Return Material Authorization (RMA) Q&A with IQMS

Using the IQMS Return Material Authorization moduleI recently sat down with IQMS’ Director of Manufacturing, Neil Gow, to chat about how IQMS utilizes the IQMS ERP Return Material Authorization (RMA) module.

Unlike many other ERP vendors, IQMS prides itself on using the software that we sell every day. IQMS ERP runs our business, just as it runs our clients’ businesses. And while RMAs are not something that any company enjoys, they are sometimes unavoidable, and you need a traceable, consistent way to handle them.

Return Material Authorization Module in IQMS ERP

First, a little overview of the program: The RMA module within IQMS ERP is designed to provide detailed traceability for both customer and supplier returns. The RMA module is completely integrated with the other Enterprise modules, including CRM, quality (CAR/CAPA/MRB), inventory and sales orders.

Users can assign return request numbers and return codes, as well as associate documents to the RMA upon notification of the return. Once the product is received, users can select whether or not to affect inventory and designate the item as scrap, repair or return it to specific inventory locations.

Finally, users can create repair work orders with assigned materials and labor, then place the work order directly on the schedule.


Nicole: What sort of RMAs do we receive here at IQMS?

Neil: In general, our most common type of RMAs are from natural wear and tear on the hardware used in our RealTime™ line of products , but the system is designed to handle non-physical items too, like licensing. Hardware support is covered in our customers’ annual maintenance fees, so as long as it is not negligence, then IQMS works diligently to replace any broken parts.

Nicole: What is your favorite feature of the RMA module?

Neil: It would have to be the linking functionality. IQMS ERP is a comprehensive software solution, meaning that every module (from CRM to quality to inventory to accounting) is completely integrated. We use no third-party or bolt-on programs or interfaces, so everything you need is connected. Our clients with strict quality requirements especially dig this functionality because they can generate CARs, CAPAs and MRBs right from the RMA screen with total traceability.

A typical RMA process begins with a customer calling into our technical support department. Our specialists record detailed information right into the customer’s account through the CRM module. We capture plant, machine, shift details, etc. All these notes go into CRM and over time, we can look for patterns behind recurring RMAs.

The linking capability allows my department to be proactive problem solvers and answer the sometimes larger problems behind RMAs, such as: Why does our customer’s work center No. 2 seem to short out its RealTime™ MIU every few months?

Nicole: What would you do without an RMA tool?

Neil: Oh man, without an RMA program, you would have no traceability! We would probably be using spreadsheets! At IQMS, we work hard to provide superior customer service and part of that includes shipping out a good part before we have received in the broken part. Time is money in manufacturing and we understand that our clients cannot afford to be down, so we ship out what they need almost immediately after we receive the call about a broken part.

If we did not have the RMA module within IQMS ERP, there is no way we could offer that service. We would have to wait until the bad part arrived, thoroughly test it and then send out a repaired or new part.

The RMA module in IQMS ERP allows us to create a Sales Order for the new part and then when the bad part is received, we just create a credit memo within the RMA module and it all balances out. If for some reason we don’t receive the broken part within 30 days, then we invoice the customer for the good part we sent out. But we never really get burned.

In the end, the RMA module allows us to make it right immediately and solve the client’s problem up front, for a better customer experience and service that we can be proud of.

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For more than 25 years, IQMS has been designing and developing manufacturing ERP software for the repetitive, process and discrete industries. Today, IQMS provides a comprehensive real-time ERP software and MES solution to the automotive, medical, packaging, consumer goods and other manufacturing markets. The extended single-database enterprise software solution, EnterpriseIQ, offers a scalable system designed to grow with the client and complete business functionality, including accounting, quality control, supply chain, shop floor, CRM and eBusiness. With offices across North America, Europe and Asia, IQMS serves manufacturers around the world. For more information, please visit