Businesses have over the years embraced technology as a way of increasing efficiency.

But, many managers have missed the immediate opportunities that are available by adopting better methods of quality and compliance management.

There are emerging best practices in quality and compliance management, which if effectively deployed can lead to sustainable competitive advantages for a business.

Business leaders sometimes have a limited view of compliance as a cost center offering limited return on investment. However, meeting and exceeding customer and stakeholder expectations can unlock levels of competitiveness and brand equity that are hard to imitate.

Here are 6 benefits of deploying better quality and compliance management practices.

Improved Data Management

Modern, platform-based quality management enables organization’s to consolidate and co-locate data from internal and external sources. This is especially important for businesses that have grown by acquisition where vendor, product, and purchasing information is located in different systems.

Platform-based tools connect the end-to-end business value chain which accelerates the speed of data and insight. This is important for auditing sites efficiently and collecting documents from vendors. It also helps ensure that records are up to date and that obsolete documents don’t remain in use.

Designing the system involves asking what data needs to be collected and identifying the metrics used to manage operations and outcomes.

More Powerful Visibility

Platform-based quality management centralizes information and creates a “store room” for documents that makes information accessible across the business regardless of where team members are located.

Centralized data management removes information silos and makes it easy to find data and establishes a “single source of truth.”

Another way that a modern quality management system enhances visibility is collecting  detailed product information from suppliers. This includes specs about the product, components (or ingredients), materials- including packaging.

Increased visibility into product specifications can support decision making about improving quality, and reducing costs, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

A modern quality and compliance management system helps take guesswork out of decision-making.

Increased Productivity

Many businesses waste time and resources trying to find information. Automating how information is collected, managed, and analyzed creates value by increasing the productivity of employees.

By automating standard processes with software, quality and compliance teams can manage on an “exceptions” basis. This enables a small team to manage compliance for thousands of products and vendors.

Software automation makes it easier to respond to changes in regulations, standards and brand requirements as they continue to evolve.

Streamlined Corrective Actions Management

The days of managing compliance with spreadsheets have passed for enterprise businesses. This includes the corrective and preventative actions (CAPA) process.

Outdated quality management systems make it hard to manage CAPA corrective actions quickly and thoroughly.

A modern quality management system extends automation for CAPA which makes it simple to create and manage actions in line with non-compliance issues.

Modern systems easily integrate with ERP and manufacturing systems to automate processes from end to end.

Financial Savings

Part of improving quality and compliance management is advancing from spreadsheets to more capable, integrated systems of checks and balances.

By automating data collection and report generation, the organization reduces common human errors that can be the cause of costly mistakes.

Modern quality and compliance management also involves looking at areas of waste in  manufacturing and finding ways to minimize scrap, rework and recalls.

Savings from these improvements can be re-invested in the business or passed on to customers through more competitive pricing.

Consistency in Operations

Consistency in operations is a goal for manufacturing businesses. A modern quality management system is a foundation for consistency for how a business produces goods and services.

When consistency is established and maintained, errors are reduced, customer complaints minimized, and the business can make accurate forecasts on production, sales and business growth.

A foundation of consistency enables continuous improvement efforts, creating a virtuous cycle that supports an increased company valuation and a stronger organizational culture.

The business can then target areas of potential improvement knowing that a culture of excellence and consistency already exists.

It’s a Compelling Business Case

The case for organizations to invest in modern quality and compliance management is compelling.

And, traditional methods of quality tracking using spreadsheets are no longer effective for businesses today.  There is simply too much information moving too fast with many dependent connections to be made for humans to manage it without the aid of platform-based software automation.

A modern approach should have robust capabilities to collect information quickly, in real-time from sources inside and outside the business organization.

The platform should enable business users to be more aware and understanding of the areas they manage and increase their productivity.

And, in the event of (inevitable) change in the business environment, the users should be empowered to make changes and updates to the compliance settings and rules that help them govern.

And, for the IT teams that support the product and compliance teams, a modern approach includes robust capabilities for data security & protection, system integrations, reliability, scalability, and user and device enablement.

So, while the list of requirements is long, in the long-run, a business moving to a modern approach will create significant benefits including better visibility into issues, proactive issue resolution, reduced delays and faster speed to market, savings on waste, rework, and warranties, increased consistency in operations, and improved manufacturing and sales forecasting.