iqs Software GmbH
DE-77815 Bühl (Baden)
Tel: +49 7223 28148-0
Fax: +49 7223 28148-100
25 years ago, Dr. Siegfried Schmalz founded iqs Software GmbH in Bühlertal, Baden, which he now runs together with the two other managing directors Stefan Weber and Ulrich Mangold. What began on October 5, 1995 with a vision and three employees in a granny apartment has since developed into a leading software company for quality management in the international automotive industry. The company now employs 60 people at its headquarters in Bühl.
High quality and cost pressure
"There is hardly any other industry that is subject to such high quality and cost pressure as the automotive supply industry," explains Managing Director Dr. Siegfried Schmalz. "Defect-free goods are demanded from supplier companies in a global, highly competitive market. Our CAQ system offers companies optimal support in the area of quality management," adds Ulrich Mangold.
The founding members of iqs had themselves worked for many years in quality management at a large corporation in the supplier industry and therefore knew the problems of the automotive industry very well from their own experience. Schmalz: "There were many open questions. How do you reduce administrative activities? How do you digitize quality processes to ultimately save costs and effort and, above all, improve quality? At that time, we already had the vision of solving the problems holistically through error prevention in a sustainable way."
Principle of control loop and error prevention
This was then also the key to success, because the principle of error prevention was always in focus during the development of the CAQ modules. "During the entire product development process, the company's knowledge increases. This knowledge is invaluable when it is actively used for process and product optimization," explains Schmalz. And this is exactly where iqs' technology comes in: Causes of errors, complaints and information flow back into the individual CAQ modules and trigger appropriate measures. Mangold: "In this way, a consistent control loop is created that leads to a significant reduction in costs and increase in quality."
The first resounding success was the development of the initial sample inspection report with automatic drawing stamping in 1996. To this day, iqs is the leader in this technology and sets the standard. This was followed in 1998 by the concept of the Integrated Manufacturing Plan. Its special feature: FMEA, inspection plan and control plan have a common database. This enables simultaneous processing of the manufacturing documents. As a result, document maintenance is significantly faster in the event of necessary changes or adjustments to the inspection plans.
Inheritance makes FMEA controllable
In addition, the so-called inheritance technique was developed. Through inheritance and the reuse of building blocks, similarities of products or processes can be used for the simple creation of further FMEAs. If a building block that is relevant in different overall processes is changed, the affected FMEAs no longer have to be maintained manually, but are adjusted automatically. "This makes the complexity of the FMEA manageable and can be used efficiently," says Schmalz.
As success grew, so did the workforce. Even during the economic crisis of 2008/2009, iqs remained on a continuous growth course. Through the expansion of development, support and sales, the number of employees continued to grow, so that a move and the expansion of the company building by 650 m² were necessary. Today, customers include not only OEMs but also major global corporations. However, the software is also used very successfully by many small and medium-sized companies, for which iqs develops individual solutions.
Focus on training
In addition, iqs is also aware of its responsibility when it comes to training and invests in the future here. "Our junior staff is very important to us," explains Stefan Weber. As a recognized IHK (Chamber of Industry and Commerce) training company and an approved company for the DHBW dual study program, iqs annually trains employees in the area of application development and, as of this year, also offers the apprenticeships of IT system management clerk and IT specialist for data and process analysis for the first time.
Despite the continuing success and the increased number of employees, the company still has a very family atmosphere. This is evidenced by the many joint events, such as the end of trade fairs, Christmas parties and summer festivals, to which all employees are always invited.
Asked about a look into the future, Schmalz sees iqs as far from reaching its goal: "Development continues. Our ambition is to position iqs as the leading standard solution for the digitization of quality processes in industrial production. In particular, we want to set standards in the area of supply chain, i.e. in the exchange of quality information across company boundaries."