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Successfully managing your organization’s quality management system (QMS) is business-critical. Manufacturing a variety of products for clients in multiple markets can require considerable documentation to meet regulations and standards. The right QMS software can ensure that you have met those requirements and save valuable man hours. While we strive to consider all the possible scenarios that could occur during any software implementation or upgrade, understanding the most common mistakes of software rollouts can improve a company’s chances of success. In this article, Bob Herdoiza, President of CEBOS, a division of QAD, has shared a few helpful hints to (hopefully) avoid some of those scenarios when implementing quality management system software.
One of the main reasons businesses struggle with quality management software implementation is that they fail to address the rollout phase at the human level. You see, we forget sometimes that there are people behind the machines, working to ensure that every aspect of a business runs smoothly. Add in frustration, confusion or uncertainty over new software, and it’s no mystery as to why some companies crash during the rollout phase.
But there is help! And it doesn’t have to be complicated.
#1 – Know Where to Start
It doesn’t matter how big or how small the scale of change is, the reality is there are real people behind the software your company is about to implement. Change is scary and sometimes frustrating or confusing. Those people need to understand why the change is happening, and how it will make their jobs better. Employees also need proper training and time to familiarize themselves with the software before you let them loose. Work with your employees first, and you’re already on the track to QMS software implementation success!
#2 – Understand the Importance of Effective Communication
Communication is crucial to successful QMS implementation. Whether it’s with individuals or departments that are immediately affected by the rollout, or developing a quality management team that will work with each department as the new software is integrated into new departments, communication can help to break down barriers between departments and individuals. It also ensures that everyone has a space to discuss problems, questions, or concerns with the new QMS software program.
#3 – Avoid the Use of Jargon, Slogans, Mottos, or Buzz Words
Speaking of communication . . . it’s important to avoid jargons, slogans, mottos, and buzz words when explaining new functions, processes, procedures and policies. Such words only lead to confusion. They don’t hold any real weight for the employees, and they may not even fully understand what you’re talking about. Eliminate frustration and chaos by clearly presenting defined goals, objectives and targets.
#4 – Create a Change Management Plan
Change management systems can (and should) be applied to the implementation process, as well as the long-term improvement of QMS software. But in order to successfully execute change, a change management system should be used, and it should include everything from training and skill building to facilitation of communication. Change management plans should also provide a pre-designed path through which the software will be implemented into the company.
#5 – Don’t Try to Change Everything at Once
Too much change all at once can be overwhelming for everyone, from production to management. Instead of trying to make it all happen overnight, take clearly outlined, pre-determined steps laid out in your change management plan. A few other tips for ensuring a successful rollout include:
Be flexible with deadlines
Be willing to conduct additional pilot tests when needed
Be prepared to kill a project if it isn’t working
Have an exit plan in place if software no longer meets the company’s needs later on down the road