Adonna Blasko, Marketing Manager, Pilgrim Quality Solutions
Superheroes give us an escape from everyday life and embody qualities to which we’re supposed to aspire. Though fictional, superheroes transport us to another world and can motivate us mere mortals to be more considerate of one another. They also have the power to convince us to open up our wallets for various movies, memorabilia, or miscellaneous merchandise. But at their core, they can also teach us some great life lessons, and even some that correlate directly to quality management. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at 5 quality management software lessons sourced from a variety of superheroes.
5 Quality Management Software Lessons from Superheroes
1. Stay on top of the story to identify problem areas.
What did both Superman and Spiderman have in common? Their alter egos, Clark Kent and Peter Parker, respectively, worked as a journalist and a photo journalist. By staying on top of all that was going on in their cities, they were the first to know when trouble was around.
In quality management, you might not need to be chasing the next top story, but you should always keep your eyes and ears attuned to problem areas in order to appropriately investigate and apply the correct corrective or preventive action. Keeping a journalist mentality can help with:
And while it helps to have reporting and business intelligence tools to really fine-tune identifying areas for continuous improvement, over time, having an exceptional handle on your quality management data can be almost like your very own “Spidey-sense” or super power.
2. Having the right tools always helps.
What does a seemingly limitless bankroll provide in a comic book world? Well, if you are Batman or Ironman, it can mean the ability to employ your own Lucius Fox to design a new “batsuit” or your next vehicle, or that you have the engineering know-how and funds to create your own nearly indestructible flying suit of armor.
For the medical device manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and combination products industries, having the right tools can equate to the processes, resources (both financial and human capital), and the right framework to manage all the pieces.
This is why QMS software is the tool to help your team:
- Properly manage and document your processes.
- Prepare you and your organization for audits and FDA inspections with simple access to the right information.
- Meet industry regulations and regulatory requirements.
Wherever you may be now with your quality system maturity, getting your hands on the right tools can take you to where you want to be.
3. A worthy rival pushes you to excel.
When you think of rivalry, do your own siblings come to mind? Or does your mind drift to something more epic such as Professor X and Magneto? These two had the same goal, to see the world accept mutants as members of society, but two opposing strategies.
When it comes to managing your quality, it can take something negative, like that first critical audit finding or an uptick in customer complaints, to motivate your organization to improve its processes. Keep in mind that when challenged by one of these opponents, the real driver for improvement should align with your company’s goals: high—quality products and patient safety.
Let’s consider what effects a “rival” can have in quality management. Have you received a dreaded 483? Did you fail an inspection recently? Is your internal audit process not adequately finding your weak areas? Sometimes it take adversity to really push your organization toward a resolution, just like an arch nemesis or sworn enemy creates a dynamic conflict that catapults you forward toward success.
According to an informal poll with our implementations team, this is often the case for our own clients. What may have initially worked for their organization—a paper-based system or perhaps MS Excel spreadsheets—no longer met their needs when faced with adversity. After a failed audit or a 483 on their CAPA process, organizations often turn to quality management software to give them tighter control over their quality processes. If you find your organization in a similar situation, let it be a driving force toward your goals of high quality products and patient safety.
4. Small successes are worth celebrating. Added together, they help you reach your bigger goals.
What’s small and packs a large punch? Ant-Man—the superhero that could reduce his size and multiply his strength far beyond any human.
When we think of superheroes, it’s easy to imagine larger-than-life powers far beyond human capabilities. But sometimes, what is smaller can have more relevance to your immediate business challenges.
Your organization may be planning and budgeting for a fully-automated enterprise-wide quality management software solution. You want it all but lack the executive approval and support, the cross-functional team buy in, or the IT and internal infrastructure to complete this goal in one large project. It’s great to dream big, but often the first step toward the big dream is to start small, with one great success in one focal area of your business, such as audits, CAPAs, or complaints.
Automating a single quality management process can provide the small successes to propel your team toward its greater goals. By focusing initial efforts on a smaller piece of the picture, such as handling customer complaints or streamlining your CAPA process, your team will see immediate results that justify expanding your quality management software into additional processes. Don’t forget that smaller projects can often pack a large punch.
5. When combined, a team creates an even more formidable force!
My personal favorite superhero of the ’90s, Captain Planet, only appears when the team of Planeteers combine their powers. Similarly, Marvel gave us the Avengers and DC the Justice League. When put together, the sum of their parts creates bigger wins, bigger successes, and more fans and supporters.
Combining components of your quality system into a single platform creates an even more powerful force—harmonized records, easy retrieval, and simplified records analysis. A harmonized platform can create synergies between processes, such as controlled documents and certification requirements, or between CAPAs and defects or customer complaints. It also brings together a larger team; each extension of the process is now involved in your quality management system, from administrators down to document viewers. The results can be exponential compared to managing various quality processes in disparate, disconnected silos.
If you stick to focusing on one process at a time before looking to combine forces into a super team of quality management processes, you should look for a solution with:
- A consistent, easy-to-use interface across all solutions
- Rich, deep cross-module integration that shares critical data and initiates follow-on actions
- Visibility into all quality records with tools for reporting and analytics
- Regulatory requirements built in, including the ability to comply with 21 CFR Part 11
Empower your Quality Management processes
Considering our quality management software lessons from superheroes, let’s take a quick look at what Pilgrim can do to power-up your quality management system.
Our SmartSolve® quality management software provides closed-loop process integration unmatched in the market. This gives you better visibility and insight into your quality management records, performance and trends, and then leverages that information to help you achieve continuous improvement.
Whether you are ready to automate a single process or optimize your entire quality management system, SmartSolve prepares you to succeed. If you are ready to learn more about how SmartSolve can empower your quality management system, contact us today.
Do you have any quality management software lessons to share? Please feel free to add your comments below.
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