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How Do I Choose the Best Total Quality Management Software?

Article Details
  • Written By: Helen Akers
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Total quality management (TQM) software helps organizations ensure compliance with various government regulations and certification requirements. Choosing the right software depends upon the number of users that will need access to it, the different types of actions that need to be accomplished, and the objectives that should be met. Most total quality management software is designed to coordinate the activities of multiple departments from a single location. Additional considerations in choosing a TQM package are costs, training, learning curves, existing technology compatibility, and potential future needs.

Corporations in specific industries, such as auto manufacturing, have a need for total quality management software. Besides a desire to be proactive about potential defects, companies may need to comply with government quality standards. In order to efficiently meet market demand, manufacturers use TQM systems to automate the inspection process. Software packages can standardize the assembly and manufacturing process by communicating predetermined specifications to machines and numerous operators.

When a company chooses a total quality management software package, it will often solicit requests for proposals from several vendors. Prior to sending out requests for bid solicitations, managers need to be aware of what they want the software to accomplish. Vendors will need to know if the software must help the company's manufacturing process comply with specific certifications, such as ISO 9000 or Six Sigma. The company may also need to communicate details about its current process and the gaps it would like the software to close.

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Some total quality management software vendors provide free previews or documents. These documents can usually be downloaded from the vendor's website. Free versions or demos can give managers a chance to interact with the features and functionality prior to committing to a full package. One of the top concerns related to choosing a good software package is its usability, since managers want to avoid selecting a software application that is difficult to understand and navigate.

Most organizations end up selecting a package that a variety of employees can interact with. This includes employees with varying educational backgrounds and job responsibilities. A local machine operator, for example, must be able to understand and interact with the software's functions in the same manner that a plant supervisor might need to. For this reason, a good set of TQM tools help to ensure control of the manufacturing process from several employee perspectives.

Selecting the best total quality management software package also comes down to the organization's financial resources. There may be compromises between functionality that the organization needs in the short-term and what it can afford. Some companies have the financial flexibility to purchase packages that their manufacturing processes can grow into, while others select the simplest and least expensive software that will ensure regulatory compliance.

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