Perspectives on the case for QMS in the midst of digital transformation

By Claudia Basso

Quality in the Future of Manufacturing: Perspectives on the case for QMS in the midst of digital transformation

Siemens recently worked with Frost and Sullivan analysts to research and draw conclusions about the impact digitalization and an increasingly competitive business environment will have on the requirements for QMS in discrete manufacturing industries. What they discovered is critical for manufacturers to understand as they embark on their digital transformation journey.

Quality has often been an aspect heavily talked about but scarcely invested in. This rings true across many contexts, but it is most evident in the sector of manufacturing. In research that involved a large spread of end-users across discrete manufacturing verticals, Quality emerged as a key criterion, but one that fell lower in priority when compared to other KPIs like cycle times, lead times, and production efficiency. Additionally, the value of quality was understood, but the cost of quality was not sufficiently measured nor managed. Most of the time there was no intentional decision to avoid quality management, but the cost of quality or the change needed to enable proper closed-loop quality (CLQ) was not deliberately pursued. The issue of quality has thus been acknowledged widely, but it has not been acted upon in depth.

The research conducted by Frost and Sullivan focused on the automotive and industrial machinery & heavy equipment industries. They found that the benefits of good quality management are grossly under-rated. For instance, a good quality management approach not only results in higher productivity, but also less downtime, minimal rework, a spike in sales and improved employee productivity. It is evident that there are still margins to improve quality and related quality costs. However, this trend is beginning to change. Analyzing the quality management systems (QMS) market as an indicator, vital market intelligence statistics reflect a growing appetite for efficient quality management practices.

But the QMS market is not without its challenges. A continued lack of clarity on the benefits and ROI (return on investment) presents itself whenever the idea of QMS is brought for discussion, particularly on the supplier end. The challenge in the supplier market of quality solutions is two-fold. On the one hand, suppliers do not have a cogent QMS solution that fits the need for end- users. On the other hand, the QMS approach of many suppliers is best-of-breed and exclusive.

The second challenge is possibly the most potent roadblock that currently exists within the industry. A good quality management system will only be fully effective, if and only if it is implemented as a part of a larger PLM strategy.

The onset of digitalization trends in manufacturing will further exacerbate the quest for finer quality. Going forward, quality management systems will gain a larger share of end-user investment than ever before. In other words, quality will cease to be an after-thought and transform into a quintessential part of operational strategy in the factories of tomorrow.

Read the White Paper, Quality in the Future of Manufacturing, to see the latest research on the future of Quality Management, and the emerging requirements for QMS in the digital enterprise.

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