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Managing Defects with SAP Quality Management

For many years, SAP Quality Management (QM) sat in the background of the ERP and ECC landscapes without pomp and circumstance. Basic inspection, lot results recording, and lot disposition activities captured the bulk of SAP Quality Management functionality. Some companies leveraged automatic defects recording (when a result was found out of spec) coupled with the Quality Notification function to investigate defects, assign actions, and determine root causes. Other companies chose to keep the defects investigation process out of SAP in favor of manual processes, or, with the advent of modern quality operations systems, utilize other technologies to handle this. 

Within SAP, many different notification types can be generated to document the various types of issues that may present themselves not just those for out-of-spec situations. For example, SAP comes with standard out-of-the-box notification features for Customer Complaints, Complaints Against a Vendor, and Internal Problems. Users can even create notification categories for other key activities in the Quality space such as CAPAs, Deviations, and Change Controls. The notification functionality allows users to track and trend all known issues, determine which tasks to perform, assign tasks to individuals, and alert them of tasks assigned to them through their workflow. The challenge here is to develop a simple and effective solution that doesn’t make a mountain out of a molehill. As stated, this enhanced solution has now been available for years.   

SAP Quality Issue Management (QIM) and Nonconformance Management 

SAP has captured more interest in this space by introducing Quality Issue Management (QIM) and Nonconformance Management. QIM was introduced after the launch of S/4HANA and is a sleeker, more user-friendly, and intuitive tool that allowed users to take advantage of the mobile platform and increase defect visibility. Basically, Nonconformance Management took the QIM functionality and advanced it to simplify defect creation and logging. Imagine now being able to record a defect the moment a problem appears in the warehouse. The problem can quickly and easily be logged using a mobile device. Additionally, Nonconformance Management allows users to scale the investigation process accordingly. With a simple “Record a Defect” Fiori tile, users can record a defect without referencing a specific inspection lot, operation, or characteristic. If a detailed investigation is needed, then a full Quality Notification process can be initiated using an 8D problem-solving approach.   

Fiori and S4/HANA have made information easily accessible through dashboards and at-a-glance reporting with drill-down capabilities. Though there are a few standard out-of-the-box reporting tiles in Fiori – such as the Quality Engineer Overview and the Inspection Lot Detailed Analytics – the Query Browser allow businesses to define whatever additional reports they would like to see, improving both decision-making and overall quality processes. 

Managing defects effectively is critical to the success of companies as they strive to maintain customer satisfaction, patient safety, and regulatory reporting guidelines. SAP’s capabilities in this space are strong, effective, and can be scaled accordingly. If a separate, standalone Quality Operations software solution is not in place, SAP can satisfy a business’s Quality Defects recording and investigative processes while providing the visual dashboard reporting capabilities that keep this information visible and easily digestible.  

To learn more about managing defects with SAP Quality Management, reach out to our SAP experts today. 

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Tags: Quality and Compliance Technology, Quality Management Systems