SharePoint isn’t a quality management system (QMS), but many companies try to use it that way. That works up to a point, and after that point, SharePoint doesn’t scale with an increased pace of manufacturing, hiring, or regulatory compliance.
Outgrowing SharePoint isn’t a bad thing. If SharePoint no longer delivers the information you need in terms of processes, workflows, and quality events, it means your company is succeeding in other areas. Trying to force SharePoint to work for you can result in diminishing returns.
The next step up from using paper and spreadsheets is to take all your spreadsheets and move them into SharePoint. In addition, you might start asking your personnel to create all future files as record types in SharePoint itself. These may include: controlled documents, libraries, forms, procedures, policies, and more. In addition, SharePoint can capture corrective actions, external audits, and regulatory actions.
We can create nearly every kind of quality record or document as its own library within SharePoint. This feature is beneficial for an organization, but problems arise when users want to try something more advanced.
One problem is when you can create all of your quality documents as SharePoint records, it becomes difficult to pull individual records to ensure best practices are met. If users aren’t filling in every field or if the information they are providing is insufficient, then record quality could degrade before you notice.
That is a flat system. While it is possible to drill into SharePoint records and find all the files related to a single audit, the process is challenging and time-consuming because those files are stored next to all the other audit files. It is even more difficult to check timestamps on when the audit files were created to understand how long it took the audit to be resolved.
In other words, if you want to answer some useful questions, such as “how long does it take for us to perform an audit, and are we improving over time,” it is going to take a considerable amount of work to acquire a small amount of useful data.
Because SharePoint makes it challenging to collect granular data in a short time, many analytics possibilities become difficult. That means important events, such as decreased supplier quality or increases in customer complaints, could theoretically happen right under your nose. By the time you dig out this information, the consequences may already have been felt as lost sales or damaged reputations.
A robust QMS solution provides the kind of analytics that quality needs—with the ability to integrate into SharePoint. This allows you to keep using it for day-to-day operations.
With a feature-complete QMS solution users can quickly ingest quality data and output reports and visualizations that spotlight trends involving audits, nonconformances, customer complaints, supplier quality, and more. And for those of you who are (or work with) SharePoint hardliners, Strategic can help integrate the QMS with SharePoint so that they work in tandem.
Leaving paper in the past for quality management and turning to SharePoint can at least create a searchable repository for records, but it cannot provide other features which allow advanced QMS users to respond proactively to quality issues.