Quality has never mattered more than it does today. Brilliant manufacturing technologies are raising the bar on what can be accomplished, and customers have access to information about product quality they’ve never had before. Advances in measurement technology are making perfection a realistic goal.
At the same time, the cost of poor quality grows daily. Penalties for noncompliance are skyrocketing, and exposure from litigation over defective products is at an all-time high. It’s no wonder corporations are working so hard to infuse a culture of quality throughout their organizations.
To many people, the idea of a “culture of quality” is ethereal at best. It’s a topic for company off-sites and training Zooms and a popular subject for keynote speakers and consultants. A 2020 article in Quality Magazine talked about the need for leadership commitment, employee ownership, and organization-wide continuous improvement, and asked the question “Do employees ‘live’ quality in all of their actions?” These open-ended questions are essential at the strategic level for managements to get a handle on what quality looks like from the top. But culture emerges from the behaviors of the people who do the work. Practical applications of processes and tools have a greater impact on how organizations manage quality than loosely sketched ideas handed down from on high.
Calibration Management: Where the Rubber Meets the Road
That’s why calibration is one place where the rubber meets the road. To consistently measure output quality, you must have accurately calibrated measuring instruments, and you must effectively manage the data around how, when and by whom your instruments are calibrated.
That seems at first blush like a specialized discipline that only a small handful of people in an organization need to understand, and that’s largely how most calibration software providers approach it. They sell complex products that require expensive training, and they charge you extra to add seat licenses to implement the system in multiple sites or departments. By doing that, they effectively shut the door on your plans to involve your whole team in managing quality. That’s not by design, it’s simply a by-product of an outmoded sales model where software vendors capitalize on your need for flexibility to feather their own nests. You want to add more people to the system so you can be more effective? Well, that’s gonna cost you.
That’s not how it should be done. Your calibration software should open up possibilities, not force you adapt your processes to their rigid workflows. You cannot build a culture of quality on calibration management tools that don’t uphold a rigorous commitment to quality themselves.
Six Principles That Fuel a Culture of Quality
Here are six fundamental software principles you should look for when building a culture of quality in your organization:
Having disparate platforms in different locations or departments is a major drag on your cultural effectiveness. But when you have an executive dashboard that gives you centralized control of all your calibration data, you can easily infuse uniform procedures for calibration, records management, audits, training and compliance in all your sites across your entire organization. Most products that offer this charge outrageous add-on fees and seat license costs. You should look for products that don’t leverage this against you.
Software platforms that are accessed via limited seat licenses, that require formal training to use, that charge you for upgrades, or allow their user interface to become dated are inherently non-sustainable. So is software that requires you to invest in servers or computers that will eventually wear out or become obsolete. Likewise, any software that can only be operated by a select few trained employees. Truly sustainable software eliminates the burden of maintenance, the cost of training and the threat of obsolescence.
- PROCESS PORTABILITY
Process portability is one of the most important enablers of quality culture. In today’s mobile, work-from-anywhere business environment, you have to have calibration management tools that untether your people and let them manage gage data from anywhere, anytime, on any device, including their own.
Many compliance violations and quality disasters are caused directly by a lack of available manpower to manage the data that underpins your calibration program. Those resource deficiencies are frequently the result of the limits placed on your calibration management team by single-seat software licenses that can limit your ability to collaborate. Effective calibration solutions not only eliminate silos and boost productivity, they loop in auditors, calibration vendors, suppliers, and managers at all levels so that the responsibility for quality is distributed flexibly throughout your organization. Without collaboration, it’s hard to create any kind of intentional culture.
Innovation happens when the tools you use don’t limit what you can do. If you have an idea to improve workflows, enhance measurement technologies or give access to data that will boost productivity and quality, you don’t want to be held back by data management technologies from the previous century. Being able to pivot and adapt is one of the keys to maintaining a culture of quality in any situation (like a pandemic, for instance).
- COST OF QUALITY
Your calibration program can play a significant role in managing quality costs. The right platform, used correctly, can enable you to be audit-ready 24/7. More importantly, making accurate, timely calibration data available to everyone who needs it, wherever they are, whenever they need it, means a much greater chance of avoiding costly internal and external quality failures, and makes preventive maintenance easier to schedule and record. But a software platform that limits access to critical data or takes time away from hands-on equipment maintenance can directly contribute to a waste of time and materials and even to catastrophic failure.
GageList is the only calibration software that effectively promotes a company-wide culture of quality.
Built on years of research and customer experience, GageList offers highly differentiated features that are changing the calibration management landscape:
Unlimited Users on all accounts at no extra cost, so your growth and flexibility are not constrained by expensive seat licenses.
Mobile app for iOS and Android that lets your unlimited users manage gages from anywhere, anytime, on any device, even without an Internet connection.
Multi-site control panel that gives you centralized control of all your GageList accounts in all your locations.
Public API that lets you integrate GageList with your major operating platforms.
Simple user experience – so simple and intuitive you can sign up and start managing gages within minutes.
Highly rated customer support at no cost. You’ll be in good company; our family of world-class customers includes the most innovative companies on the planet.
If you would like to learn more about how GageList can help you build a culture of quality across your organization, please contact our Support Team or call us at 281-816-7130.