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Key Questions to Ask Your QMS Software Vendor

Contributors: Susan Shockey

Selecting the right Quality Management System (QMS) can play a key role in the long-term success of a quality organization. Often, organizations can rush to implement systems without considering the long-term implications of their choices. In other words, organizations need to evaluate whether a system that will work in the short term is sustainable for long-term growth. As organizations grow, it’s important to invest in a sustainable QMS that can meet increased demand over time. Before selecting a QMS, here are three key questions to ask your QMS software vendor.  

Questions to Ask your QMS Software Vendor

1. Is your QMS easy to use?  

One aspect of evaluating a QMS is the ease of use. Is there sufficient training in place for users to familiarize themselves with the QMS? Is the QMS easy to navigate without convoluted steps or instructions?  

As organizations move toward hybrid work environments, the accessibility of the QMS should be considered. Evaluation of security and login procedures should be performed to ensure that users have access, no matter whether they’re in the office or using a virtual private network from home.  

2. Is your QMS robust? 

Another aspect to consider is whether your QMS integrates with other systems. Integration of systems is a key aspect of a robust QMS. If systems can integrate with one another, your organization can grow in terms of functionality using one comprehensive system rather than multiple systems. 

Are you investing in a QMS that can connect and retrieve data from other systems? Is the QMS robust enough to perhaps replace systems that you already have in place?  

Consider the system(s) you have in place for batch release, deviations, change controls, and corrective and preventive actions. Are they integrated to the point where they talk to one another? For example, when you’re reviewing a batch record, are you able to quickly view any associated deviations or change controls within the same system? Or do you have to access multiple systems to retrieve comprehensive data about one batch? Integration and connectivity within systems will not only save users time but, it also helps in gathering data to report metrics.  

Another point to consider is whether your organization outsources production. Communication with vendors via a robust QMS, rather than email, is ideal. Vendors often exchange large files that can be limiting via email. There are also security concerns with email. If files are accidentally sent to an incorrect recipient, confidential information can become compromised. A robust QMS has an audit trail that enables the retrievability of user functions. It’s also possible to set up alert notifications that inform you when recipients have retrieved files. If organizations work with more than one vendor, a secure portal for each vendor can be achieved with a robust QMS.  

3. Is your QMS cost-effective? 

Budgets play a big role in everything organizations seek to accomplish. A robust QMS that can grow with your organization may cost more than an alternative solution with less functionality. The question organizations must ask themselves is, would you rather invest more money now on a QMS that can go the distance, or invest less now in a less comprehensive solution that may be limited in functionality and will need several costly upgrades?  

Organizations may opt to implement a quick and easy solution for each departmental function. Over time, this option becomes less sustainable. As production increases and organizations grow, the lack of a robust QMS will become a hindrance. The money that was saved early in the process will now be utilized to implement a comprehensive and sustainable QMS 

Selecting the Right QMS Solutions 

There are a plethora of QMS solutions available today. As you talk to QMS vendors, be sure to keep these three key questions in mind: Is it easy to use? Is it robust? Is it cost-effective? Clarkston Consulting can help you select and implement the QMS that is right for your organization. Reach out to us today. 

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Tags: Vendor Selection & Advisory, Quality Management Systems