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Integrations – how to fine tune your Quality Management

Diana Avram-Anghel
Diana Avram-Anghel

While the image of the smart factory keeps evolving, one thing remains the same. It’s more important than ever to create integrations and connections between systems to make sense of and utilize the endless stream of data manufacturers are collecting. Only through powerful integrations and the advances of automation can manufacturers eliminate the need for manual work, save time, and prevent mistakes.

The integration between two systems is like the music created by two separate instruments. Each system has its purpose or its own tune. Yet only together can they bring your quality management to the next level. In this current development cycle, the AlisQI product team will focus on this topic. Why should manufacturers consider integrations? How do these integrations improve their factory’s infrastructure? And what’s next on the AlisQI agenda? Let’s find out.

Why should manufacturers consider integrations

Quality data arise everywhere, in your organization and in the entire supply chain. Capturing this data and being able to interpret it is key for the factory of the future. Heightened connectivity – between people, people and machines, and between individual systems – contributes to this. To achieve this connectivity, manufacturers need to advance from traditional quality management – stop using disparate systems, and work together rather than in silos with minimal cross-functional ownership.

Next to automation, we see integration as one of the vital components of quality management. We believe that it should connect processes, departments, and teams within the organization as well as include an organization’s suppliers, partners, and customers. For that, organizations have to step up their quality management and adopt an omnipresent view.

A few extra reasons

And if omnipresent quality is not a good enough reason to consider integrations, the few use cases highlighted below will surely change your mind:

  • Make available the master data that is maintained in ERP/PLM in your QMS.
  • Send the production orders or batch numbers generated in ERP to your QMS, where operators or lab technicians can select the orders they work on, and enrich this data with quality records.
  • Automatically acquire, process, and validate sensor or instrument data in your QMS.
  • Create custom BI dashboards: use all your QMS data in custom BI dashboards with the tools you’re already familiar with (PowerBI, Qlik, Tableau)

How do integrations improve your factory’s infrastructure

Leveraging integrations, manufacturers can improve their bigger IT infrastructure and enjoy multiple benefits. From substantial time savings when transferring, processing, and analyzing data to improved testing and reporting, and allowing the team to respond faster and be proactive rather than reactive.  

They can also enjoy a shift in their focus – since this will allow them to spend less time on operational tasks and more time on improvement. Take your QMS for example, configure it once, and you’ll get prompt alerts and smart notifications about even the smallest changes in quality. One step further, integrating your QMS with other systems makes this robust, fail-safe, and easy to deploy.  

Modern integration tech for everyone

Integrating applications is nothing new. Despite this, most companies treat this opportunity as an afterthought rather than a priority. In most cases, they build integrations after adding new applications or on an as-needed basis.

Sure, integration may have been cumbersome and expensive traditionally. But with the modern integration tech available today, it’s easy to develop the bigger ecosystem of a manufacturing plant. Moreover, you no longer need to be a computer science graduate to create integrations. iPaaS and other modern technology democratize the integration landscape, making it accessible to citizen developers.

Your QMS – the ideal hub

For us, integration is one of the cornerstones and not an afterthought. We know that a modern, cloud-based QMS is not a standalone application but it’s part of a bigger IT infrastructure. Using AlisQI, manufacturers can connect a large variety of systems – the MES on the shop floor, ERP systems throughout different facilities, IoT sensors, lab instruments, and their supplier or customer portal. We leverage modern technology to consume data from external sources, as well as provide access to all data in AlisQI for external tools. This includes both raw data as well as aggregated data.

Integrations AlisQI-Any System

AlisQI – what’s next on the agenda

In this new development cycle, we will add several integration features to articulate our vision of integration.

  • API layer on top of our SPC engine
    We will open up our SPC engine for the world. This means that we’ll add an API layer on top of our SPC engine so external reporting tools (like PowerBI, Qlik, or Tableau) can leverage our engine to create custom SPC reports.
  • Integration hub
    All AlisQI integration features will be centralized in our in-app integration hub. This means easy access to all data, making life for (citizen) integration developers much easier.
  • Business Intelligence dashboards
    AlisQI will be able to embed external BI reports and dashboards. These BI tools can consume our APIs and create custom dashboards, combining data from different sources. These dashboards can then be integrated into AlisQI, to create a one-stop-shop for all quality reporting.
  • Certificates of Analysis (CoA) data parsing
    With predefined parsing rules, AlisQI will allow for the Pdf data in a CoA to be extracted automatically. This data is then fed into the QMS, to trigger automated specification and stability validation tests.
  • Calendar integration
    Our QESH calendar can be integrated with Outlook/Gmail or any other calendar app. This calendar includes your quality tasks like calibrations or audits, as well as due dates for CAPA events. Integrating this with your calendar improves the visibility of your recurring QESH/quality events in your day-to-day operation.
  • Customer and Supplier portal
    We will leverage the power of the cloud by improving supply chain quality integration. AlisQI will provide portal capabilities to get customers and suppliers involved in your quality management operation. Think about assisted self-onboarding for suppliers, quality data submission for toll manufacturers and suppliers, or rich quality reporting for customers. This will improve the intimacy between supply chain partners when it comes to quality management and add numerous benefits.

In conclusion, manufacturers can leverage integrations and the advances of automation to fine-tune their quality management. At AlisQI, integrations are a cornerstone for quality management and not an afterthought. Your QMS is the ideal hub for the factory of the future, connecting a large variety of systems and making quality management smart and omnipresent.