A recent report from leading research firm Aberdeen Group says too many small and medium sized manufacturers are relying on outdated and inefficient paper-based methods to run their quality management. The result is lower productivity, significantly less visibility into product development, and increased likelihood of making a mistake that can alienate a customer or raise the wrath of a regulatory agency.
Quality management affects many aspects of the manufacturing process. It monitors materials and parts usage from the supply chain, it supports regulatory reporting, and it often is a key aspect of a process audit trail. When some parts of product development are automated (such as design or Bill of Materials generation) and other parts are not, it causes an inefficient workflow that slows down important and timely inquiries, and it makes it more difficult to document the full spectrum of product development.