November 05, 2021
A Quality Management System (QMS) is meant to be the backbone of an organization, to ensure the proper processes and procedures are in place to provide the best product possible. Epicor’s ERP Quality Assurance module for Kinetics and ERP 10 provides functionality to help support a QMS, through the capture of nonconforming product and the resulting disposition decisions, as well as the ability to perform Returned Material Authorization processing. To gain more functionality and increase the ease in which metrics can be captured and reporting enhanced, the Enhanced Quality Assurance module can add on to the standard features with the addition of capturing detailed inspection plans and their results, skip lot processing, and the ability to track internal training requirements for employees. With these additional pieces, the ability to support a QMS and the ease in which potential areas of improvement can be found is greatly strengthened.
It may be confusing to distinguish precisely what the Enhanced Quality Module adds to your Epicor functionality. One way to understand it is that the basic quality functions allow for visibility of occurrences where non-conforming material is found (either through production processes or as material is received). Decisions can be made whether the material will be reworked and used, returned to a supplier, or scrapped entirely. Along the way associated costs can be captured to see the impact these nonconformances have on the business. Enhanced Quality adds in the ability to capture those quality inspections that are occurring on an ongoing, daily basis, where – if everything is going to plan, no issues are found, and parts are within spec. In this way, inspections on parts, operations, and equipment can be captured within Epicor and the resulting data can be reported against, allowing for far greater visibility into the day-to-day quality performance of an organization.
Inspection plans are built with the use of attributes that are defined to describe elements that need to be inspected, for example, diameter, hardness, weight, width, length, etc. These attributes are completely user defined, so there is no limit to the number or variety that can be used to create a plan that is unique to each process and part. Specifications are then linked to specific inspection plans, which capture the upper and lower limits and other information about each attribute that is to be measured. Each inspection plan is tied to a specific part revision, so as parts are updated, inspection plans can be as well to ensure they relate specifically to the design relevant on the job being produced. The sample size to be inspected can also be defined, so that when results are entered in the Inspection Results screen, the inspector can clearly see how many pieces need to be sampled.
Using the functionality described above, inspection plans can also be created to capture calibration information and tied to an equipment record for use in conjunction with the Maintenance module. Capturing all the specifications needing to be documented during calibrations and having the data stored in Epicor can help simplify QMS audits and can easily be retrieved when requested. With the use of the Configurator (which is included with the Enhanced Quality Module), the input screens for the collection of inspection data are built as part of the inspection plan development process, meaning that each are specific to the plan and hold the information required, rather than having to work around generic pages that may not fit exact requirements.
On the supplier side of quality, the Enhanced Quality module provides the ability to apply Skip Lot Control at a part level. Skip lot inspections sample only a fraction of parts submitted and skip over others. This can be useful to have in place as part of a Supplier Corrective Action where a specific number of incoming parts are to be inspected, with the number of inspections required decreasing as quality proves to be at the level required. This pattern is set within the Skip Lot Code, and includes parameters around the repeat cycle, and what should occur upon a pass or fail during a skip lot cycle. The part master is kept up to date automatically as inspections occur, capturing the number of inspections that have been completed, as well as the reject count to date.
One of the last pieces the Enhanced Quality module can provide is a place to capture and track employee training and certification. This can be a very useful tool for supervisors and managers to record training courses and certifications, including the dates they occurred, grades achieved, length of time certifications are valid and more. These records can also help ensure audit compliance through the ability to quickly search and retrieve records by employee or by training course. This can also be used for internal training to schedule courses, track who performed the training as well as record who attended. These features allow a proactive approach to employee development, helping to ensure that it is no longer the burden of Human Resources alone to ensure it is occurring, as well as helping to identify where updates or new training is required to be compliant with government regulations.
A Quality Management System is usually created to help govern an organization’s actions to ensure the best service and product is produced. Epicor’s Enhanced Quality module can help organizations achieve their quality metrics by becoming part of the process that defines and captures data, allowing for visibility of strengths and weaknesses across an organization. For more information on how the base module or Enhanced module interact with the rest of Epicor Kinetics or ERP 10, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org, and one of the certified Teccweb consultants would be happy to provide assistance.
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