improvements that directly affect financial growth will always be vital. Remembering these additional less obvious benefits however helps to remind you that at the end of the day, the value of a good QMS will continue to provide benefit throughout all aspects of business – in more ways than you realise.