An eQMS has a lot of potential to improve compliance, support your quality team, and protect company revenue, but whether or not it meets that potential depends on the system you choose and how you use it. Not all eQMS platforms are created equal – nor should they be! Every company has different quality needs. That’s why it’s important to shop around, watch live demos of the product, do your research, and ask questions.
If it’s your first time buying an eQMS, it can be tricky to know which deep-dive questions will help uncover the true functionality of a system. That’s where the list below comes in.
When you’re vetting an eQMS, keep two major things in mind: It has to match how you handle quality and it must be intuitive for your team. That’s why in Part One of our “How to Vet an eQMS” guide we’re focusing on configurability and ease-of-use. During your next demo or sales call, use the questions below to understand if it’s the right platform for your team.
Questions to ask about configurability
A configurable eQMS means you don’t have to adjust your quality processes and workflows to fit into a rigid system – the system flexes to fit you. This is going to save you a lot of headaches down the road when it’s time to implement the eQMS and train your employees on it.
The problem is that a lot of eQMS platforms say they’re configurable, but some are actually more rigid than they let on or charge a hefty fee to customize their modules to your needs.
To figure out if the platforms you’re vetting are truly configurable, ask them the questions below. Keep an eye out for answers that suggest you’ll have less freedom to set up your ideal workflows than you think.
- How would my existing paper process work in your system? Can you create a mock-up of my current process live on this demo?
- What steps in your modules are absolutely required? What can I not take out?
- Can I easily configure my own categories of documents or are they predetermined?
- How are permissions managed around each process? Are they global permissions or specific to each process?
- Can I change the fields of each process once they’re locked?
- Does a user have to retrain on a document multiple times if that document is in multiple courses, or can I change those settings?
- Does an author of a document need to train on the document they authored?
- Can I be selective about which documents I share with auditors?
- What are the different user access levels? How easy is it to adjust these permissions?
Question to ask about ease-of-use
If the eQMS platform you choose isn’t easy to use you can guarantee your team will simply… not use it. And that defeats the purpose, don’t you think?
But what does “easy to use” actually mean? Don’t just take the sales team’s word for it; ask them the questions that will prove if the system is as simple to learn and navigate as they claim:
- What does the experience look like for the general user?
- How easy is it to train a general user? How long does it take?
- What does training look like?
- What’s the percentage of time I should expect an admin to spend on managing a system?
- What percentage of your clients that were here last year are still there?
- Can I access a quick overview of company-wide training compliance from the home screen in 5 clicks or fewer?
- Can I easily delegate required items to other employees if I am out on leave/holiday?
- Can outside training certifications or credits easily be added onto the dossier within the system?
- Does a new SOP revision automatically launch/require retraining?
- Can I upload as many documents as I want into the system?
- Can you upload a document live on this demo?
- Can any type of document be uploaded into the system?
- How do I export my documents from the system?
- Are there differences between general/”lite” users and full/”super” users? What are the limitations and costs?
There are plenty of fish in the sea eQMS platforms on the market, but how do you find your perfect match? From features to pricing, we cover best practices for comparing and choosing the right eQMS in our free eQMS 101 eBook.