How To Choose a Manufacturing Quality Intelligence Platform

Key considerations and best practices for smart, data-based decision making.

Definition: What Is a Quality Intelligence Platform?

What do we mean when we talk about quality intelligence? To put it simply, quality intelligence is manufacturing intelligence. Quality intelligence is the result—and benefit—of strategic insight into your quality data. And a well-designed quality intelligence platform can fuel a digital transformation for your entire manufacturing ecosystem.

The knowledge and visibility contained in your quality data powers strategic decision making—not just across one product or line, but across your entire enterprise. By taking quality data out of disjointed, discrete systems—and by automating how you collect and work with that data—you can uncover opportunities to:
  • Proactively and intelligently reduce cost, scrap, and risk
  • Optimize profit and productivity
  • Streamline audits and analyses
  • Direct quality improvement resources where they’re needed most

What does this mean for you? For one, proactive quality intelligence reduces the number of nail-biting incidents that crop up. It can alert you to variances before they become defects—or worse, escapes. It can help you determine which areas of a line, facility, or region need the most attention. And it can help you establish best practices and propagate them across all your facilities.

Quality intelligence brings the benefits of SPC and quality improvement to teams across your enterprise.


 

How Can My Team Align To Choose the Best Cloud-based SPC Software?

It can be challenging to align your teams and gain the buy-in necessary for selecting the best cloud quality solution for your company. That’s why we created a step-by-step buyer’s guide—to ensure that your teams have all the information they need during this important process.

Download the Buyer’s Guide 

How Is Quality Intelligence Different from Your Existing Systems?

You run your manufacturing enterprise using a wide range of systems, each encompassing a slightly different business focus. The interconnectivity among these systems forms your unique enterprise application architecture.

Integrate quality intelligence with your existing manufacturing ecosystem to inform and empower transformation.The success of your manufacturing ecosystem depends on the health—and successful integration—of these systems.
  • Manufacturing Execution System (MES): This digital system connects and monitors your manufacturing equipment, providing real-time data across the product lifecycle. From your MES, you collect and analyze data about multiple inputs to create a record that captures the processes and outcomes involved in your plants. The data that your MES captures can be used in a variety of aims, including operations management, product tracking, performance analysis, resource allocation, and quality management. This system’s goal is to optimize your operations.
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): This business management software provides a real-time, integrated view of your core business processes. Use your ERP to track raw materials, production capacity, and orders, among other resources. Functional areas vary widely and include financial and management accounting, HR, manufacturing, order processing, and supply-chain management. This system’s goal is to optimize resource utilization across departments and divisions. 
  • Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM): These systems are designed to manage a variety of manufacturing processes, including interactions between people and systems, IT security services, asset and production model tracking, and data aggregation. The goal of a MOM system is to optimize efficiency across business divisions.
  • Quality Management System (QMS): This system documents the processes and procedures for monitoring and maintaining your quality objectives. Although many organizations collect quality data manually, the most effective and efficient systems are software-based—and can partially or fully automate data collection. The goal of a QMS is to optimize quality management across the divisions of the broader enterprise.

How Does a Quality Intelligence Platform Fit into Your Manufacturing Ecosystem?

How can a quality intelligence platform fit in with your MES, ERP, MOM, and QMS? As a purpose-built, robust quality intelligence platform, Enact® by InfinityQS® goes beyond the confines of traditional plant floor quality management. It enables you to strategically collect, visualize, centralize, standardize, and analyze data—whatever the source—and provide essential integrations with your other business systems to facilitate meaningful analysis and actionable insights.

Using Enact, you can automate the collection of quality data from other systems, then standardize and centralize it into a unified data repository. Why is this step so important?
  • Data standardization is vital if you hope to get a true and accurate analysis of quality—a single version of truth, as it were. From naming conventions to measurement units to methodologies, you can’t compare apples to oranges and expect to get accurate, actionable insights.
  • A centralized repository is essential when standardizing data for Statistical Process Control (SPC) analysis and business analytics. You can be certain that data is collected, labeled, and stored consistently—regardless of its source. 
  • The best option for data centralization is a relational database, which enables you to use and leverage data in multiple ways. 

The Cloud Makes True Quality Intelligence Possible

With today’s advancements in digital technology, the best place to store this database—and your quality intelligence platform—is in the cloud. Doing so significantly reduces deployment and maintenance costs while increasing agility and supporting scalability.
  • You get total data visibility for all stakeholders—regardless of their location
  • You can access real-time data through any device—PC, tablet, and smartphone
  • You don’t need to worry about managing technology deployments, updates, or upgrades

Support & Extend Your Existing Systems

Integration is a key tenet of the Enact quality intelligence platform. This integration takes multiple forms:
  • Supply chain visibility: With Enact, you have unlimited visibility into your supply chain. Simply have suppliers enter their data into Enact’s web-based interface. There’s nothing to install or deploy at the supplier site—all they need is an internet connection and browser. 
  • United systems: Because Enact is purpose-built for manufacturing, it’s designed to integrate with all the equipment and systems on your plant floor. Simply connect the Enact platform to your equipment, gauges, and sensors to enable automated data collection.
  • Seamless integration: Enact also enables seamless integration with your existing ERP, MOM, MES, and QMS systems. Not only can you use the data those systems collect, but with a simple click, you can upload quality data to those systems for a more consistent, enterprise-wide view of how quality affects and is affected by your inputs, processes, and outputs.
  • Expanded data value: Easily share quality Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and lot data from Enact with other plant systems. Enact simplifies this data exchange process, saving you time and effort.

Quality Intelligence IS Manufacturing Intelligence

Consider stakeholder requirements when choosing a quality intelligence platform.What capabilities should you demand in a quality intelligence platform? Remember, quality intelligence should enable and inform manufacturing intelligence—as well as quality and business insights. And that means different things to different people in your organization:
  • Your operators need timely notifications to help them standardize data collection and spot process deviations as quickly as possible.
  • Your quality managers need the ability to verify that product across each line in a facility meets quality standards.
  • Plant managers need insight into workflow efficiency and productivity.
  • Executives need an enterprise-wide view of profitability and proficiency—across multiple locations and regions.

A quality intelligence solution provides a focused view of information each of these roles, when and where they need it. It delivers focused data insights efficiently and effectively, helping you optimize workflows, sort through today’s data “noise,” and save valuable time and resources.
  • Data collection: Whether you use manual, automated, or semi-automated collection techniques is up to you. A robust quality intelligence solution will support automated capture (from calipers, scales, and so on) and simplify manual operator entry (through touchscreens and barcode scanners, for example). 
  • Operator empowerment: With so much happening on the manufacturing floor, operators need all the help they can get focusing on specific areas and real-time events. Look for a quality intelligence platform that provides a way to filter data according to relevance—while enabling timed alerts and notifications. A customizable dashboard, according to role or priority, is an invaluable tool.
  • Analytics: The key to actionable insights is in-depth analytics. Many manufacturers find value in SPC and KPIs. With your centralized data powering analysis of both real-time events and historical trends, you can easily surface the most valuable information—then use it to make smart, strategic decisions. 
  • Transformation: Now that you have a focused, prioritized view of the data that matters to you—and the ability to analyze and synthesize it in a variety of ways—you are set to turn quality intelligence into business intelligence. What are the big-picture questions across your enterprise? Perhaps you want to know which facilities are running most efficiently—and how to duplicate that success at other locations. Or maybe you need to decide where to dedicate resources to see the greatest or fastest ROI. 
Enact includes features—such as bubble charts and data stream grading—that make it easy to distill data across systems and locations, enabling the collaboration and prioritization that lead to dramatically effective results. 
 


See Quality Intelligence in Action 


See Enact in action in this short demo video.


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Getting Started: What To Expect from Manufacturing Quality Intelligence 

When choosing a quality intelligence solution, work with your provider to pin down exactly what you want from the platform:
  • What are your goals for a quality intelligence solution? Do you hope to gain better insight across multiple facilities? Are you looking to improve compliance, or gain visibility into your supply chain? 
  • What roles will access the platform, and what are their aspirations and concerns? Consider everyone who will use the solution—including floor operators, quality management, and executives.
  • How will you measure the effectiveness of your solution? Which KPIs matter most to you?
  • How will you measure ROI? 

Set Up for Success

The best way to launch a successful Enact deployment is via a targeted proof of concept. By starting small—one filling or packaging operation, for example—you can experience Enact and build a foundational understanding of how your quality intelligence platform can work.

You begin by completing a questionnaire about your goals for using Enact, as well as the results you hope to achieve during the proof of concept. Next, you work closely with an InfinityQS Applications Engineer to accomplish those results. Through guided sessions, we help you and your operators build a process model, collect data, and learn about Enact’s analytics features. 

You get to experience Enact’s dashboards, discuss feedback from your team, and evaluate the results of your proof of concept. In other words, you get to see firsthand what Enact can do for you—and how it can help you extract business intelligence in your manufacturing quality data.

How To Start Using Your Quality Intelligence Platform: Stages for Deployment & Rollout

  • Stage 1: Proof of Concept: A focused deployment (on a single line or process) serves as the foundation for your Enact rollout—a blueprint for all other operations in your organization.
  • Stage 2: Pilot: Expand your blueprint to other lines or across a facility. This provides an opportunity to expand Enact to other products or parts and incorporate additional functionality—such as gauges and automated data collection.
  • Stage 3: Production Rollout: Apply your blueprint to other parts of the facility, lines, processes—and across other facilities in your organization.

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