I often speak to quality leaders and other executives who boast that their paper-based quality management system is “perfectly sufficient” to meet the needs of their business. I just nod and smile because I anticipate that I will be hearing from them (in a panicked state) in the very near future when they realize the limitations of a manual QMS.
Janet Woodcock made headlines (again) by discussing the possibility of a quality rating system to aid transparency in her recent blog. But the devil is in the details when it comes to ratings for a site’s quality maturity.
I am frequently in meetings with quality leaders and regulatory experts where I find myself wishing I could share some part of the conversation or findings with a broader audience. Something about the current state of affairs, best practice or just a really eloquent description of a pain point and how they are managing.
After supporting more than a hundred eQMS implementations in my role as head of Operations here at ZenQMS, I have observed that the conversion from a paper-based to electronic quality management system (eQMS) can be either painful and cumbersome or quick and easy. The determining factors seem to be centered on the ‘health’ of the business’ quality processes- especially those related to document management and training.
Over the course of the past twenty years, I have steadily reduced my reliance on paper items, eliminating checks, airline tickets, maps, personal calendars, pay stubs and files, freeing me to function with only a laptop and smart phone. And yet, many of the Quality Departments I work with, from various high-tech industries throughout the world, have not yet embraced new technologies. They still rely on inefficient manual paper systems to monitor the performance of their process. Why the avoidance of modernity?