A quality management system (QMS) efficiently and effectively manages business processes and facilitates continual improvement in the provision of products and services.
QMS’s objective is to ensure the continual application of the same data set, methodology, controls, and skills. Businesses working towards common objectives will ensure they are focused and streamlined to a common goal.
The QMS provides internal policies and procedures that cover all aspects of a world-class system, including planning and leadership, document control, monitoring, analysis, auditing, and more.
Establishing a successful business procedure is crucial to its success
A quality management system aims to
- Identify interested party requirements like Licenses to Trade, guidelines, customer requirements, and the selected management system standard.
- Providing customers with professional high-quality service to meet and exceed their requirements.
- Ensure that all fundamental requirements are met.
- Assure employees receive appropriate training on quality system requirements.
- Determine organisational procedure, its interaction, inputs, and outputs.
- Produce evidence confirming that system requirements have been met.
- Measure, test and report QMS performance, and promote system safety.
- Make changes to the QMS and acknowledge risks and opportunities found.
- Perform internal QMS audits and correct nonconformities.
- Continual QMS improvement.
- Meeting the applicable regulatory, statutory, and other requirements for our products and services.
Importance of QMS
A QMS offers a systematic approach to narrow the process improvement. It helps spot quality concerns, eradicate unnecessary activities, and nullify performance gaps. The objective of a Quality Management System is to offer a structured formal system that has all tools and processes essential to a company’s growth and to grant ISO 9001:2015 certification through a consulting firm or agency.
A quality management system integrates an organisation’s internal processes to offer a process approach for project execution. A process-based QMS allows companies to find, measure, improve and control core business processes that eventually improve business performance.
While certain people refer to QMS as a group of documents, specifically, it is an entire system, and the records describe it exactly.
Customer satisfaction is crucial in improving an organisation’s areas that need attention, and it is one of the building blocks of QMS. Updated documentation of processes can help understand changes to be applied to achieve customer satisfaction. It can further reduce customer grievances, increase returning customers, and save your money and time.
Quality Management – Key Principles
Quality management has standard principles elemental to ISO standards. Each principle is the building block contributing to the company’s success and performance excellence. Businesses can apply the principles depending on the nature, requirement, challenges faced, and type of business.
Below are the fundamental principles of Quality Management explained in detail to help organisations utilise them based on their business requirement.
1. Customer Focus
Meeting customer requirements and working hard to rise above customer expectations is a Quality Management System’s key focus.
Customer trust is the key to an organisation’s sustained growth and success. It is therefore essential to understand current, and future customer needs to live up to their expectations. The customer interactions also provide insights to the businesses to establish customer values.
It elevates customer satisfaction, value loyalty, and database. It boasts an organisation’s reputation and gives them returning clients and business, and this leads to an upsurge in its market share and revenue.
Leadership plays a crucial role in achieving a company’s objectives and creating an environment to support the same. Having and practicing leadership in all departments and hierarchies is essential to establishing a united aim and direction.
Leadership helps align processes, strategies, resources, and policies to accomplish business goals.
A company must communicate its business goals, policies, and processes to all the departments. A standard model should be established for fairness, shared values, and ethical behavior at all levels. Employees must be provided with the necessary training, and there should be a culture of integrity, commitment to the company’s goals, and trust. Leaders must be innovative, team players, supportive, and should set an example to inspire their team.
Leadership enhances workflow organisation at various department levels in a company. Grouping the company goals in different teams help achieve desired results that contribute to the overall objectives. The management should assign responsibilities to their staff. It teaches employees to organise their resources toward goals and can allot time accordingly to the deliverables. There are reasonable deadlines assigned to work, and thus, the job is done in time, promoting credibility.
3. Engagement of People
Empowered, engaging, and competent employees enhance an organisation’s capacity to deliver quality. The involvement of staff from all departments catalyses the growth and management of an organisation. Interactions lead to the exchange of ideas and offer recognition and empowerment opportunities. It will improve competence and teamwork to achieve the company’s qualitative goals.
It clarifies the company’s quality objectives, improved employee involvement, personal developments, and opportunities to collaborate, discuss, and exchange ideas. It also enhances teamwork and shared values and creates a competitive environment. Exchange of ideas leads to new ideas and collaborations, leading to new and improved products and services.
An organisation should regularly interact with employees to promote collaboration and understand individual contributions. A company should organise open discussions and should exchange experience and knowledge. Employees should be motivated and empowered to take initiatives confidently without any fear.
Recognition is a motivator; companies must congratulate or award their employees for their noteworthy contributions to the goals.
Companies should conduct surveys and performance evaluations to understand employees and record their feedback for improving workflow and use of resources and processes.
4. Process Approach
An organisation’s process approach plays a key role in the optimisation of its system and performance. QMS comprises an interrelated procedure, and its continual understanding and management can lead to efficient and consistent results. It is therefore essential to know the procedure used to produce results.
The top benefits include an improved focus on essential processes and predictable, consistent outcomes. It also enables the efficient use of resources to optimise performance and reduces cross-functional barriers. Organisations can offer trust to clients with the help of process efficiency and consistency.
Organisations must define system and process objectives and assign authority, responsibility, and accountability to manage them. To set goals and act towards them, one needs to analyse an organisation’s capacity in terms of resources, workforce, and available procedures.
A Company should define the goals and objectives of its system and the essential processes and information required. There should be authority, accountability, and responsibility assigned. The concerned person should manage the processes and their interrelation to achieve qualitative organisational goals.
Focus on continual improvement is the secret of successful organisations. It is crucial for a business to sustain performance, create new opportunities, and acknowledge changes in a company’s internal and external situations.
Ongoing improvement has enormous benefits, improving an organisation’s processes and capabilities and enhancing customer satisfaction.
It allows finding the root cause of setbacks, creating a plan to work on their rectification, and applying prevention measures. For this, they can analyse internal and external risks, enhancing reactions to the risks.
Improvement shall create opportunities to learn, innovate, and exchange ideas. It will also provide a platform to train employees on using methods and tools to enhance the road to goal achievements.
Improvement shall create a competitive environment among the staff that will escalate growth at different department levels. Employees will complete projects on time.
It will also help develop and audit plans and apply project improvement strategies. A business can track processes and integrate improvement suggestions in developing new and modified products, services, and procedures.
Companies will be able to recognise and approve improvements done.
6. Evidence-based Decision Making
Company decisions based on analysing relevant data essential to achieving company goals and customer satisfaction can yield desired results.
Decision-making can be a complex process and can accompany uncertainty. It consists of different input types and sources and their subjective interpretation. It is, therefore, crucial to understand cause-and-effect relationships and potential unintended consequences. Data, evidence, and factual analysis lead to greater objectivity and confidence in decision-making.
A company must provide essential data across all relevant departments. Businesses shall apply suitable methods to analyse data. Enterprises shall ensure employees are competent in data analysis and evaluation. Enterprises shall make business decisions based on factual evidence backed by experience and intuition.
Evidence-based decision-making has many benefits. It will improve decision-making, problem-solving process performance test, and operational effectiveness. The ability to achieve desired challenges will also increase. Businesses will be able to review, challenge, change decisions or opinions, and demonstrate past decisions’ efficiency.
7. Relationship Management
Relationship management with stakeholders, investors, and other parties are crucial to a company’s sustained success.
Stakeholders and interested parties affect an organisation’s performance. Ongoing success can be achieved when an enterprise manages and improves its relationships with interested parties. Suppliers and partners, or partner networks, are necessary for an organisation; hence, working relationships with them are essential.
Effective relationship management leads to improved business and partner performance. Organisations can achieve this with the help of an efficient response to opportunities and constraints specific to each involved party. A company’s capacity to contribute’ value shall increase with risk management, shared resources, and competence. Thus, a business can achieve a well-managed supply chain offering a stable flow of services and goods.
Companies should determine relevant interested parties, including partners, suppliers, customers, employees, investors, society, and their relationship with the enterprise.
It involves the prioritisation of interested party relationships that need to be managed. There should be a collaborative development where businesses should provide interested parties with information, guidance, and resources. It should also involve performance measurement and feedback provided to the stakeholders. Companies should encourage and implement all parties’ suggestions and recognise their achievements.
An organisation should establish relationships with interested parties that balance short-term gains with long-term considerations.
8. Quality Instruments
The calibration and maintenance of instruments used to measure quality are fundamental to a quality management system’s success. All the equipment and machines used to validate processes and products must be carefully calibrated and controlled per industry standards. Enterprises can do periodic calibrations based on the instrument used before every measurement.
An organisation’s QMS system should mandate a clear policy to maintain quality instruments. It should be based on national or international standards defined for each piece of equipment. This documentation should acknowledge manufacturer instructions, controls to prevent tampering with design, and methods for protecting instruments. It should also include a process to identify and document instrument calibration and intervals.
9. Document Management
Document management systems must have all data essential to prove and evaluate QMS performance.
A quality management system defines the types of documents essential for achieving qualitative QMS. It consists of quality objectives, procedures, manuals, documentation, and records.
Effective record-keeping is crucial to the success of the QMS, the ability to obtain a certification with QMS standards, and regulatory compliance.
While designing a QMS, companies should create specific internal record definitions and policies required to develop, retain, and edit documentation. While QMS standards do not define any document management method, quality management systems software can enhance the process.
Quality Management System Standards
Quality Management System Standards offer important data businesses shall implement to achieve effective quality management systems. It comprises a set of procedures, policies, regulations, and compliance data crucial to achieving QMS.
Different ISO-certified QMS standards are available, but ISO 9001: 2015 is the most recognised and implemented standard used by businesses and has all the essential details companies shall meet to implement QMS.
However, other QMS standards include ISO 9004, ISO 9000, ISO 14000 family (Environmental management), ISO 13485 (medical devices, ISO/TS 16949 (automated products), and ISO 19011 (auditing management).
Benefits of Quality Management System
- Continual Improvement
- Enhances Employee interaction
- Identifies and offers training opportunities.
- Lowers costs
- Sets company-wide direction
- Reduction in waste materials
- Improves processes by offering coherency and standardisation
- Training Employees
- Organised, central quality control policies
- Coherent and standardised processes
- Risk prevention.
How to analyse the effectiveness of a Quality Management System?
They are two ways to analyse the effectiveness of a Quality Management System:
1. Comparison of pre and post-QMS implementation data
Comparing the company data before and after QMS implementation can provide insights on improved areas and what needs attention. No change in both means your QMS needs improvement to align with your business goals.
2. Customer Feedback & Surveys
An enterprise works hard to achieve customer satisfaction through its services. Hence, customer feedback and survey are vital to improving processes, services, and products.
There are two principal ways to evaluate your current QMS and ensure it’s the most effective.