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QIMAone: an open and collaborative platform to manage supply chain quality and compliance

About QIMA

QIMA is on a mission to offer clients smart solutions to make products consumers can trust. It combines on-the-ground experts in 85 countries for supply chain inspections, audits, certification, and lab testing, with a digital platform that brings intelligence for quality and compliance data.

Industries: Manufacturing
Location: Hong Kong

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QIMA partnered with Google Cloud to build QIMAone, its new software solution, which digitizes quality control processes and gives brands a 360-degree view of the product journey in the supply chain.

Google Cloud results

  • Scales up to meet growing global client base
  • Secures and automatically backs up valuable data
  • Enables flexible and reliable software development
  • Frees developers to focus on delivering customer value
  • Enables seamless collaboration between colleagues

Built from the ground up using Google Cloud solutions

Great brands are built on a simple foundation: trust. Consumers, in particular, must trust the quality of what they’re buying. Many brands prioritize convenience and value for money for their customers. But if they don’t maintain the overall quality of their products, from the factory line to the shopping aisle, they risk losing valued customers. And a lot of money. In 2020, consumers returned an estimated $428 billion worth of merchandise in the U.S. alone. Meanwhile, the various challenges to supply chains and quality control caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have forced businesses to rapidly adapt to a new reality.

“We researched the cloud computing market extensively, and Google Cloud was clearly the best fit for QIMAone. That decision was based on a variety of factors but, as an agile digital-native project, the flexibility Google Cloud offered was paramount.”

Damien Tampé, Chief Technology Officer, QIMA

That’s why QIMA helps brands, retailers, and manufacturers get a 360-degree view of their product journey, so they can see upcoming challenges and seize opportunities to stay one step ahead. To realize this goal, QIMA created QIMAone, an open and collaborative platform to provide unified quality and compliance data to brands and suppliers, which also minimizes disruption, increases visibility, and drives continuous improvement. QIMA needed a strategic partner capable of providing the foundation of its technological platform to power such an ambitious project. It turned to Google Cloud for the solution to this challenge.

“We researched the cloud computing market extensively, and Google Cloud was clearly the best fit for QIMAone,” says Damien Tampé, Chief Technology Officer, QIMA. “That decision was based on a variety of factors but, as an agile digital-native project, the flexibility Google Cloud offered was paramount.”

Digitizing the product journey every step of the way

QIMA began life in Hong Kong in 2005, disrupting the quality-control industry by taking it online. It was the first company to offer service booking, reports, and analytics from the convenience of an online account and mobile app. QIMA now has a client base of more than 15,000 brands, retailers, and manufacturers worldwide, with a specific focus on markets in the Americas, Western Europe, and Asia. It introduced QIMAone to the world in 2020, further empowering brands, retailers, and manufacturers with real-time collaboration and actionable data.

“QIMAone is a collaborative platform that improves quality and compliance management between brands and their suppliers globally,” says Tampé. “Enhancing the collaboration in these supply networks is really important because many businesses don’t know their suppliers that well. In Q2-2021, we ran a survey that revealed that 77% of the businesses had blind spots in their supply chains. QIMAone helps bring all of the players on the supply chain together, to shine a light on these previously obscured areas.”

Collaboration is at the core of QIMAone, beginning with the partnership between QIMA and Google Cloud. QIMA built QIMAone from the ground up using Google Cloud solutions. The first early steps were taken in 2019, when the company began using Kubernetes as one of the principal building blocks for its new software. QIMA then went to work on creating its software, built on more than 15 years of experience in rolling out quality and compliance management programs with thousands of clients.

“Google Kubernetes Engine, which we believe is the best managed Kubernetes solution out there, has really helped us to optimize QIMAone. A particular game changer for us is the workload identity feature, which simplifies our permission restriction for services that run inside Kubernetes.”

Damien Tampé, Chief Technology Officer, QIMA

Empowering flexible and scalable software development

When QIMA adopted Google Cloud to help create QIMAone, it quickly realized that it could create a fast, efficient software factory that enabled it to focus on delivering the best results for its clients. Google Kubernetes Engine, in conjunction with Artifact Registry, was one of the key building blocks for making this happen.

“Google Kubernetes Engine, which we believe is the best managed Kubernetes solution out there, has really helped us to optimize QIMAone,” explains Tampé. “A particular game-changer for us is the Workload Identity feature, which simplifies our permission restriction for services that run inside Kubernetes.”

Due to the international reach of its business, the QIMAone team runs multiple regional clusters with Google Kubernetes Engine for efficient delivery of its services. The flexibility and scalability of Google Kubernetes Engine powers the expansion of QIMAone globally, while also bringing financial benefits. Tampé adds: “With our development and staging environment also running in Google Kubernetes Engine as preemptable hardware, we’re able to scale our infrastructure up or down to match the activities of each of our development teams and keep down costs when it’s no longer needed.”

Ensuring peak performance and security

Another key factor for the successful operation of QIMAone is ensuring high availability for its users, while ensuring that data privacy is secured. Here too, Google Kubernetes Engine plays a crucial role. QIMAone runs multiple instances of each of its services through Google Kubernetes Engine, ensuring that QIMAone can withstand tolerable levels of service disruption without any impact on its clients' access. The Google Cloud operations suite and Cloud Logging, meanwhile, enable QIMAone to effectively monitor the performance of its entire Google Cloud environment.

Performance and security are also vital when it comes to data. The main QIMAone databases run in Cloud SQL with database files stored in Cloud Storage. Cloud Functions is used to offload event-based processes that don’t require intensive resources, such as the generation of PDFs for data reports.

“We trust in Google Cloud when it comes to hardware and infrastructure encryption, and we are able to use the Security Command Center to keep an eye on things,” Tampé says. “We also enjoy the simplicity of the tools Google Cloud provides to protect our data, particularly for automatic backup and point-in-time recovery in Cloud SQL.”

“Google Cloud has so many features that make a developer’s life easier, and we don’t have to worry about implementing security patches or managing licenses. That means we can focus on delivering value to our clients, rather than investing in infrastructure and operations.”

Damien Tampé, Chief Technology Officer, QIMA

Enabling seamless collaboration and productivity

Adopting Google Cloud has also led to benefits for QIMAone when it comes to collaboration and productivity. A key attraction when choosing Google Cloud as a technology platform was its simplicity, Tampé adds. He and the QIMAone team say they have been particularly impressed by the ease with which colleagues have gotten to grips with the Google Cloud back end, as well as the lack of maintenance required and the range of features they have been able to quickly adopt.

“Google Cloud has so many features that make a developer’s life easier, and we don’t have to worry about implementing security patches or managing licenses,” says Tampé. “That means we can focus on delivering value to our clients, rather than investing in infrastructure and operations. We now have dozens of developers at work, compared to just three tech ops who keep our infrastructure running.”

Another tool that's proved particularly helpful for QIMAone colleagues is Virtual Private Cloud. This has enabled colleagues to seamlessly share resources across different projects and environments and it allows the QIMAone team to effectively manage its network subnets and policies for each project.

Looking to the future

QIMAone is rapidly adopted by brands, importers, and manufacturers globally. Tampé and the team believe that Google Cloud will continue to help with this growth, particularly when it comes to scaling up their operations and continuing to find better ways of working.

Tampé adds: “Google is launching new services and features all the time, which is something we really appreciate. We’re always looking for ways that it can improve our productivity and efficiency, as well as connecting to other platforms more easily while guaranteeing a very high level of reliability and security.”

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About QIMA

QIMA is on a mission to offer clients smart solutions to make products consumers can trust. It combines on-the-ground experts in 85 countries for supply chain inspections, audits, certification, and lab testing, with a digital platform that brings intelligence for quality and compliance data.

Industries: Manufacturing
Location: Hong Kong