Anixter Fasteners, the world’s leading supplier of industrial fasteners and C-class components to a wide range of industries, has implemented a tailored enterprise-wide business management system as a unified, single platform solution for quality management. Operating over 60 sites worldwide and part of the $6 billion Anixter Inc organisation, quality management is a keystone to Anixter Fasteners’ global business success.
Although an essential element for Anixter Fasteners, quality management has not always been an easy process to manage. This is not unexpected for an organisation of this scale that has 60+ sites, many of which include acquired businesses and all with their own particular quality management systems (QMS) and operating platforms. Such was the situation facing Adrian Lloyd when he took on the role of Global Quality Systems Manager.
Finding a solution to address the integration of all the different QMSs – and the mind-boggling number of records and documents they contained – into a single, scalable and flexible system would be a mammoth task. To attain his goal Adrian Lloyd would require the cooperation of all the various offices and personnel. In addition, he would need the full support of a meticulous IS department that would quarantine and test any new solution he proposed to run on the organisation’s extensive network.
“My role was, and remains, to bring all our quality management into one place so that we could develop a single company-wide repository and resource for quality information. We looked at several different systems applicable to our size of business and we settled on Proquis Enterprise with the allCLEAR process mapping tool as the solution to producing a cohesive QMS,” says Adrian Lloyd.
Anixter Fasteners purchased Proquis Enterprise with allCLEAR process mapping in January 2007. Proquis supplied a range of tailored modules that would underpin the fastener company’s quality management approach and its ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 14001 (Environmental) and ISO 18001 (Occupational Health & Safety) accreditations. In total the company bought 8 modules:
· Audit Management
· Customer Care
· Document Control
· Equipment Control
· Health & Safety
· Issues & Actions
· Personnel Management
· Supplier Control
The software was tested for 6 months by the Anixter IS department, with further testing by the quality management department prior to final configuration. The system went live in January 2008.
“We are now using and benefiting from the majority of the Proquis modules, including Audit Management, Document Control, Customer Care, Supplier Control, Issues & Actions – which links across all the modules and, to some extent, Personnel Management,” says Adrian Lloyd.
The Audit module is fully implemented for internal auditing. This is paying dividends in allowing the quality management team to take control of site audits. “We can schedule audits from a central point and easily assign auditors to sites. Via Proquis, we are able to see exactly what is going on for each audit. Moreover, we have been able to standardise on the audit procedure across the Group and establish common questionnaires and common scoring methods, completely replacing idiosyncratic practices prior to Proquis QMS,” says Adrian Lloyd.
“The system has helped us to establish and implement escalation rules for closing out issues. If these are not followed and the issues remedied, then managers are alerted of the outstanding work. In all this has given us access to a highly visible workflow that we never had before,” he adds.
A business on the scale of Anixter Fasteners generates massive amounts of documentation but with the Proquis Document Control module mountains of spreadsheets and manual records have been levelled.
“We now have an automated approvals process with all documents held in a single repository. This saves a lot of time in finding the right document, making changes and gaining approval for those changes. We simply don’t need to keep manual records anymore as we can view all superseded documents within the system,” says Adrian Lloyd. “This is a fantastic development for us as it means that instead of trying to manage and use 9 different paper based quality systems, the team members are able to use their time to develop standardised schemes that we can roll out across the entire company.”
With the massive range of products that Anixter Fasteners provides, supplier management is paramount to quality management. “We had 6 different systems populated with supplier data. This took repetition to the extreme. With Proquis Supplier Control, we have reined this in and have taken a lot of time to clean up the data. Now we have 4997 clean records on Proquis. The flexibility of the system has allowed us to configure this module to support our supply chain development programme and we are currently populating the system with further supplier data such as credentials, capabilities, and certification. It will give us a complete view of everyone we work with throughout the world,” he says.
A major boost to efficiency and productivity has been delivered by the allCLEAR process mapping tool. This enables process maps to be formed using text alone, using punctuation to determine the box type. This is far quicker and more efficient than drawing the boxes as required by other softwares. allCLEAR also provides the facility to multi-layer processes and link one to another, allowing management systems to be truly integrated.
Proquis has also allowed the quality team to assign ownership to particular documents, which has provided additional time savings by streamlining the way documents can be worked on and updated.
“Proquis provides us with the ability to engage other departments by allowing them to update documentation themselves. They no longer need to send everything back to Quality Management for amending. The system allows full traceability and so all changes to documentation can be tracked to the originator of each and every amendment,” says Adrian Lloyd.
Six months of use has provided Anixter Fasteners with benefits that will maintain its drive on quality management and strengthened its competitive edge. Once the remaining modules have been implemented the system will be tempered further and will deliver more operational benefits.