What’s the real return on investment of a Q-Pulse system?

08 April 2021

What’s the real return on investment of a Q-Pulse system?

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Continuous improvement projects like introducing a new form, tightening up procedures and updating your policies will only get your business so far. When you're a business owner, quality manager or procurement lead, you want to know:  what project is really going to move the needle? These projects are often called 'operational excellence' initiatives.

Operational excellence leads to business transformation. Examples include projects such as launching a new product, certifying to standards, or implementing a new electronic quality management system.

World-class organisations are often the most hungry for operational excellence initiatives. However, before committing any money, you want to know your chosen project will successfully:

1. save your company time
2. save your company money
3. produce a significant return on investment

This was the challenge Ideagen customer Texecom faced around three years ago. The business already had a mature quality management system and a COPQ well below industry average. The quality team were tracking a range of performance metrics. These metrics were helping the business to address risks and ensure they are always compliant. But the team kept asking, "what else can be done to take the business to the next level?"

Lylian Cretin, Quality Manager at Texecom, described the transformation that implementing an electronic quality management system had on his business. He's also provided some examples of the time and money saved in the first year of adopting an electronic quality software system to provide some guidance for others trying to plan their quality management strategy for the next year.

1. How much time will I save with an electronic quality software system?

Time is money, the old saying goes, and it holds true now more than ever. With quality software, the amount of time you will save really does depend on the current state of your processes, information required, visibility issues, collaboration challenges etc. 

Furthermore, when you implement a software system like Q-Pulse your implementation manager will work with you to map out your processes. They will challenge the status quo, provide examples, and recommend best practices for an even healthier, more efficient management system.

Time savings typically range from 20% to 80% when using quality software vs. a manual approach.

Lylian listed five key ways quality software helped Texecom save time:

  • Process audits used to take two to three hours. Now they take 30 to 45 minutes in total. All the evidence is captured. 'Desk work' is all completed in the software.
  • I've not needed to employ an additional person to undertake administrative tasks. That's around 40 hours a week saved, or 640 hours so far.
  • Post-calibration days, i.e. the storage and record of external calibration visits, has reduced from two days to six hours.
  • Handling issues such as non-conformance and customer queries / issues is significantly faster. But most importantly, information relating to customer feedback is more thoroughly documented. That's around two hours a week saved collecting the information.
  • My monthly report takes two hours instead of a day to produce. At least 50% of the saving can be attributed to using a dedicated software tool (the rest to my Excel skills!)

2. How much money will I save with a digital quality platform?

When investing in enterprise business management software, decision makers want to know the actual pounds and pence they'll save.

"By spending X, where can I save Y?" 

There are of course a multitude of single-use tools and software programmes out there, all designed to help you to enhance quality.

For example:

  • SharePoint for documents and policies
  • Auditing applications
  • Supplier directory systems
  • Excel spreadsheets for training records
  • Complaint / NPS monitoring tools

Quality software systems like Q-Pulse have a smorgasbord of features for you to take your pick of what you need now and grow into the rest when your management system matures. Everything you need is under one roof. Training records, policy management, audits, equipment, issues, complaints, etc. Then there are all the reporting tools, new mobile applications, IoT integrations... the list goes on.

By having all your quality, health and safety, compliance, environment, information security etc. in a single integrated system, you can unsubscribe to other software you might be unnecessarily paying for.

Lylian shared a number of ways electronic quality management helped Texecom to save money:

  • We've not needed to employ an additional member of staff to undertake administrative work.
  • I would say there's an estimated saving of £48K in year one of our software investment
  • I'm now able to get better insights into metrics, e.g. where there is scrap.

3. What return will I see if I invest in a quality management software system?

Exactly how much your quality system generates for your business depends on three things:

  • Your business requirements
  • Your goals
  • How you choose to use the system

Most Ideagen customers see a return on investment eight weeks after the software has been fully implemented.

Lylian said:

"Our COPQ is well below the industry average, so any improvements were going to be a great achievement. 

I set a target to reduce our COPQ 5% year-on-year when we adopted a digital quality approach. As the maturity of our quality management system will increase, I estimated in the fifth year, savings will be around 2.5%. That's a 22.5% reduction achieved over five years. It's transformational for any business!

We're also working hard to further define all the different metrics COPQ encapsulates. Managing our quality system with a digital system has given me the head space to be more strategic as I'm now spending less time completing administration."

What to do now

Ready to take the next step on your quality management journey? Learn more about how Q-Pulse can take your business to the next level.

Written by

Alexander Pavlović

Alex produces targeted content to help Ideagen’s readers and customers navigate the complex world of quality, governance, risk and compliance.

Alex has worked with brands such as BT, Sodexo and Unilever and is passionate about helping businesses build a cohesive, collaborative culture of quality.

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