How to Manage Quality in Aras Innovator

How to Manage Quality in Aras Innovator

How do you manage quality, how does Aras manage quality, and how do you connect quality with engineering data to ensure it doesn’t sit alone a silo, not making a real difference?

Check out the answers below… and learn more at our ACE 2021 presentation, Plan and Track Quality Throughout the Digital Thread, complete with a demo and discussion delivered by our Product Manager for Quality Planning and Quality Systems applications:


How does your organization manage quality?

Proactive Quality: If you said “before there’s a problem,” you’re talking about quality planning: methods like Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) applied to the design phase (DFMEA) and the process planning phase (PFMEA) to analyze potential failures in a product and either design them out or design-in ways to mitigate them.

Reactive Quality: If you said “with careful, comprehensive corrective actions,” looking across systems (customer complaints, problem reports, manufacturing nonconformances, unexpected maintenance, etc.) for commonly-experienced failures, analyzing where their common root cause could be, and implementing both corrective and preventive measures to avoid them in the future, you’re talking about CAPAs: Corrective Action / Preventive Action plans.

Pervasive Quality: If you said “both”, you are thinking about quality as a holistic, full-product-lifecycle approach that needs to permeate all phases including requirements definition; system modeling; hardware, electronics, and software engineering processes; manufacturing; maintenance planning and execution; and even sustainment and retirement activities.


How does Aras manage quality?  

Proactive, Reactive, and Pervasive: Aras thinks about all 3 approaches, offering a complete Quality Management System (QMS) with unique applications for Quality Planning and Quality Systems that can be leveraged as a seamlessly integrated part of the product lifecycle in Aras Innovator PLM.

A Whole-Lifecycle Approach: Aras Innovator combines proactive approaches (DFMEA, PFMEA) with reactive ones (CAPA, PRs, nonconformances, maintenance issues, and more). Both types of approaches to quality can be tightly connected with parts information, manufacturing process planning, documents and other product information, workflows, and change management processes across one PLM platform. This allows quality to be designed-in and to persist as the product evolves.

Persistent Quality: With Aras, quality management never just happens in a silo, so it can be more than a “check in the box” used solely for compliance purposes. Rather, it serves as a strategic reference point that can be updated and evolved as products develop and change throughout their lifecycles. And when new, unexpected issues arise, quality management can feed information about problems, causes, solutions and improvements back to other teams across the lifecycle who need to address them. Potential issues defined early on in the product lifecycle can be traced throughout a product’s evolution to be sure they are appropriately mitigated; and new issues that arise can be managed and avoided both in the field and in next-generation products.


What PLM data should connect to quality?

The Digital Thread and Quality: The short answer? All of it. As a single platform capable of managing product information from the end-to-end product lifecycle, Aras Innovator allows quality information to be seamlessly connected with other product development information. This creates a Digital Thread of traceability and connectivity that allow changes in engineering and manufacturing data to alert quality and keep their teams always “in the loop”:

  • CAPA and Engineering Change: Problem reports can be generated from any issue you may face (customer complaints, manufacturing nonconformances, unexpected issues in maintenance and service) and connected with a Corrective Action / Preventive Action Plan (CAP) that includes standard steps in a CAPA process like hold / stop ship, root cause analysis in a variety of formats including 8D and 5Whys, corrective and preventive actions taken, and more. Or, this process can be easily configured to follow your organization’s unique steps. The output of a CAPA can be an Engineering Change to address the problem with a formal change process in Aras. Workflows can be applied across any step to collect an auditable trail of reviews, approvals, and sign-offs. 
  • Design Quality and Parts Data: A design FMEA is based on parts information, analyzing the risks associated with all the ways a child part could fail and its effects on higher-level parent components throughout the system. In Aras Innovator, fields in an FMEA can be directly linked with part information. This means, when parts information changes, the quality team can be alerted to the change, connect directly with the part, and evaluate whether or not the change impacts the quality analysis and requires an update across the FMEA.
  • Process Quality and Production Steps: Manufacturing Process Planning in Aras Innovator takes a process-oriented approach, allowing the user to build the process steps first and add manufacturing parts to them; or build the mBOM first and add process steps once it’s built. The two approaches work together, allowing for a hybrid approach that meets users’ needs. From a quality perspective, this means that steps in the process plan can be linked with steps in a Process FMEA on the platform, and alert the quality user when a manufacturing process step has been changed or updated: similar to how a change in parts alerts users in the Design FMEA that the quality analysis may need to be updated.
  • Closed-Loop Quality: When the output of a CAPA introduces a new potential risk that the Design or Process FMEA did not anticipate, the “Preventive Action” step can also indicate the need to update the DFMEA or PFMEA. This “closes the loop” for the quality team, structuring a systematic, automated, and accountable feedback loop that ensures every quality issue is captured as a potential future risk for analysis and mitigation in next-generation products.

A Platform Approach to Quality: What difference does a platform make? The Aras Innovator platform has these connections built-in because it offers a common set of services across all of its applications—one foundational technology that all applications draw from to create a common user experience, a fully connected data model, centralized ways to manage communication, visualization, change and configuration, and more. A platform offers more than “integrated” applications—it offers the feel of one, seamless application environment encompassing quality, engineering, manufacturing, systems models, requirements, simulation management, digital twins, and so on.

Quality Your Way: It also means that Quality Management Systems (including the whole scope of quality functionality: proactive, reactive, and these in-depth connections across our applications) in Aras Innovator can be fully customized to meet your unique business processes.

  • Compliance You Define: For example, FMEAs can point to requirements and elements of systems models managed in Aras—functional and logical elements—instead of being linked to parts. This fulfills a more functional approach to the FMEA: an approach that is more and more common given the advance of complex, highly technical products relying on systems models that weave the inner workings of software, electrical/electronic, and mechanical functionality together before a single physical engineering part is ever selected or designed. To see a demonstration of this, don’t miss our ACE demo session.
  • Digital and Physical Verification: It also means that quality analyses and quality management processes can point to Simulation data managed in Aras Innovator as virtual verification steps, to test the design virtually and to keep a record of its success, creating another layer of “closed loop quality” and digital verification to demonstrate accountability to a quality plan.
  • Evolving Quality Applications: And, it means that our platform will never stop evolving with you: as your needs for quality connected with product lifecycle information and process steps evolves, you can continually advance the way Aras Innovator captures your quality information and matches your unique steps toward better managing quality across the lifecycle.


Where can you learn more?

Check out the ACE session, Plan and Track Quality Throughout the Digital Threadat our digital event this April to see a demonstration of Quality Management Systems in Aras and how the platform can be customized and configured to meet the evolving needs for quality management in your industry.