Nowadays, we hear a lot about Quality Management System.
Is it related to Quality or Management or System or all of them?
A brief history of QMS
Quality became increasingly important during World War II: for example, when bullets made in one state had to work with rifles made in another. The armed forces initially inspected, virtually, every unit of product. To simplify the process without sacrificing safety, the military began to use quality techniques.
The best practices for controlling product and process outcomes were established and documented. These documented best practices turned into standard practices for quality management systems.
At the start of the 21st century, QMS had begun to merge with the ideas of sustainability and transparency.
During this period, these themes became increasingly important for consumer satisfaction.
Quality management system standards should not be confused with product and service standards.
A quality management system (QMS) is a formalized system that documents processes, procedures, and responsibilities for achieving quality policies and objectives. A QMS helps coordinate and direct an organization’s activities to meet customer and regulatory requirements, and improve its effectiveness and efficiency on a continuous basis.
ISO 9001:2015, the international standard specifying requirements for quality management systems, is the most prominent approach to quality management systems.
While some use the term QMS to describe the ISO 9001 standard, or the group of documents detailing the QMS, it actually refers to the entirety of the system. The documents only serve to describe the system.
Quality management systems serve many purposes, including:
- Improving processes
- Reducing waste
- Lowering costs
- Facilitating and identifying training opportunities
- Engaging staff
- Setting organization-wide direction
General requirements of a quality management system
- The organization’s quality policy and quality objectives
- Quality manual
- Procedures, instructions, and records
- Data management
- Internal processes
- Customer satisfaction from product quality
- Improvement opportunities
- Quality analysis
Each element of a quality management system serves a purpose towards the overall goals of meeting the customers’ and organization’s requirements. Ensuring that each of the elements of a QMS is present, ensures proper execution and function of the QMS.
Establishing and implementing a QMS
Establishing a quality management system helps organizations run effectively. Before establishing a quality management system, the organization must identify and manage the various connected, multi-functional processes to ensure customer satisfaction is always the target achieved.
The basic steps to implementing a quality management system are as follows: