Governance, Risk and Compliance Blog

EQMS Spring User Group 2017

Posted by Emily Hill on Fri, Mar 24, 2017

On Wednesday 22nd March 2017, Qualsys Ltd welcomed our customers from W. E. Rawson, NHS, Sodexo, and many other businesses to our office for the EQMS Spring User Group. 

The User Group is an opportunity for our customers to see what's new, share ideas and meet other users of the system.

If you couldn't make the Spring User Group or want to recap some of the key points from the day, we have put together a summary of each of the talks below. 


EQMS User Group.png


Qualsys welcomed brands from across the globe to the EQMS User Group

"In my experience of using Document Manager in EQMS over the last 12 years, it is a very user-friendly system for the end user and I like the way EQMS is structured.

Qualsys provides an excellent support service with Rob Needham being our main point of contact. Rob is very approachable and helpful and listens to our requests and issues which helps a lot. We always get a response from the Support Team which is great."

Janice McMillan, Diageo 

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EQMS User Group was chaired by Robert Oakley


The State of the Quality Industry - Michael OrdGlobal Quality survey 27017 - cover.png

Michael Ord, New Business and Marketing Director at Qualsys, kicked off the event with the results from the Global Quality Survey.

The survey results highlighted three key challenges for quality leaders: 

  • Authority to do the role 
  • Data ownership
  • Leadership engagement 

Michael has put all of the key findings into the Global Quality Trends Report.

This report can be downloaded here.



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Chris Owen discussing the flexibility of EQMS Issue Manager and EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager


EQMS Insights - Chris Owen 

Chris Owen, Services Director shared some of the ways EQMS Issue Manager and EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager can be configured to meet your internal business processes. 

Chris has put together more information about EQMS here:


"EQMS is the best software currently available on the market. Qualsys support is second to none and very customer focused, I would highly recommend this product."  - Lee Clack, W. E. Rawson Ltd

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Rob Needham sharing the EQMS Roadmap 


EQMS Roadmap - Rob Needham 

For the EQMS Roadmap, Rob Needham, Technical Director at Qualsys Ltd, demonstrated:

  • Key enhancements
  • Issues Manager web services 
  • New Issues Manager Mobile Application 


Issues Manager Ipad app.png
New Issue Manager iPad Application



EQMS Futures - Rob Needham 

Rob Needham then shared upcoming projects, including: 

  • EQMS version 7 Update
  • Mobile Technology 
  • BI Reporting
  • EQMS Ideas Board. 



"EQMS is an indispensable part of how we manage document control and accreditation at Leeds teaching Hospitals. The team at Qualsys are pushing the boundaries of what EQMS can deliver, and we are excited to see upcoming developments." - Bradley Dickinson, NHS Leeds Teaching Hospital 

EQMS Equipment Manager - Rob Needham 
"We've updated the EQMS Equipment Manager user experience and user interface so it is now a lot more intuitive," said Rob Needham, EQMS Technical Director. 
The updated version of EQMS Equipment Manager will be available in the coming months: 
Upcoming: updated EQMS Equipment Manager 
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The new look for the asset register 
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Easily search for Equipment Model

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Search Equipment by location. 

EQMS Account Management Services - Gemma BaldanEQMS Optimisation Services.png

"Every customer is now entitled to a free annual health check to give a top level review of user activity, non-utilised functionality, overdue items and a report on overall activity," said Gemma Baldan, Key Account Manager at Qualsys Ltd.

Gemma continued:

"We have an exciting range of new account management services to help our customers understand, measure and maximise their EQMS return on investment."

Existing EQMS customers can learn more about the optimisation services here.




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Redefining Quality: John Oakland and Richard Corderoy, Oakland Consulting 

"Do you have variable control, are you gaining control or are you in journey to world class.pngcontrol?" asked John Oakland, Executive Chairman at Oakland Consulting and one of the world’s top 10 gurus in quality & operational excellence, to the User Group delegates. 

"Every time I ask this question, I get the same response - "gaining control"....

Quality professionals need to set a destination for world class performance."  

The video from this presentation is coming soon.

In the meantime, download a whitepaper by Richard Corderoy and John Oakland here.



Break Out Sessions: 

The group then split into three to discuss EQMS modules in more detail. This is an opportunity to share their use of the system, suggest system enhancements and help other EQMS customers with quality-related challenges. 

If you would like more information about the feedback, or to provide more feedback, email


"Brilliant day! There was lots of useful information to be consumed. Qualsys should be applauded for the hard work and effort they are putting in to get their software right." - Liam Herridge, NHS Leeds Teaching Hospital.  

EQMS User group.jpg

"A really interesting day and great to be able to hear the experiences of other EQMS users. Came back to the office inspired to push forward with Issue Manager. Thank you" - Chris Storey, University of Leeds. 

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10 Ways to Use EQMS Issue Manager

Posted by Chris Owen on Fri, Mar 24, 2017

 The EQMS User Group on 22nd March revealed a multitude of ways that customers are using EQMS Issue Manager. We’ve taken some examples from the top 12 uses to give you an idea of how the module could benefit your organisation, from process efficiency to handling customer complaints, through to document reviews and RIDDOR reporting.

#1 Purchase Orders

Here at Qualsys we use EQMS Issue Manager to raise Purchase Orders for the organisation. It creates a simple but effective digital trail to allow for quick audits and easy to find records. Purchase Orders are raised using the Job Tracker function, triggering an automated workflow to selected users.


#2 Marketing Request

Whether an internal marketing team process, or an external request, EQMS Issue Manager can help you to handle marketing tasks. There may, for example, be an interesting news story that has arisen from your customer services department. This can be raised as a request to the marketing department, who are then alerted to the request and can deliver timely marketing such as creating a press release or writing a blog article about the customer news story.

You can use the Job Tracker system to raise a marketing request in EQMS


#3 Service Delivery Tracking

EQMS Issues Manager has automated, customised workflows that can be attributed to any task. This means that once an issue has been raised, the right people are notified with an email and an action in their to do list.

This is particularly useful to track service delivery processes, ensuring SLAs are adhered to by creating workflows with time restrictions – so that people have to carry out their related action before the deadline. It puts accountability onto the individual for their role in service delivery, and minimises the risk of service delivery delays or issues.

You can follow service delivery stages via the job tracker or issues manager


#4 Security Alerts

A large site means it can be difficult to be aware of everything going on, everywhere, at all times. EQMS Issue Manager enables anyone to raise an issue, so if something is spotted as a physical, external, or digital risk, it can be highlighted and immediately put into an urgent automated workflow for fast action.

For example, a report can be made of a broken perimeter fence, and the right people can be alerted (those who work in the area, the maintenance person required, and an alert to someone who deals with external suppliers if contractors are required to fix the problem).


#5 Process Improvement & Suggestions

Any registered user (whether licensed or a free end user) can raise a point in EQMS Issue Manager. The idea behind this is to deliver clarity, openness, and encourage a culture of quality across the organisation. If an individual sees a way to improve a business process, they can raise this as an issue. The dedicated custom workflow will trigger a notification to relevant people (such as a group of line managers) who can discuss the suggestion and feed back to the individual on the next steps.


#6 HSE – RIDDOR Reporting

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) mean Health and Safety Managers must be fully aware and have processes in place to deliver reports in a timely, easy-to-interpret, and auditable fashion. The ability to track how incidents, or potential incidents, are dealt with enables HSE Managers to remain compliant with regulations.

EQMS Issue Manager provides a comprehensive reporting process using visual dashboards for customisable reports depending on the audience required. A full report, for example, can be disseminated to the HSE team for scrutiny and performance improvement, while KPIs can be extracted for reports to the executive board.


#7 Legal Contract Change

One of our customers regularly handles legal contracts, which may require changes. They use EQMS Issue Manager to raise issues on a legal contract, which are then automatically triggered to be sent to the right people (such as the legal team) for review.

Doing this ensures all changes are peer reviewed and changes made are certified by those who will be held responsible to the contract terms, mitigating future risk and ensuring individuals commit to continuous quality improvement in legal contract developments.


#8 Complaint Handling

Complaint handling is a critical business process, vital to the quality output of a company. Several of our customers use EQMS Issue Manager to create complaint handling workflows.

Once a complaint is logged, the next person in the workflow is automatically notified and can carry out their action. So it goes in a chain of command, and all complaints can be handled in a consistent manner within agreed timelines.

The reporting dashboard allows a quick overview of ‘jobs’ – in this case, complaints raised, and can be customised to demonstrate average response time, time to close, and even individuals who raise or receive the most complaints.

Visual reports can be created to demonstrate different types of information depending on the audience


#9 Business Change Control

Managing business change is a common sticking point for Quality Managers, and our customers have their fair share of stories – some successful, others less so. The key to managing business change is to implement systems and processes where communication and feedback can be delivered at all stages of the change.

EQMS Issue Manager has been used by several customers to create a workflow which links to EQMS Document Manager. This enables them to create, upload, and notify others of document change – such as new policies – while Issue Manager workflows allow for changes to be made within a controlled process.


#10 Meeting Minutes

A simple, but effective, way of using EQMS Issue Manager is to raise meeting actions for individuals to carry out. The triggered workflows, which are entirely customisable and allow for individual users to be attributed to an action or a stage, mean that meeting actions are guaranteed to be carried out in time.

Individual users who have a meeting action raised within EQMS Issue Manager will receive an email notification as well as a reminder in their To Do List. This ensures the action is seen and carried out within the required timescale, such as before the next meeting.


What You Should do Now 

If you need a system that handles a wide range of tasks, and makes the most of automation to minimise the administration (and time taken chasing other people!), you can find out more from the EQMS Issue Manager Datasheet download here.

EQMS Issue Manager

Tags: Issue Tracking System

Global Quality Trends Report

Posted by Michael Ord on Thu, Mar 23, 2017

In March 2017, Qualsys Ltd distributed the annual benchmarking Quality survey, asking quality professionals about their challenges, key responsibilities and resources.

Global Quality survey 27017 - cover.pngThe 34 questions in the survey were grouped into four broad categories: the role of the quality professional; main challenges; technology and systems; and the responsibilities and activities within the quality operations.

Over 150 quality professionals took the survey, raising £151 for Sheffield Children's Hospital Charity. 

The 151 responses we received—from around the world, across more than a dozen industries, and from organisations large and small—took the temperature of the industry to understand how the role of the quality professional is changing.

In the Global Quality Trends Report, we have collated the key information from the Global Quality Survey.  

Download your FREE copy of the report to: 

  • Access a 15 Page (7 minute read) Report
  • See how you compare and benchmark against your peers
  • Insights from industry experts 

 Get the report by filling out the form below >>> 





Tags: Quality Culture

12 Different Ways To Use EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager as Your Single Source of Truth

Posted by Chris Owen on Thu, Mar 23, 2017

EQMS is a very flexible solution which can be configured to meet your business processes. But how could you use it to make the most of your audit and inspection processes?

At the EQMS Spring User Group 2017, Chris Owen shared 12 ways EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager is being used by Qualsys and our customers to deliver control, business efficiency, and a single source of truth. 

Here are some of the examples: 


1. Employee Onboarding / Offboarding

When new employees start, it is a critical time to ensure all the information they need and that all boxes are checked. 

  • Do you have their certificates? 
  • Has all necessary paperwork been completed?
  • Has their induction process been completed? 
  • Do they have access to all the systems they need? 
  • When is their probation review due? 

EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager controls employee onboarding and offboarding processes. When a new employee starts at the company, a new record is created and the employee onboarding process begins. 

More information here


2. Appraisals

For employee retention and performance monitoring, EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager can be used to plan, manage, and record employee appraisals. 

EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager can be used to check all appropriate appraisals actions have been completed by the line manager and the employee. 

The module also integrates with EQMS Training Records Manager so that any associated training records can be attached to the appraisal. 


3. Housekeeping Reviews

When we get busy, it can be difficult to remember everything that needs to be done. The smallest step forgotten could have serious implications later. EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager can be used for housekeeping checklists to ensure all important small steps have been taken, and no stone left unturned. 


4. Internal Quality Audits

Probably one of the most common uses for EQMS is internal quality audits. Lee Clack, W. E. Rawson Ltd, said "Since implementing EQMS, we've been able to do more audits in the past few months than in the past 3 - 4 years." So EQMS software can make it a lot quicker to conduct a large volume of audits and gain greater visibility of the performance of the organisation. 



5. Process Audits

As well as quality audits, it is also important to audit processes. You need to make sure processes are working throughout the organisation, rather than just one procedure. 

In 'Next Generation Auditing', Colin Partington, Quality Management Consultant and ISO 9001 expert says: 

“Process based auditing is more about following through a trail by taking a job from start to finish and reporting what is seen as it passes through the various departments. By taking this approach, a number of clauses can be covered in one audit.”

These audits involve looking at the processes, even those for the audit itself, and asking whether it is actually working. 


6. Safety Inspections

Safety Inspection audits check that your policies, procedures, and practices of employees and visitors remain relevant to your operation and are known to all staff. EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager makes it easy to take photos of issues, make voice recordings, attach documentation, and record video clips so you can keep a full record of safety performance across your organisation. The advantage to iEQMS Audit App is that this information can immediately be recorded in-situ, without the need for vague notes trying to explain a safety hazard or non-conformity.


7. Checklists for Your External Provisions 

EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager can be used to onboard and manage performance of your external providers.

Find more information about the new ISO 9001:2015 requirements and customer case studies: 


Wistia video thumbnail - EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager

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8. Cleaning / Catering Reviews

In heavily regulated environments, such as laboratories and medical device manufacturing facilities, it is essential that the correct cleaning and maintenance checks have been completed and that there is a record that can be easily accessed without risk of the data being tampered with during an investigation.

Many of Qualsys' customers use EQMS to plan, schedule, and conduct cleaning and catering reviews. 

Find out how Sodexo uses EQMS for cleaning and catering reviews here


9. Risk Controls

The incorporation of Annex SL into the ISO 9001:2015 revision is a key driver towards the ‘risk based approach’. Incorporating what was previously titled ‘Preventive Action’, the risk based approach requires an organisation to determine the risks and opportunities, plan actions to address these risk and opportunities, implement the actions into its quality management system processes, and evaluate the effectiveness of these actions.

EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager integrates with EQMS Risk Manager, so actions can be determined, planned and addressed in the system.  

Read more on Risk Based thinking


10. Claim Call Monitoring

Customer service employees can use EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager for claim call monitoring. This can ensure the correct process has been followed each time, without having to wait a long time for a response. 


11. Internal Compliance Audits

Probably one of the most common uses for EQMS is compliance audits. As you can associate the requirements for the standard with each audit, it makes it easier to gain an insight into the performance of the organisation. 

Thomas Miller also use EQMS for external compliance audits. They give external auditors access to EQMS a few days before an audit so they can see all the information is there. Read more about how Thomas Miller use EQMS here. 


12. VDA 6.3 

VDA 6.3 defines a process based audit standard for evaluating and improving controls in a manufacturing organisation’s processes. Qualsys has some templates which can be used for your own VDA 6.3 audit. Ask one of our team for more information or download the IATF 16949 toolkit. 


What you should do now: 

Got a process which needs to be audited, but not sure how EQMS could manage it? Talk to one of our experts. 

Alternatively, if you would like more information about EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager, request a demonstration here. 


Auditing on the iPad


Tags: iEQMS Auditor, Audit Management Software

ISO 9001:2015 Leadership Battles - Advice from Quality Professionals [Global Quality Survey Results]

Posted by Kate Armitage on Wed, Mar 22, 2017

67% of quality professionals say leadership do not demonstrate commitment to qualitykate.png

Amid tighter regulation, greater public scrutiny, and more requirements for Leadership to promote a culture of quality in ISO 9001:2015, it appears that quality professionals still feel a lack of commitment from their leadership.

The Global Quality Survey* results demonstrate that two in three quality professionals feel their leadership do not do enough to demonstrate commitment to quality. 

Despite this, 91% of quality professionals surveyed said that ISO 9001:2015 is relevant to their organisation.

So, what is going wrong? And how can we as Quality Leaders encourage leadership to make the necessary changes?




Why do so many quality professionals feel their leadership team are disconnected from their quality team?

“Leadership aren’t engaged with quality. They do it because they have to, not because they see the cost-saving potential."

(Karen Bayliss, Kartan Consulting)

“The rules are too difficult and boring. Quality brings little empirical value to the leadership role and they feel like their time is better spent elsewhere.”


“Leadership see quality as a necessary overhead, rather than a cost-saver.”

(Quality Leader at a global FMCG manufacturer)

“We’re only consulted when something goes wrong – we’re still a bolt-on at the end of a project, rather than integrated into the business processes,” 

(Quality Manager at a Textile Manufacturer) 

“Leadership only want a certificate on the wall.”


“It’s too easy for leadership to have an “over to you” attitude.”

(QHSE lead at an energy company)


So, what exactly should leadership be doing?



The New Leadership Game

The new ISO 9001:2015 standard gives quality assurance teams an opportunity to reiterate the responsibility of the leadership team and drive the management system to conform to the standard.

Do your leadership team know they must…

  • Inform everyone of the importance of the quality management system?
  • Tell everyone why they should participate in its effective implementation?
  • Ensure the quality policy and quality objectives are compatible with the strategic direction and the Context of the Organisation?
  • Promote risk-based thinking in respect of their organisation’s quality management system?
  • Make sure the management system achieves its intended outcome?
  • Ensure there are adequate resources to maintain the quality management system?
  • Ensure the effectiveness of the quality management system?

ISO 9001:2015 requires leadership to be much more involved with the quality management system. And it seems like these new requirements are ruffling a few feathers.

So, how can quality professionals get leadership to step up to the mark?  

The Key Issue

Advice Offered

No direct line to leadership

“The QP needs direct access to the executive team. In larger organisations, the executive team focus is on commercial effectiveness and productivity without necessarily addressing the link between implementation of an effective management system and operational performance. Be really clear what you want leadership to do.”

Jon Swift, Head of Compliance and Risk at TBS GB Ltd.

Leadership sees quality as a cost

“You need to demonstrate how quality improves customer experience and reduces churn.  Introduce quality awareness programs.”

Roger Van Beeck – RJS Management Services

Status of the QMS

“We got Qualsys Ltd to do a health check of our quality management system. It helped us to understand how effective the quality management system is to our leadership team.”

Quality Manager – Thomas Miller

Different objectives / drivers

“You can win with tight coupling of “Voice of the Customer” & management engagement initiatives e.g. centralise actions lists,  a complaints inventory.”

Former member of BNP Paribas Fortis

Lack of tangible objectives

“Raise awareness of quality and centralise all quality initiatives.”

James Mwathi, KTDA, Kenya

No single source of truth

“If you do not have a single source of truth, you are not doing your job. You need a central system to make it easy for your leadership team.”

Paul Isherwood, SHS Drinks

Not communicating

“Schedule weekly / monthly meetings demonstrating objectives and results.”

D Morgan, Echo Managed Services

Talking the language of leadership

“Many management teams want a certificate on the wall, so you need to use that to your advantage. Explain how to use the standard to benefit the company (not the certification body).”

Tommaso Plamitesta, Avanti Performance

Lack of accountability

“Layered process audits driven from top management allows them to see acts of non-compliance in day-to-day activity.”


Defining Leadership

Quality professionals need to have leadership abilities (read Daniel Goleman on Leadership).

Karl Pallister, Sapphire Ballustrades


What you should do now: 

If you would like more information and advice from quality professionals on the global quality survey results, sign up for the newsletter. 

Alternatively, learn how EQMS can help you win leadership engagement and accelerate momentum towards your strategic goals by requesting a demonstration with one of our experts here. 

  Business Case builder

ISO 31000: Risk Management Principles

Posted by Michael Ord on Wed, Mar 22, 2017

ISO 31000 relies on the application of some core risk management principles. These are designed to illustrate the importance of risk within the context of the organisation, and will help you to understand why risk management is vital to business success.


Core Risk Management Principles

Core risk management principles PNG.png

Assessing risk enables you to create and protect value within your organisation. Identifying risks allows you to illustrate areas for improvement, align business goals with a more refined scope, and protect your assets (physical and intellectual).


How Risk Management Creates And Protects Value

Risk is often approached in a haphazard manner, when frameworks such as ISO 31000:2009 are not yet in place. This leads to higher costs associated with failures, which reduces the overall value of the organisation. Failures caused by poorly managed risks can also damage the reputation of an organisation, with the impact spreading much further than the initial risk failure.

For example, a manufacturer that does not check the quality of materials from a supplier could unknowingly create a sub-standard product. The far-reaching cost of this poorly managed risk extends to recall processes, replacements, refunds, machine downtime, delay in re-supply, and ongoing costs to reputation which could result in less new business and lost existing customers.

When risks are identified, action can be put in place to mitigate the damage should the risk occur. Risks can be more easily managed, and risk treatment plans will reduce the long-term cost of a risk occurrence.




More Efficiency, Greater Profit

Risk management creates value by helping an organisation to identify not only potential hazards to the business, but also possible opportunities.

A more efficient risk management process will impact on business operation: workplace risks can be removed to create a safe environment, or data controls put in place to simplify document access and reduce risk to stolen or corrupted data.

Creating a more efficient environment will naturally increase the profit margin of a smooth-running business. However, opportunities identified during risk management can also be implemented to further create value in an organisation.

For example, the understanding that sharing knowledge via a document hub is less risky than relying on one person to hold the knowledge for a process will lead to a more collaborative working environment. This knowledge share could open further innovative discussion for future profit opportunities, and will at the very least enable the organisation to maintain business continuity.


Next In The Series: Clause 5.2 – Leadership and Commitment: 11 Essential Steps

ISO 31000 Risk Management Toolkit

Tags: ISO 31000

Introduction to ISO / DIS 31000:2017

Posted by Emily Hill on Thu, Mar 16, 2017

ISO 31000 is the risk management framework designed to provide any organisation in any sector the guidelines to create a comprehensive risk assessment process.

You cannot achieve ISO 31000 accreditation as there is no certificate for this standard. It is, however, a useful Standard to adhere to for comprehensive risk management, and will also assist in the process for accreditation for further Standards such as ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 27001.




A Common Language

ISO 31000 provides an outline to risk principles, including an introduction to common vocabulary experienced in risk management processes.

By using the Standard as a guide to creating your risk management processes, the common language used will prevent miscommunication at any point, and create a greater strength of overall understanding.

ISO standards such as ISO 9001:2015 have changed the mindset of organisations towards risk-based thinking as a cultural issue rather than just the role of the quality team. This means a cultural shift including the responsibility of individuals across an organisation towards a risk aware culture. A common language improves the communication between staff regarding risk management and introduces the concept of risk as the responsibility of all rather than a small team.


A Framework, Not A Process

ISO 31000, like other Standards, addresses the ‘what’ far more than the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of implementing a Standard. The idea behind 31000 is to create a framework from which to build your risk management process: it is not an instruction on how to assess risk.

The flexibility of this framework means that it applies to any organisation, anywhere in the world, and of any size.


Benefits of ISO 31000

Key benefits of implementing ISO 31000 include:

  • Identify business, operational, external, internal, and workplace risks in a standardised process
  • Common understanding of risk principles across key stakeholders in an organisation
  • Realise potential opportunities
  • Identify risk appetite and risk culture of the organisation
  • Align business objectives based upon risk appetite
  • Introduce risk management concepts for transition to other Standards such as ISO 27001 and ISO 9001:2015
  • Allocate resources more efficiently aligned with perceived risk levels
  • More efficient business operation

There are many more individual benefits to implementing ISO 31000 depending on an organisation’s particular needs, environment, and lifecycle stage.


Coming Up In The Toolkit Series

You will learn the risk management principles, and discover how each key clause in ISO 31000 work together to deliver a comprehensive framework.

Next up in the series is Clause 4: Risk Management Principles For Value Creation And Protection.


ISO 31000 Risk Management Toolkit




Tags: ISO 31000

Continuous Improvement vs Operational Excellence: Kevin Duggan, Lean Expert [Interview]

Posted by Emily Hill on Wed, Mar 15, 2017

kevin duggan - august 2011 200x300jpg.jpgEvery day, Qualsys talks to Quality Leaders at manufacturing plants who want to eliminate waste and drive efficiency improvements.
One question we frequently get asked is "How can we make real change around here?" A question Kevin J Duggan, a world renowned expert in applying advanced lean techniques to achieve Operational Excellence has spent the last 20 years answering. 
We recently interviewed Duggan to share his experience of the challenges faced by manufacturers in high variety environments and why organisations should be focusing on Operational Excellence, rather than Continuous Improvement.
About Kevin Duggan: 
Duggan started his career as a Mechanical Engineer in the industrial manufacturing sector for some of the largest brands in America.
He soon realised that many of the manufacturing issues arose due to compartmentalised manufacturing processes, resulting in inefficiencies and a bumpy ride when bringing new products to market. 
High variety, high demand manufacturers were employing the lean "Toyota Model", but it wasn't working. The "Toyota Model" focuses on applying lean tools to fix business issues. But the tools only fixed problems incrementally - they didn't give the full picture. 
The Problem with Continuous Improvement
 The Continuous Improvement Journey2.jpg
Duggan explained that although lean tools do yield results over time, the results are only incremental. It is a much slower way to improve processes over time. 
Duggan says: "One of the biggest mistakes I see is when management and leadership try to drive Operational Excellence. Issues arise when management teams see the metrics and then control the initiatives. They say to employees 'Go fix this area' and throw resources, time and money at an issue.That philosophy is wrong. 

"It's a traditional lean approach and it results in two steps forward and one step back. Will it make your company better? Yes. But you won't get the big change you want. It will take years and years. 

"You need to start by breaking the myth of Continuous Improvement."

"Most manufacturing operations have used lean principles to eliminate waste and drive efficiency improvements. This process is then applied to another area of the operation: Management sets another goal, teams use lean tools to achieve it and then sustain the gains.” - Duggan

If not Continuous Improvement, where should manufacturers focus their efforts? 

"You need to design the whole company for Operational Excellence," Duggan says.  


"The destination of Operational Excellence is defined as “When each and every employee can see the flow of value to the customer, and fix that flow before it breaks down.”

- Duggan

"For Operational Excellence, you need to go beyond tools and think about the principles.
Design for operational excellence.png

"Design for Operational Excellence presents numerous examples that people who have been disappointed by purely technical approaches to operational challenges are bound to appreciate"- a blueprint for a joined up, end-to-end designed operation that makes operational excellence a reality. The book outlines the process of creating flow that every employee can see, and most importantly, fix without management intervention."

Read Duggan's book here

He continues: "Operational Excellence is about setting objectives. You need every employee to know where point B is and have a definition of Operational Excellence. Every employee needs to see the value they can add for a customer.
"And when leadership are no longer spending time fixing the flow, they can focus full time on offensive strategies.
"True Operational Excellence means visitors should be able to come in to your organisation and know what you're trying to achieve, without needing to ask questions."

What you should do now: 

If you want to accelerate change and focus on Operational Excellence, we would highly recommend reading Duggan's 4 books: 

Tags: Operational Excellence, Continuous Improvement

Controlling Documentation for FCA and PRA Compliance at Thomas Miller

Posted by Emily Hill on Wed, Mar 15, 2017

Thomas Miller is an independent and international provider of insurance, professional, and investment services. Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), a robust document management system is key for ensuring all sites are compliant.



Sarah Oliver, Quality Manager and Ines Cebrian, Quality Department Technician, recently shared their journey with EQMS and how the company are using the document management solution to deliver compliance and continuous quality improvement.

About Thomas Miller 

Thomas Miller is an independent and international provider of insurance, professional and investment services. Most of the businesses owned or managed are acknowledged leaders in their chosen market. Their extensive portfolio includes mutual organisations and, increasingly, specialist privately owned businesses.

Thomas Miller, Based on Fenchurch Street in London.pngImage: Thomas Miller Headquarters, Based on Fenchurch Street in London 



Why an Electronic Document Management System? 

Thomas Miller compliance.jpg

Image: Thomas Miller Offices   

Prior to EQMS, Thomas Miller used Lotus Notes and another quality management software solution to store all documentation for the entire group. However, the Lotus Notes platform was outdated and this made it difficult to control critical documentation. 

In a bid to gain greater control, integrate quality management, and drive stakeholder engagement, Thomas Miller opted for electronic quality management system by Qualsys, EQMS

“We chose EQMS because it gave us a lot of flexibility to configure the system exactly the way we wanted it, there was a lot of support, and the system did everything we needed it to.” Sarah Oliver, Quality Manager

Implementing EQMS 

As Thomas Miller is a mature, global and heavily-regulated organisation, migrating the documentation to EQMS was a significant project. Approximately 6,000 documents needed to be extracted from their existing Lotus Notes system, verified, and approved prior to migration to EQMS. 

“Migrating all the documentation from Lotus Notes took me about a year! But it was well worth getting it right. Now, all the documentation has dates set when it needs to be reviewed, making it much more manageable and we have centralised control over everything which goes into EQMS.” Ines Cebrián, Quality Department Technician 

This migration project gave Thomas Miller an opportunity to cleanse documentation, and set document control types and approval workflows.


Image: Ines Cebrian, Quality Department Technician 

When rolling out EQMS to all employees, Thomas Miller opted for a phased roll-out to ensure each site had the right level of training. 



“Simon Wells, EQMS Training Manager, was always well-prepared and provided all the support we needed during the implementation process.” Sarah Oliver, Quality Manager


 Thomas Miller Kidnap and Ransom.jpg


How EQMS is Being Used 

“EQMS is very easy to use, especially for an administrator. You can tailor document control types. The system gives us enormous amounts of flexibility: when we require a new functionality requirement we can ask Qualsys and they will make sure it happens.” Sarah Oliver, Quality Manager


Thomas Miller uses EQMS Document Manager for unshakeable control over critical documentation. Access forms, tax return forms, reminders and regulatory changes are all managed in EQMS. 


“Everyone knows where the forms are, anywhere, at any time. They know that all the information they need is up-to-date and ready to be used.” Sarah Oliver, Quality Manager


EQMS Audit and Inspection Manager is used toplan, schedule and manage audits. The module has been configured to manage all internal, risk-based, quality, claims and process audits.

Thomas Miller also gives their external auditors access to EQMS so they can see that the processes are there and being used, as well as being able to prepare in advance of an audit so that they don't need to spend as much time on-site - which is beneficial for everyone.


“We give external auditors access to EQMS and they can then see that all of the information is there beforehand. It really helps our auditor to quickly and efficiently review our processes.” Sarah Oliver, Quality Manager


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The results

Qualsys Ltd recently analysed user activity for Thomas Miller in their annual health check. This is a report which shows: 

  • Who logged in
  • When they logged in 
  • Activity on each module 
  • Opportunities for improvement 

We were surprised by how much activity there was on the system. The data showed great engagement with EQMS." Sarah Oliver, Quality Manager

The health check showed significant usage of the system across the multi-sites. However, it also showed where some employees are not currently using the system, highlighting opportunities to deliver more training. 


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What you should do now 

If your critical documentation is chaotic, download the EQMS Buying Toolkit for hundreds of useful resources to help you put together a business case for a document management system. 

Alternatively, for more information specifically about optimising your document management processes, see EQMS Document Manager in action here


business case



Tags: Case Studies

Hygiene Product Manufacturer, Brightwell Dispensers, Discusses EQMS Journey

Posted by Annie Grace on Tue, Mar 14, 2017

We caught up with Clare Atril, Group Compliance Officer at Brightwell Dispensers Ltd, a long-standing customer of EQMS, to see how business growth has affected quality processes, and why EQMS continues to be their tool of choice.

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Tell Us About Brightwell Dispensers Ltd

Brightwell is a member of Bright-Tech Investments Ltd, and has been using EQMS for many years alongside sister company, Whistle Stop Plastics.

Brightwell manufacture a broad range of hygiene products, such as chemical dilution systems, soap dispensers, and commercial dishwashers. Sister company Whistle Stop Plastics is a specialist plastics moulding company, and the two work closely together to deliver the broad range of hygiene products of the Bright-Tech Group across the globe.

Brightwell dispensers new haven.png

Image: Brightwell cleaning product manufacturer based in New Haven, East Sussex UK


With headquarters in Newhaven Town, and multiple other sites and distribution centres across the globe, Brightwell needed a solution which would centralise processes and documentation. 

Brightwell produce a wide range of hygiene products for commercial industries

Image: Brightwell manufactures hygiene products

Brightwell's History With EQMS

Brightwell have been with Qualsys for more than a decade, and the system is clearly making a difference to daily operations.

“We’ve had EQMS for more than 12 years now, so it’s an integrated part of our business. We are highly regulated, supplying cleaning dispensing systems to a broad range of customers, and having a quality system in place is essential to make our checks and compliance efficient.”


Overcoming Quality and Compliance Challenges With EQMS

EQMS has been an integral part of quality operations for Brightwell over the last decade, but times are changing – as is the attitude to quality:

“We want to transition to ISO 9001:2015 later this year, so it’s essential that everyone uses EQMS as part of their day-to-day activities. Previously, it was largely the responsibility of the quality team and some departmental managers, but to achieve full compliance and continue to commit to ongoing quality improvement it needs to expand across the organisation.

Being able to audit the system is very handy, as we can see who is using is – and who hasn’t been keeping their documentation up-to-date. It helps put responsibility for quality on the individual rather than be seen as the sole job of the quality team, and helps us towards ISO 9001:2015 compliance.”

Clare has also found that a handy feature in EQMS is the Broadcast. “I change the Broadcast message to remind people to do things, such as check their To Do list, and it helps smooth operation of the system.” The message is found at the top of every screen, and can be changed whenever required, allowing system administrators to tailor messages depending on the latest requirements.

 Brightwell supply all across the world

Image: Brightwell's Global presence and manufacturing sites through time

How Brightwell EQMS For Reporting

Brightwell need to be able to deliver regular – even daily – reports on a range of KPIs, such as:

  • Product conformity
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Despatch dates
  • External providers
  • Rejects from supplier

“We also have daily quality assurance checks. Rather than a single point check for quality, we are moving towards process-based checks. That means a whole line of processes is checked at the same time in order to pass QA checks, instead of just a single thing. It gives greater control in delivering quality as standard, and allows us to analyse areas to achieve continuous quality improvement.”



Image: EQMS KPI Dashboard


One of Clare’s favourite features in EQMS is the Dashboards function: with so many variables to report on, she needs a quick and visual way to represent quality data and the Dashboards provide this in real-time.

 Qualsys Account Manager Lynne Gregory discusses new EQMS modules with Clare

Image: Lynne Gregory, Qualsys Account Manager with Clare Atrill, Brightwell's Group Compliance Officer


The Future of EQMS at Brightwell

With a focus towards further quality standard implementation in the near future, including ISO 45001 and PAS 99, Clare says that EQMS will become a key player in achieving compliance even as the company continues to grow.

“Since the swine flu epidemic in 2009 Brightwell has experienced a boom and it’s not slowed down: companies are increasingly aware of their requirement to provide safe and sanitary environments and that’s where our products come in. The growth of the company is fantastic, but it does mean we need to lock down more business processes within EQMS if we want to be as efficient as possible.”

The culture change delivered by EQMS will be more noticeable, too, as the drive for ISO 9001:2015 transition puts responsibility on individuals.

“We want to be a paperless environment with more ownership over documents,” said Clare. At the moment, most users access EQMS Document Manager to navigate and find documentation, but the future phase will involve greater responsibilities surrounding version control and review dates, in order to achieve top compliance."



What you should do now 

For more information about how EQMS can provide an integrated quality management system for your organisation, request a free demonstration here. 

Alternatively, if you would like more information about how EQMS is being used by other companies, download the EQMS Buying Toolkit here


Request 30 minute EQMS Demonstration

Tags: EQMS, Case Studies