Beyond Compliance – A Quality Management Software That Works for You

March 4, 2024

Written by: Paul Van Metre and David Vuyk

There’s been a lot of buzz lately surrounding the topic of Quality Management Systems (QMS) and how to effectively incorporate your QMS into the manufacturing workflow and achieve certification to standards like ISO 9001, AS9100 or ISO 13485. Very recently, we released a case study that told the story of how Vanguard Manufacturing Ltd managed to start their new company and become AS9100 certified in only two months with the help of ProShop’s QMS consulting services. We also recently released an exciting new documentary style film that followed TK Machine’s journey to AS9100 as well. The common thread in both stories is this: They were able to achieve certification in less time, with less effort, and at less cost than what they had initially expected. This seems to be a common misconception, and so our goal here at ProShop is to correct those misconceptions and ultimately guide people to understand better the benefits and process of becoming an ISO 9001 or AS 9100 certified shop. After all, being certified can open doors to new opportunities, help reduce operational costs, and create efficient workflows that boost overall profitability.

What if the whole reason for your QMS was to make your company function better than it had before? What if the whole idea of certification, audits, and compliance came second to that? These are the questions that help us define what an effective QMS should look like. Unfortunately, many people think solely about QMS in the context of the certification process as a “necessary evil” for being certified. Along with that line of thinking comes a cocktail of misconceptions. Those might include that being a certified shop will make your everyday workflow more complex. Some will tell you that it’s really expensive to achieve and maintain ongoing certification. I’m sure we’ve all been regaled with horror stories of stressful audits and requalifications where teams had to spend nights and weekends painstakingly getting their quality records up to date with accurate data. All of this paints a rather grim picture of regulatory compliance and, by association: QMS. While some of this may be true for some shops, it certainly doesn’t have to be like that. We believe there is a far better way. 

A QMS is ultimately a set of business processes that focus on meeting customer requirements while simultaneously enhancing their level of satisfaction. A QMS is aligned with an organization’s purpose and strategic direction and is a great way to solidify the goals and objectives of a manufacturing organization in a formal and documented approach. For a growth-oriented shop that already has business objectives in place, a QMS will help to align its business process with those goals. 

Yes, this means having documented processes and procedures for how work should be completed each day. That may ruffle some feathers for teams who are used to flying by the seat of their pants, but let me ask you this: Is getting it right something you’d rather leave up to chance? Or is it worthwhile having the discussion to say that there is, in fact, a right and wrong way of doing things? While some might interpret this as adding complexity to their workday, others will see it as just good business practice that contributes to the achievement of consistent quality while reducing chaos and stress.

Many manufacturing companies end up getting bogged down on the initial cost of certification, resolving that the juice will not be worth the squeeze on that fact alone. While it’s important to note that getting certified with ProShop can come at a lower overall cost compared to traditional methods, the even more important topic is the ROI realized by shops that choose to become certified. Certified shops often experience a reduction in operating costs because the business is running on proven systems and processes that make it more efficient. From a sales perspective, certification allows you to engage with a new league of customers to complete higher value work with better profit margins. Further to that, and perhaps a less obvious point, certified shops experience an increase in business valuation providing business owners with a more prosperous exit down the road. The data is incredibly clear: Certified shops running on an effective QMS experience better performance in their businesses and are more profitable..   

And yes, audits can be stressful, but they don’t have to be. Let’s break that down for a moment. Why are they stressful in the first place? Is it perhaps because your QMS and business processes aren’t adequately maintaining accurate and up to date information within your QMS? Are bad habits keeping you behind on the eight-ball, resulting in long nights in the office prepping for an audit? Because ProShop’s QMS is deeply embedded with its ERP and MES modules, maintaining your certification will generally take about 1/2 the time and effort of any other method. Again, ProShop shops are always audit-ready by virtue of this integration. Learn more by checking out this previous blog about “The Zero Prep Audit”.

If you’re bogged down with the inefficiencies of a traditional QMS, or if you’re considering ISO 9001 / AS9100 certification for the first time, here are some important ways in which ProShop can help you simplify the process:

1. Deep integration between the QMS, MES, and ERP
In addition to being paperless: of foundational importance to simplifying your QMS is having it integrated with your Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions. This has been one of the core pillars of ProShop’s architecture since the beginning and serves as the basis to ensure customer success with Quality Management. With these systems working together, you have a scalable system to grow your company upon. Everything is seamlessly connected and up-to-date from procedures to training to non-conformance reports. Some practical examples of this include automatically updated quality metrics and dashboards, as well as easy-to-access pre-filled quality records like RMA’s, NCR’s, and CAR’s as seen below.

2. ASQ-Certified QMS Consulting – Get certification ready!
ProShop’s QMS consulting team can help you pass your audits quicker and with less effort (read the case study or watch the documentary!) Hiring our ASQ-certified QMS consultants to help you become certification-ready often results in getting certified in half the time and cost compared to other systems. Plus, a certification with ProShop isn’t based on a generic template. Rather, ProShop’s embedded database-driven QMS workflows and modules will be the foundation of your certification.

3. Simplified Quality Assurance
ProShop integrates tasks such as in-process checks, first article inspections, and document prep directly into the digital work order. Do you currently spend time on every job meticulously preparing AS9102 forms? Do you struggle with material cert management? Do you have difficulty getting your team to reliably input in-process measurements? ProShop solves all of these common challenges and more!

What our customers are saying:
“So we’ve recently been working on getting AS9100 certified, and if we did not have ProShop I would tell you that it would be unmanageable and that we would not have been able to do it with our old system.” – Jason, Trillium Machine

“Working with ProShop’s QMS team to get our AS9100 certification in just a few months was much less difficult than I thought it would be. We could have never done it on our own.” – Jereme, TK Machine

Quality management and regulatory compliance can be a source of confusion, stress and frustration for too many shops today. We developed ProShopERP from the perspective of the shop floor to simplify these complexities so that your QMS works for you and not the other way around. If you’re looking for a pain-free approach to obtaining ISO 9001, ISO 13485, or AS 9100 certification for your shop, then we want to speak with you today! If you’re looking to transition, update, and simplify your old QMS to make life easier, we’d love to talk about that too. We’re here to help – Book a call today!

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