Updated: Aug 11
Bluestreak Reading Time: 6 minutes
Beyond Basic Excel: Elevate Your Quality Management with Dedicated QMS Software
Using Excel spreadsheets as a quality management system (QMS) can be a feasible solution for small-scale or simple quality management needs. Excel offers basic functionalities for data entry, sorting, and basic calculations, which can be helpful for organizing and analyzing quality-related information. However, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether it's wise to rely solely on Excel spreadsheets as a Quality Management System (QMS).
Complexity: If your quality management requirements are relatively straightforward and don't involve extensive documentation, regulatory compliance, or complex workflows, Excel spreadsheets may be sufficient. However, as your quality management needs grow in complexity, dedicated QMS software solutions provide more advanced features and automation capabilities.
Scalability: Excel spreadsheets can become unwieldy and challenging to manage as the volume of data and users increases. Sharing and collaborating on spreadsheets can lead to version control issues and potential errors. QMS software solutions typically offer centralized data management and collaboration features that are more suitable for larger organizations.
Data Integrity: Ensuring data accuracy and integrity is crucial in quality management. Excel spreadsheets are prone to human error, accidental deletion, and unauthorized modifications. Dedicated QMS software often includes built-in controls, audit trails, and permission settings to enhance data security and integrity.
Regulatory Compliance: If your industry or organization is subject to specific quality regulations and standards (e.g., Nadcap, ISO, API, TS, ITAR, MedAccred), using Excel spreadsheets alone may not be sufficient. Dedicated QMS software can provide templates, workflows, and automated processes to help comply with regulatory requirements and streamline audits.
Reporting and Analytics: Excel offers basic reporting capabilities, but dedicated QMS software often provides more advanced reporting and analytics features such as real-time dashboards, that give a visual overview of key quality metrics and performance indicators, compliance status, non-conformances, corrective actions, and other quality-related information. Users can customize the dashboard to focus on specific areas of interest or track progress toward quality goals.
QMS software enables trend analysis by allowing users to track and analyze quality data over time. This feature helps identify patterns, recurring issues, and improvement opportunities. Trend analysis can be performed on various quality metrics, such as customer complaints, process deviations, audit findings, and more. Customized visualizations such as line charts, bar graphs, and histograms are often used to represent trends effectively to gain actionable insights into quality performance. Users can define report templates, select data parameters, and choose the desired output format (e.g., PDF, Excel). Common types of reports include non-conformance reports, audit reports, risk assessments, performance trend reports, and compliance status reports.
Automated notifications and alerts are also an important feature of QMS software to ensure timely awareness and action, reducing the risk of quality-related issues going unnoticed. Here are a few examples:
Non-Conformance Alert: When a non-conformance is identified and logged in the QMS, the system can automatically send notifications to quality managers, supervisors, or responsible individuals, informing them about the non-conformance and triggering the necessary actions for investigation and resolution.
Escalation Reminder: If a corrective action or preventive action is approaching its due date without any progress or response, the QMS software can automatically send escalation reminders to the assigned individuals or their supervisors, ensuring that the action is not overlooked and prompting timely action.
Document Change Notification: When a document or procedure undergoes revision or updates, the QMS software can send notifications to all relevant employees or departments affected by the change. This ensures that everyone is aware of the updated information and can access the latest version of the document.
Audit Schedule Reminder: QMS software can send automated reminders to auditors and auditees, notifying them of upcoming audit events and providing relevant details such as the date, time, location, and scope of the audit. These reminders help ensure proper preparation and participation in the audit process. Expiry Date Alert: If a critical certification or license (Nadcap, ISO, API, TS, ITAR, MedAccred, etc.), or calibration date is approaching its expiration, the QMS software can generate automated alerts to responsible personnel, reminding them to renew or take appropriate actions to avoid any disruptions in operations.
In conclusion, while Excel spreadsheets can serve as a rudimentary quality management system for simple needs, it most likely is not the most optimal solution as your quality management requirements evolve and become more complex. Consider evaluating a dedicated QMS software option like Bluestreak | Bright AM™ for superior end-to-end workflow control and visibility with integrated quality management functionality.
Bluestreak™ is a powerful Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and a fully integrated Quality Management System (QMS), designed for the manufacturing environment and service-based manufacturing companies ( metal-treating/powder-coating, plating, heat-treating, forging, and metal-finishing), businesses that receive customers’ parts, perform a process (service) on them, and send those parts back to the customer). Companies need MES software tailored to specific functionality and workflow needs such as industry-specific specifications management, intuitive scheduling control for both staff and machinery maintenance, and the ability to manage work orders and track real-time data. If different work centers on the production floor aren’t “speaking” to each other via the MES, the data loses value and becomes disjointed or lost in disparate silos.
Bluestreak | Bright AM™ is an MES + QMS software solution specifically designed to manage and optimize the unique requirements of Additive Manufacturing’s production of parts and powder inventory usage.