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A Brief Buyer’s Guide to Choosing Continuous Improvement Software

A Brief Buyer’s Guide to Choosing Continuous Improvement Software

When it comes time to buy or extend software to support a Continuous Improvement initiative, three major categories seem like they might fit the bill, but each has its challenges:

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are operations-focused, as they should be, but they’re too rigid to cost-effectively include CI principles, whose foundation is rapid, incremental change. ERP is great for processes that need little to no improvement, like GAAP compliance or payroll functions. You don’t need to make sure the number of correct paychecks improves over time; you need to make sure they’re 100% correct 100% of the time, and ERP systems help you achieve that.
  • Quality Management Systems (QMS) are great for ISO compliance, but they were designed by and for Quality teams, with only a passing thought to operations. You can use CI software for QMS functions, but you can’t go the other way.
  • Business Process Management (BPM) tools help you optimize your processes, but in the end you still need to find and buy a separate system to execute your improvements. BPM is the professor who spends his time theorizing; CI is the engineer who spends her time doing.
    Good CI software incorporates elements from all three systems, because Continuous Improvement happens when you apply Quality principles to Operational needs. Once you accept that principle, you realize that CI software is like an ERP with flexibility, a QMS with scale, and a BPM with focus. It lets you define, execute, measure, and refine both a process and the data it produces.

Good CI software incorporates elements from all three systems, because Continuous Improvement happens when you apply Quality principles to Operational needs. Click here to read the full article on ASQ.

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