In international competition, 88 percent of German companies focus above all on the "quality" factor. This was the result of a joint survey of the DGQ (German Society for Quality) (DGQ) and the IW (Cologne Institute for Economic Research). On the other hand, less than half of the companies surveyed use professional quality management systems, according to a study by Proxcel GmbH, a management consultancy.
This is likely to change soon, because demands are rising due to growing cost pressures, higher customer expectations, and the increasing level of globalization. Globalization in particular presents companies for example with the challenge of dealing with varying international standards. And these can prove to be moving targets. For example, all ISO 9001:2008 certificates will expire in September 2018. Recertification in accordance with current standards entails, among other things, complying with stricter requirements concerning documentation and process reliability. Quality management systems are able to assist with the process of establishing and documenting operations management across all departments. They are a central component of proven methods such as the continuous improvement process (CIP). And they are a central tool for meeting compliance requirements.
COSMO CONSULT’s quality management is a fully integrated system that supports complex process structures. The goal is to document all the measures to ensure and improve the quality of the process. In addition to document and workflow management, the quality management manual should therefore also belong to the standard set of tools.
The foundation of the quality management system is the Microsoft SharePoint portal solution - either running on its own server, in hosting mode or, in the near future, as a cloud service of part of Office 365. You can install quality management as an add-on almost with the click of a button. More servers or infrastructure components are not required. COSMO CONSULT quality management is certified for the SharePoint code analysis framework (SPCAF), and thus for the compatible with future system updates.
COSMO CONSULT’s quality management system provides support with your business processes and makes relevant documents and data available wherever they are needed. You benefit from transparent, comprehensible documentation of all changes and events - right through to final archiving. At the same time, you are ensuring that processes, approvals, and publications all run according to the norms set and comply with the highest audit standards.
SharePoint is highly scalable and is based 100% on Web technology. As a result, your employees have flexible and secure access to all relevant content - from different locations, from their home offices or on the road via mobile devices. It is also easy to extend your quality management processes to external partners or suppliers.
The success of a quality management system depends on the guidance given to users. Complicated solutions requiring a high level manual effort do not usually achieve the required user acceptance. Therefore, the user experience is exactly tailored to the special needs of quality assurance: Your employees can see the entire document history at a glance and all the important information about it. Icons, menus, and processes are largely self-explanatory and intuitive. Special skills in dealing with SharePoint are therefore not required. Another plus is that multiple languages are available: German and English are included in the standard version, and other languages can be easily added. This language aspect and its web technology, means that COSMO CONSULT’s quality management is predestined for use in the international environment across multiple locations.
COSMO CONSULT’s quality management includes many master data elements. These correspond to the current "best of practices" in quality management. The same applies to the countless lists on standards, document types, and processes. However, in practice the requirements may differ from sector to sector. In addition to this, proven company-specific operational processes are an important competitive advantage for many businesses. You can therefore flexibly adjust the quality management system in all areas. Specifically, you can implement particularly frequent changes in input masks, processes or lists using with the standard tools included. This is even usually possible on the fly. As a result, you are able to respond quickly and flexibly to new requirements.
In quality assurance, it is important that every processing step can be retraced. COSMO CONSULT’s quality management system thus meticulously documents each event along the workflow.
Each new document is based on a template - for example, for Word, Excel or Visio. A unique document number is generated at the same time to ensure clear identification. The mandatory document file is securely linked to all new documents. It is also automatically created by the quality management system. It lists all relevant items from the document history. These include approvals, changes, or related documents, for example. During audits, your employees are thus able to retrieve all the necessary information at the push of button. This preserves transparency for approval processes and the entire historical development.
Automated workflows ensure transparency, take burdens off your staff and move processes forward automatically. The workflow management system automatically forwards document files after processing, or, if the employee responsible is sick or on vacation, it looks for alternatives according to pre-defined rules for substitutes. At the same time, you can keep up with the current status, without becoming active yourself.
The workflow engine comes with pre-configured workflows as a standard. These include above all processes that run the same way or at least very similarly in many industries. A classic example is the typical approval process, which is fully supported by the workflow management system from the start of processing, through all reviewing steps, up to approval.
Your processes are unique? That is what we thought. For this reason, you can customize the workflow of COSMO CONSULT’s quality management system without having to do any programming. The included examples provide a good basis to start saving time. A graphic editor guides you through the individual steps of the process. In this way, you put together your workflow practically with just clicks of the mouse. You assign tasks, establish rules and define who will be informed by email and when. And you do detect an error or the process falters, you can determine who is supposed to play the role of "fire brigade".
Nothing lasts forever in quality management. Documents are only relevant as long as the underlying process remains unchanged or no other relevant events occur, such as changes in laws or regulations. Assigning dates is an effective means of keeping an overview of the collection of various documents and revising them in timely fashion. You assign a validity date to each document. COSMO CONSULT’s quality management system reminds you via email in due course when it is time to make decisions. You can then initiate an update to be followed by an approval process, or delete the document from the library. In this way, even when extensive collections you can maintain an overview and keep relevant documents up to date..
Reports are very important, for example for keeping track of capacity, durations, or upcoming events. With the quality management system of COSMO COMSULT you have direct access to the standard views of Microsoft SharePoint. Features such as grouping, sorting, and filtering help you to adjust the perspective and scope of evaluations to meet your needs.
Experience with reporting systems is not required. All-important options and commands are self-explanatory and can be quickly learned. And if the standard tools of SharePoint do not meet your needs, the data can be exported with just a few clicks, to Excel for example. With reporting, you can quickly acquire an overview of the most important information about quality management and, if necessary, you can also go down to the smallest detail.
The documents can be found in the same context in the quality management system. With COSMO CONSULT’s quality management system, such relations can be represented clearly. You can link documents in question without having to copy files. This way you avoid redundancies, keep only one document up to date, and do not have to guess which version is the latest.
A list in the document file shows you what other content is linked to your document. A click on one of the links takes you directly to the respective file. This way you can intuitively learn to deal with material and quickly gain an overview. Stable links ensure that the connections between the linked documents are preserved - even when a document has been modified and re-saved.
The quality management system of COSMO CONSULT saves each document - with all supplementary information - in a common document file. This applies first until the validity period expires. If the validity date is exceeded, and the document is no longer required for operational purposes, the time for long term archiving has arrived. An optional additional module then stores the documents in a revision-proof manner in accordance the latest tax and regulatory requirements. In doing so, not only national, but also international regulations are taken into account. You can continue to search in your documents, but you can no longer change them.
Do you already have a system for long-term archiving? Don't worry, you do not have to switch. The quality management system can connect to existing archive and document management systems. Your documents thus continue to be stored in the usual place.