In our day-to-day world, irrespective of the product or service we buy or use, quality is always sought constantly in the form of manufacturer guarantee, warranty or transparency in the process and ingredients that are used for manufacturing and development of the product. Quality is associated with the brand, manufacturer, and technology in so many ways that it becomes an identity of the brand and is often directly proportional to the desirability of the product or the brand in many ways. As a result, Quality Management plan is imperative during the planning phase, and establishing a quality management process plays a key role to ensure quality in every step of product manufacturing, project development, and service maintenance. You can get more information on Quality Management methods, services and best practices with a Quality Management Course, as we are covering the basic concepts in this article.
What is Quality Management and Quality Management Systems?
Quality Management is simply an act of setting guidelines and implementing them in the process of manufacturing, developing, testing, and delivering a product or service, in order to maintain the desired level of standard in the product or service. On the other hand, Quality management can be seen as act of standardizing every aspect of product development or service to achieve minimum deviation from the ideal state or form and behaviour of the desired product.
Simply put, quality is an important attribute of all the things we intend to buy and services we use in our lives. Quality is not just a label or a feature of some sort that you could add at the end to the product. This is an act of diligence put in every decision that is made in the aspect of selection, manufacturing and testing the product before it reaches the consumer.
What Does Quality Management Involves?
Quality management deals with the management of product or service quality in every step of the process from planning and initiation to delivery and maintenance. When it comes to project management, the goal is to achieve the desired level of quality in the project. Quality does not necessarily mean zero defects which is impractical in real world problems solving methods, but it does strive maintain consistency and include measures to reduce undesired behaviour of systems across projects. There are four stages of Quality Management in general:
- Quality Planning
- Quality Assurance
- Quality Control
- Quality Improvement
The role of a Project Quality Management Plan is to ensure that all employees and stakeholders of a project or organization work as a unified force to improve the planning, processes, products and services in pursuit of long-term benefits for their customers and the organization.
Quality Management System, also referred to as QMS is simply defined as a formalized system that documents the guidelines, processes, procedures, and responsibilities for achieving policies and objectives that control, maintain or bring in quality in the product or service as per the agreed upon standards. The Quality Management System coordinates and guides, monitors and continually tracks the organizations day to day activities and tasks in a way to meet customer needs and regulatory requirements of desired quality standards.
Why are Quality Management Systems Important?
Quality Management Systems or QMS will provide a systematic and sustainable approach with a framework to the product development or project process improvement to achieve the desired quality as per the organization’s objectives and customer’s evolving business needs. It will identify quality issues in the early stage and eliminate redundant activities of no value to overall quality management of the project and ensure performance improvement is constantly monitored and tracked to achieve the desired results through all stages until the delivery of the end-product.
While this article is aimed to shed light on Quality Management in general, there are Six Sigma certifications that can provide all the insights needed to become a Quality management expert:
Elements and Requirements of a QMS
We now know that Quality Management Systems simply helps the organization to meet its quality promise and quality goals. The basic elements or requirements of Quality Management System can be listed as below:
- Organization Policy on Quality – The QMS should be aligned to Quality Policy of the Organization. As the QMS is the tool to achieve quality, Organization policy will work as a framework on what needs to be achieved by implementing a QMS.
- Quality Manual – This is a manual of standardized practices to enhance quality.
- Procedures, Instructions and Data Records – Documenting procedures, instructions and data records in quality manual will help by being a guideline for subsequence iterations to come.
- Quality Analysis and Testing – The QA teams often function as a first customer for a product or service. A strong QMS often warrants a strong QA strategy and team to better manage the quality of the product.
- Improvement Opportunities – The customer needs are constantly evolving. A fundamentally strong Quality Management System is also expected to periodically review and improve the overall process in order to stay relevant to the contemporary customer needs and competition. The QMS is needed to continually evaluate and evolve by identifying improvement opportunities. You can opt for quality management certification to get detailed and comprehensive learning of Six Sigma.
Establishing and Implementing a QMS
As a preliminary step to choosing or establishing a Quality Management System, the organization must internally work to review, sort, and plan for various relevant, connected, multi-functional processes to help ensure customer satisfaction. The QMS design should be defined and finalized based on the company’s individual policies, products, and services provided at large. This structure is largely based on the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle and allows for continuous improvement and integration of both the product and the Quality Management System. The most basic steps to implementing a quality management system can as stated below:
Design and Build
The design and build portions serve to develop the structure of a QMS, its plans, and processes for design, delivery and implementation. Senior management should oversee this portion to ensure the needs of the organization and the needs of its customers are a driving force behind the systems development.
Deployment is best served at root level by dividing every plan and process further into subprocesses and training and educating the teams on documentation, training tools, and metrics. Company intranets or internally developed monitoring tools with quality management plan examples, are often used to help and monitor in the deployment of quality management systems.
Control and Measure
Control and measurement are two areas of establishing a QMS that are largely achieved through regular, systematic perusal, review, and audits of the quality management system. The details or intricacies vary from an industry to industry, organization to organization depending on size, probable risk, and environmental relevance and impact.
Review and Improve
Review and improve steps in the quality management explain how the results of an audit are to be used. The aim of such a review is to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of each process toward its goals and effectively communicate these findings to the employees and to design and develop new plans, best practices and processes based on the data collected during the audit.
Main Principles of Quality Management Systems (QMS)
The main principles of the Quality Management Systems include:
- Customer Focus – Organizations must align their objectives and goals with customer needs. The established QMS must benefit customer’s use of the product and should make customer’s life easy or help build trust.
- Leadership – Strong and Focused leadership fosters a committed group of employees and builds an environment of ethical responsibility and trust.
- Employee Engagement – All employees are organizations resources to deliver quality. Without employees who are committed to uphold organizations policies and goals, quality and quality management systems faulter.
- Process Approach – A strong process drives strong people and ensures employees do not faulter on QMS, out of time pressure or peer pressure within the organization.
- Continual Evolution and Improvement – The organization is expected to continually evolve and improve over its last performance in pursuit of excellence and superior quality.
- Evidence Based Decision Making – The decision making should be backed up with sufficient evidence in order to ensure the employed approach delivers desired approach.
- Relationship Management – A healthy relationship between various parties, such as vendors, logistical and ground support teams, plays a crucial role in ensuring success in not lost in transition or translation.
Benefits of Quality Management Systems (QMS)
The benefits of Quality Management Systems are as follows:
- Customer Satisfaction – Quality Management Systems ensures Customer Satisfaction
- Organizational Process and Culture
- Regulatory Compliance and
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How to Choose a Quality Management System?
We have discussed and understood that various organizations might have various requirement of a Quality Management System based on organization needs, policies, objectives, customer requirements and their individual industry needs, However, we can still state a few requirements or the criteria for selecting a Quality Management System (QMS) that will work for your organization:
The criteria for selecting a good Quality Management System should include:
- Industry Experience – Relevant industry experience is a must.
- Flexibility – The quality management system should be flexible.
- Look and Feel – The look and feel of a quality management system should be exciting and evoke interest.
- Reporting: Data visibility is crucial to track findings, progress and resolutions.
- Scalability: The Quality Management System should be scalable to cater to your changing business needs and volume.
- Integration capabilities – The Quality Management Systems should allow integration with other live systems in the organization.
- Implementation – The Quality Management System (QMS) should be easy to implement.
Quality Management Systems ensure quality in Project Management. As a result, it ensures that quality standards are specified, followed, and documented, which is a necessity in today's project management world. Businesses need Quality management to ensure consistency in their operations, as well as their products and services. This, in turn drives Customer satisfaction for businesses to strive. Learn more about Six Sigma and Quality Management through KnowledgeHut Quality Management courses.