Quality teams should be an important part of any engineering change process. This brief, 4-minute video—the second in our Change Management series—shows how Aras Innovator connects Quality and Engineering organizations with built-in functionality:


Why is this connection so important? Too often, engineering and quality organizations manage their data in different software systems. This lack of built-in visibility and communication can leave the two teams resorting to ad hoc processes to exchange data. This means they could miss pervasive quality issues and even end up doing repeat work—which doesn’t help anyone solve quality problems faster.

In the first installment of this Change Management Video Series, you saw how both formal and informal change processes are managed as part of the product’s digital record in Aras Innovator. But did you know that Quality teams can be an integral part of the change process in Aras without any customization needed? The benefits to companies of automating communication, centralizing data, and standardizing processes between engineering and quality organizations are significant.

Let’s see how Aras delivers these benefits.  

Benefit 1: Connect Problems with Solutions

Your quality team is tasked with resolving product and process quality issues for your company. But when problems are stored in engineering software, and their solutions are generated in quality software, additional steps—like emails, external communication tools, ad hoc reporting, and even costly, time-consuming software customizations—are often needed to connect the two. If processes aren’t automated, centralized, and repeatable, quality issues can slip through the cracks.

Aras comes with a built-in link between engineering change objects and quality processes. From engineering change items, like Problem Reports, you can choose an existing Corrective Action Plan to link to, or simply kick off a new one. Quality teams can navigate to engineering data directly linked with quality planning and quality management processes, without any customization needed in Aras Innovator. These include DFMEA and PFMEA (Design or Process Failure Modes and Effects Analysis) items and a comprehensive, 8D-compliant CAPA (Corrective Action / Preventive Action) process connected to a host of supporting items in the software (nonconformance reports, audits, deviations, waivers, stop ship / purge notices, and more). Likewise, engineering users can easily navigate to a complete view of quality planning and quality management processes related to the parts and other information they’re working on as part of an Engineering Change process. Sharing information seamlessly from engineering, to quality, and back again during the change process is key to boosting product and process quality for organizations.

Benefit 2: Address Quality Issues across the Lifecycle

The thing about quality problems is that they can show up anywhere: from scheduled maintenance, customer feedback, manufacturing inspections, product testing, routine audits, and more. In fact, one quality issue may show up in different ways across several of these different stages in a product’s lifecycle, even if each issue stems from the same root cause. When issues are recorded and addressed in separate software systems, with no visibility from one set of data into the others, your teams risk not recognizing the pervasiveness of a problem. Alternately, if multiple teams diligently pursue every issue without visibility into what their colleagues in another part of the lifecycle are doing, your company could be wasting time and money to investigate, find, and correct the same root cause with redundant efforts.

The first step in a Corrective Action Plan in Aras Innovator is to link the plan with Quality Events either housed in the system or generated during the process. A built-in search of all the Quality issues housed in Aras lets you investigate and select any number of events to be addressed by one Corrective Action. This search includes events that could have originated anywhere throughout the product’s lifecycle, starting with Problem Reports, Nonconformance Reports, and Audit Findings and easily extensible, with configuration by your System Administrator, to other quality-related data that your teams track and manage, including items federated from external software tools.

Benefit 3: Close the Loop on Quality Issues

Because quality management and quality planning occurs in the same system with engineering, preventing an issue from recurring might include launching an Engineering Change Order to improve it – and initiating an update to a Design Quality Document or Process Quality Document. This closes the loop for engineering, by including quality in the Change Process to ensure all issues are addressed across the lifecycle and in future designs. Plus, with quality and engineering data managed in one system, workflows can easily be configured to include Quality and Engineering roles, and are available for all Quality items in Aras Innovator, from Containment Actions and Root Cause Analysis to Corrective and Preventive Actions.

This connection also closes the loop for product and process quality with built-in reuse for the quality team. A root cause uncovered through the CAPA process, run on a problem reported by engineering, can be associated with the failure mode it pertains to in a quality planning document: an FMEA. In other words, the process ensures the engineering change is initiated to design and the quality team updates their design records to prevent anyone from “designing-in” the same mistake again. “Lessons learned” are built right into the tool, with quality libraries, like the Cause discovered via Root Cause Analysis, storing and managing items for re-use. When a Cause discovered in analysis is linked to a Cause field in the FMEA, the platform enforces the relationship between the two. It flags the user when the reference changes, to help both quality and engineering teams improve process standardization and reuse, and keeping the loop closed for good.

See how quality and engineering can be closely integrated during a change process in this brief, 4-minute video. Then, stay tuned for the next installment in our series, which will overview complex change workflows in Aras Innovator. Or, learn more in the recent Aras Innovator Demo Series, Optimizing Your Product Development Process with Collaborative Change Management.