When scaling is required or necessary, SaaS is a Super Hero: Quality Pro Series #5

Douglas C. Fair
By Douglas C. Fair | February 13, 2018
Chief Operating Officer

Welcome back to the blog series written specifically for you, the quality professional. In the first blog of this series, we talked about how you can apply your statistical process control (SPC) analysis holistically across your plant and your enterprise. In blog two we discussed data collection and how shop floor data can be rolled up across production lines and products to provide a “macro view” of quality. In blog three we discussed the critical role that operators play in your quality system and why it’s crucial to support your operators in shop floor data collection efforts. In blog four we discussed how you can get your customers, auditors, and management the information they need, when they need it, and in a format they can use. 

And, finally, in this, our fifth and final blog of this series, we’ll look closely at scaling your quality solution—whether up or down—in a simple and effective manner.

Why scaling?
The number one reason that companies scale operations is that they want to extract the most savings and see the most benefits from their operations—via their quality system—in the shortest amount of time. Makes sense. As we’ll discuss, scaling is also necessary to support company growth and success. But scaling is also used for downsizing during off-seasons when things slow down, and accommodating common business fluctuations like seasonal or holiday rushes.

When it comes time to scale (up or down), companies with traditional on-premises software usually rely on the help of IT. And, as we all know, IT teams are among the busiest people at most organizations. The mad scramble to purchase additional hardware, add databases, find or install new network drops, etc. is compounded by the fact that the busiest people are enlisted to take care of it. And it takes so much time.

Let’s say you’ve got 12 new production lines to add to your operations. Getting the servers and databases in place, making sure everything is connected to the network, installing the software—these things take time. A lot of time. Months, if you’re talking about a bunch of new lines. And therefore you might not see the benefits for a year or more.

Scaling is too important to be dealt with in this manner. Quality information coming from the shop floor is too critical to be dealt with in this slow, old-fashioned way.

SaaS saves the day
Scaling is simple and incredibly fast when organizations are armed with Software-as-a-service (SaaS) products. Using SaaS, there are no servers to purchase, no more installing of software and no database software to buy. None of that up-front stuff. All you need in order to ensure that you’re getting the shop floor data you require is a connection to the internet and a device with a browser—a laptop, a tablet, or even a mobile phone. And it takes no time at all.

SaaS is the perfect solution for scaling. SaaS is your superhero. SaaS takes the pressure off IT, saves massive amounts of time, is incredibly fast to deploy and ensures that the information you need to improve your operations is available to you anytime, anywhere, and from any device. Cue the hero music.

Enact® is SaaS at its best
Scaling across your production lines in a single plant is easy. What about scaling across your entire enterprise? Let’s say you’ve just finished scaling across 12 production lines in plant 1…your SaaS solution is working great in that one plant. Now you want to make sure all five of your plants are covered. Sixty production lines seems like a lot, but SaaS makes distance and physical proximity problems disappear. 

The InfinityQS SaaS solution, Enact, is designed to make deployments fast and scaling easy. Enact offers part recipes and process models that can quickly and painlessly be deployed across multiple production lines, across multiple plants—even if they’re making different products. You don’t need to create unique reports or data collections at each plant or rebuild them in order to scale across your enterprise.

Enact’s time-saving and reusable features
Process models and part recipes work together in Enact to illustrate your organization’s unique manufacturing operations. Process models depict how materials are utilized to create an end-product and where data collections are performed to verify your product’s quality. These highly visual, handy tools can be created, combined, and reused to represent how you make your products across different manufacturing lines, departments, and sites.

Using a process model can help you dig into and analyze your manufacturing processes. Once deployed, the process model understands which operations and materials result in certain outcomes or issues, taking that headache and guesswork out of your operator’s hands. Your operators are freed from tedious tasks and can spend more time performing their primary work duties.

Because SaaS scales so rapidly, your organization can very quickly see returns—the cost benefits and defect reductions—from your quality system. And as I mentioned at the outset, companies want to extract the most savings they can and see the most benefits from their operations in the shortest amount of time possible.

Scaling to need
Here are a couple of additional examples of scaling. Let’s say you’ve been a one-plant operation for years. Your company immediately doubles in size by purchasing a second plant. But that second plant uses a different quality system. You need standardization so you can have quality oversight across both of your plants.

If you’re using SaaS in your first plant, it’s easy to deploy (scale) your quality solution to the second plant. Growing should be a positive experience, not something that makes your IT department dread coming into work (or, worse yet, dread working with the Quality team).

And let’s not forget things like seasonal or holiday rushes—think of all the turkeys consumed in November and December compared to January through October(!), or the mad rush that occurs when a certain type of cookie sold by a certain type of scout is for sale. Seasonal rushes like these demand that companies fire up their mothballed production lines for a month or two and then shut them down when the rush is over.

So you can see that scaling supports a variety of business needs, from standardization to supporting company growth and cyclical business growth. It’s important for companies to be able to see the benefits of their quality systems as quickly as possible. SaaS solutions like InfinityQS’ Enact are able to help those companies scale quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively. SaaS is, indeed, a quality superhero.


Read the other blogs in this series:

SPC Should Drive Holistic Quality Improvement: Quality Pro Series #1
Rolled-Up Data Translates into Business Transformation: Quality Pro Series #2
Operators Play a Critical Role in Your Quality Initiatives: Quality Pro Series #3
Get Customers, Auditors, and Management the Info They Need, When They Need/Want It: Quality Pro Series #4
When scaling is required or necessary, SaaS is a Super Hero: Quality Pro Series #5

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