QSE Manager John McMullen discusses how Audit Manager
helps A.G. Barr more effectively plan and follow up on audits
Qualsys: Before we discuss your first week with Audit Manager, could you tell us how you've been using Issue Manager?
Harry: Currently we use it for handling our customer and consumer feedback and complaints. Obviously it's so flexible with the data fields and workflow that we plan to use it for a variety of things in future, like tackling issues before they even reach the consumer by logging what gets spotted internally and setting corrective actions at the source. But right now it's purely for managing our relationship with the customer.
After the SNP's seat surge in 2015, Irn-Bru sales
within Parliament increased by 60%
Qualsys: What sort of complaints are we talking about? Problems with taste, packaging and so on?
Harry: It's all of those. Like any food and drink manufacturer, we can get complaints about taste of product, packaging, labelling, short fills, damage. We occasionally get enquiries about stockists too from the general consumer.
Once we have all the details from the customer, we fire that over as an issue to the quality team from them to investigate and close out, with some root cause analysis to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Over time we'll see those complaints begin to decrease, and as we expand our market share and introduce new products, EQMS has been a great system to help us manage that data.
The functionality is absolutely what we were looking for - and we're really looking forward to Version 7.
Alongside Irn-Bru, A.G. Barr also manufacture international brands
like Rockstar, Rubicon and Strathmore Spring Water
Qualsys: What's the big measure of success for using our software over the next, say, year or so?
Harry: Well, we want to drive our complaint KPIs down: number of complaints and time to resolve.
The system is also helping us identify issues and making sure there's full ownership in resolving them. And the big benefit, I think, will come from Audit Manager - in the past that's where the biggest gaps were. There was no drive to close out actions, they were just moved from one spreadsheet to another.
Audit Manager will help us track all that information and the reminder functionality and escalation paths will drive that positive behaviour to continuous improvement.
A.G. Barr are using Audit Manager's reminder, escalation and calendar features for a standardised, multi-site auditing programme with full staff engagement
Even after a week, we've already seen that. We've only added one specific audit type into the system so far, but there's been a noticeable difference in raising the profile of the outstanding actions.
That's meant there's a behaviour now to close out those actions, because the system alerts and reminds them. Before, the actions would've just sat in a spreadsheet from month to month. Now there's interest and engagement and we're seeing actions being closed out.
There's even interest and engagement at a higher level; the audit type we've set up is used by an external auditing firm so there are senior managers, even directors, involved with the system, and they've all been impressed by what the system can do.
Harry discusses the time savings provided by EQMS
Even after a week, we've already seen a noticeable difference in raising the profile of the outstanding actions. There's a behaviour now to close out those actions, because the system alerts and reminds them. Before, the actions would've just sat in a spreadsheet from month to month.
Qualsys: What do you think the impact of that behaviour change will be?
Harry: It should make the company stronger in terms of being audit-ready and being proactive with issues. We've only added one audit type into Audit Manager, so it'll only get stronger as we add quality audits, HACCP audits, safety audits and so on into there. That's the big push. That's next.
Document Manager was our first module and having that proper document control in place now, with reminders and workflows for document owners, has made a big difference as well.
There are senior managers, even directors, involved with the system, and they've all been impressed by what the system can do.
We have so many people creating documents at A.G. Barr and they weren't really easy to find at all before we found Qualsys. EQMS is now our library for all live documentation, which again has improved behaviour. We had Google Drive before, so you could argue we did have a document management system, but there was a cultural problem with training people to use that properly.
I just feel EQMS is a much better place for live documents.
Qualsys: What's next for your use of EQMS?
I've enjoyed working with the team at Qualsys. Really friendly bunch, always looking to solve problems. Rob Needham [Technical Director], Dave [Beard, Service Implementation Manager], Declan [Webster, Product Delivery Manager], and so on. Whenever I come down to Sheffield for a workshop, it's always a really good day.
I feel I'm embedded and I've got a good working relationship with the team. That's really exceeded my expectations. I'm keen to grow the system.
See how Diageo produce Scotland's other national drink with the help of EQMS by reading the case study post.
Or access our food and drink datasheet to learn how Qualsys's software modules are used by companies worldwide to build BRC- and ISO-compliant electronic food safety management systems.