Paperless Quality processes – save time and the environment!

By Valentina Lupo

Siemens Quality Management Solutions help manufacturers manage a paperless process

A new product introduction (NPI) must proceed through different approval gates. How can this process unfold without recording each step and activity on hardcopy? Imagine you’ve been invited to attend a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) session. The facilitator organizes a meeting in which many different functions are represented. How do these representatives communicate critical information without paper? And other than environmental sustainability, what benefits are there to a paperless process?

A discussion of paperless quality activities occurs within the context of a forward-looking approach to quality, which first comprehends the needs of the customer and then builds quality into the design of both product and process. Ensuring that quality is fully considered and addressed, before the first finished product rolls off the production line, helps to avoid changes in later product stages, which can be costly and not as effective in producing high-quality results. Paperless quality activities contribute to both the efficiency and the effectiveness of such an approach.

Let’s explore how a quality effort goes paperless, and how paperless quality activities are beneficial.

As manufacturers introduce new products, a large quantity of information must be communicated: describing systems in long text files, collecting requirements with sub-assembly and category explanations, collecting characteristics on spreadsheets, and more. Continuing the example of FMEA, consider the many assessments are generated in this process. Through numerous iterations, you and other team members may be called to re-read yet another hardcopy of a FMEA worksheet with updates. The reams of hardcopy may reflect a great job done by the colleague in charge of following the activity, or excellent work of classification, data collection and archiving, but how many hours does this manual work steal?

Other examples of hardcopy inefficiencies abound. In the case of a qualifying audit for certification, for example, can you be sure that all the documentation has been collected, or all the improvements and changes are inserted? You may be well acquainted with the tedious challenge of gathering all the right papers that:

  • Provide evidence of the latest version of all documents
  • Use a common format, not a mix of different – potentially outdated – documents
  • Demonstrate that quality control processes and procedures confirm that the production process is adequately controlled and monitored

This challenge becomes that much greater with NPIs, for which one must prospectively collect all such information in case the company, at some future date, has to demonstrate that all required verification and risk assessment have been performed.

Siemens Quality Management solutions move all quality activities from paper to a common, familiar and easily navigated user experience. A responsive user interface enables team members to view critical information on their computers. Powerful functions streamline not just communication, but the whole quality approach. With Siemens Quality Management solutions, manufacturers can manage the complexities of planning, control and monitoring of all quality activities, all in a paperless ecosystem. The main benefits of managing this centralized data source are to provide:

  • Build a repository for company know-how
  • All available information with different access levels on a common collaborative platform
  • Tracking of all modifications and revisions
  • Ensure transparency for all the teams and for management
  • Reduce the numbers of emails
  • Provide a comprehensive overview for system compliance auditors

If your company is seeking to continually improve quality processes, Siemens Quality Management solutions are the answer to support your company with a paperless closed-loop approach to quality.

Discover Teamcenter Quality and Opcenter Quality today.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at