Armaments group tightens quality processes with fully integrated eQMS

Our client is a supplier of complex defense systems. As a global player, the OEM works with hundreds of Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers. The multinational company has been on a stable growth path for years. As a result, the need to transfer quality management processes, tasks and data to a central planning and control solution increased. In 2012, the company began looking for a suitable QMS solution.

What were the main challenges?

The dominant topic on the agenda of QM managers is traceability. When defense systems are manufactured, a large number of parts and assemblies have to be processed. The requirements for the traceability of these parts extend down to the level of individual measuring points.

In order to cover the entire value chain, data and information must be processed both from the company’s own systems and from key suppliers – from ID and batch numbers to material certificates. Before the launch of QMS, the customer used a framework document that accompanied the components through the entire production process. All process participants were required to document their work in accordance with the company’s QM specifications. However, the increasing complexity of the production processes and the growing number of orders also increased the risk of no longer being able to fully record the required data.

The defense company was therefore looking for an integrated QMS – a data-based software system that enables bidirectional exchange with all relevant systems in the value chain. In particular, this includes the company’s SAP solution, the MES systems used and the measuring instruments. Additional attention is paid to the integration of the calibration system. This ensures that operators only use validated tools for their quality checks. This means that when a measuring device is used, the eQMS automatically checks whether it is correctly calibrated so that its results can be accepted.

Why did the customer choose QMS?

In addition, the entire architecture of the solution, especially the data structure, is transparent enough to be validated by both internal quality managers and external auditors. In this way, it can be proven at any time that the manufacturing processes comply with all regulatory requirements. These range from industry standards such as ISA95, ISO9000 and TFS16949 to customer-specific requirements and IT security and data protection regulations.

How did the implementation process go?

The armaments group operates the software as an on-premise solution in one of its European plants. The basic implementation took place in 2013. The rollout began along the entire value chain. The customer was able to carry out large parts of the implementation itself. This applies in particular to user training. Experience shows that new users are usually up and running within two hours. This is mainly due to the lean GUIs of QMS and not least the fact that the system runs in the local language.

From a process perspective, the implementation began with a proof of concept (PoC). This showed that the customer was already able to map the majority of its processes in the QMS standard. In addition, the PoC made it clear where changes needed to be made. Most of these modifications were necessary to adapt the traceability functions of the software to the requirements of the defense industry. Thanks to the PoC, the customer is still working with a solution where all changes are integrated into the standard.

In addition, virtually no changes were made to the actual core solution after the initial implementation. Adjustments are only made almost exclusively when additional integrations are required. For example, when new production facilities or measuring devices need to be connected to the QMS.

How does the QMS support operational processes?

QMS is used along the entire value chain. The spectrum ranges from incoming goods to delivery control. This ensures that no part leaves production without having been approved in eQMS. The company also uses QMS to approve newly developed parts and new suppliers for practical use.

More than 800 concurrent users work with the system around the clock. The user interfaces have been designed for the various user roles. This means that users only see the data fields and associated QMS information that are relevant to their specific work. The customer has set up these front-end roles themselves.

The armaments group uses the functions of the Quality Domain in these areas in particular:

Quality planning

APQP (including process flow, control plan, FMEA, PPAP and MSA.


Incoming goods

Processing and release, including testing and documentation with direct connection to SAP.

Data acquisition

Inspection planning for the creation of inspection characteristics and work instructions. It also supports inspections that are directly integrated into the MES.

Data analysis & reporting

Key figure creation uses advanced statistical methods (Advanced Statistics).

Together with the Quality Domain, the customer is currently considering how measurement data management can be further optimized. At the center of these considerations is the use of artificial intelligence and natural language processing (NLP). The aim is to build a voice input system that allows workers in the hall to record measured values without having to interrupt their actual work.

How can faults be rectified or even avoided?

Considering the range of applications for its products, it is crucial for the equipment supplier to identify problems, defects and faults in the manufacturing process and even avoid them if possible. This is why the QMS customer has a comprehensive solution for error handling.

The automatic escalation processes of QMS can be triggered even when irregularities are just beginning to emerge: If a measurement trend threatens to deviate from its usual distribution pattern, the system recognizes this at an early stage. This gives the set-up supplier more time to adjust the affected production processes before the produced parts actually fall out of specification.

This enables quality managers and product owners to carry out predictive quality analyses. Although the currently implemented solution does not yet use artificial intelligence for this purpose, the customer is able to manage and control deviations from the specification at a very early stage. This is because whenever an error occurs, the error management system triggers an alarm and automatically notifies the people responsible. They also automatically receive exactly the information they need to rectify the current problem. In this way, the equipment supplier minimizes the number of production errors and, as a result, the amount of its.

Get in touch!

Would you like to know more about our solutions? Then please write me using the contact form. I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Ludmila Lebedev
Sales Team Germanedge

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