Companies dedicated to quality management handle stacks of documents on a daily basis, therefore digitizing paperwork will simplify the overall business activity. As part of this digital transformation, electronic signatures can be used as a tool for different case scenarios. Below we describe the most common ones.
Today, the work of QMS firms is even more important as society demands more health security, both for products and workers of a company.
Thus, deploying quality systems is the best way to achieve this. Furthermore, quality is nowadays a key asset for companies seeking growth.
Therefore, we make sure that we offer products and services that really cover the needs of our clients. This prevents errors and increases the efficiency of all processes.
All of this makes quality consulting firms to consider streamlining their work to meet demand without losing excellence in their work. Employing electronic signatures is a very interesting alternative. Let us bring you some of its uses.
What is the role of quality management firms?
Having a quality certification will basically mean that a company is able to differentiate from its competitors, thus providing confidence to its target audience. It may also be the case that the company is required to have a specific quality certification in order to carry out certain tasks.
It should be noted that many companies already have different quality certificates, therefore not having some of these certificates implies being one step below competitors.
It is likely that large companies have specialized workers who manage quality related aspects.
However, SMEs with more limited resources and large companies that do not have quality experts on their staff may opt to seek quality consulting services.
These entities are responsible for verifying that companies meet the requirements set by the various quality standards for which they seek accreditation. A quality consultant is key when carrying out internal audits prior to the external audit, which will decide whether or not the company will achieve the desired certification.
4 applications of electronic signatures in quality management consulting firms
1- Signing agreements with customers
A quality consulting company can have a large portfolio of clients. These clients can be spread all over the country or they can even be companies with global presence. Therefore, we are talking about different types of agreements.
Digital signatures enable users to sign these documents remotely and safely, avoiding unnecessary travel of signers.
In addition, remote signatures enable to set signature workflows involving several parties, each of them located in a different place.
2.- Planning quality audits
A very important stage when auditing a company is to plan the process. A quality audit usually involves an in-depth analysis of a significant number of aspects, so that practically the whole company or a good part of it will be involved.
Therefore, to coordinate the whole audit process, we must define deadlines, people in charge and employees who will be involved. This is a task which may require us to sign permissions and other documents related to this procedure.
Digital signatures simplify the signing of these documents. Bulk signing allows us to sign several documents in one go. Signature workflows are also useful if several signers want to sign the same document.
3.- Signing audit reports
When the time comes to audit the company, many important variables will be assessed in detail. Everything involved in the audit must be documented, as well as the writing of a final report.
This involves dealing with stacks of documents, which makes it uncomfortable for auditors when doing their work.
To solve this issue, auditors can use devices like tablets to take notes and prepare the necessary documents.
Is best that these type of documents are signed electronically. Biometric signatures can be collected on pads and are very useful in these cases.
An auditor knows what data must be collected during the inspection, therefore the benefits of using smart forms are also noteworthy. They streamline data recording while preventing the entering of wrong information.
4.- Signing internal documentation
There are many points in common between a quality consulting firm and other companies. They have regular departments that include the accounting, administration, HR, marketing, sales department, etc.
This means that they generate a lot of internal documentation, especially if it’s a consulting firm with high turnover.
Digital tools speed up the signing of labor contracts, terminations, layoffs, financial statements or documents related to the Administration. Both our digital signature folder and cloud based management of digital certificates are clear examples, among others.
We hope that this article has provided you with some guidance on the potential of electronic signatures for quality consulting firms. There is no way that this article can cover all documents that can be signed electronically.
For example, ISO 9001:2015 for Quality Management Systems, requires the following the documents to be signed:
- Quality policies.
- Quality objectives.
- Quality Management Systems handbooks.
- Records related to documentation management.
This is just one out of a very long list of established standards, some of which are cross-sectional for any type of business, while others are more focused on production activities.
Despite this large list, electronic signatures are compatible with all these standards, as document management is present in all of them.