Quality Management System (QMS)

We think of the word quality, what is the first thing that comes to mind? The word quality has more than one definition. Quality could be defined as a feature or characteristic as in the following statement: They are people of integrity, which is a good quality to possess. It can also be thought as how well something is made, if it meets all required specifications or if there are any apparent defects or non-conformances in the product. Therefore, quality is also defined as a determination of how good or bad something is, or how well it meets customer expectations. Quality Management Systems (QMS) are intended to help assure that our product or service meets or exceeds the customer’s expectations each and every time. Only by consistently meeting or exceeding the customer’s perception of quality can an organization not merely survive, but grow and thrive.

we look at QMS in reverse, we can develop a better understanding of fashion flow. QMS is a System for Managing the Quality of a product or process. Furthermore, QMS is a system for documenting the structure, procedures, responsibilities and processes needed for effective quality management. The QMS outlines how an organization will produce, document, control and deliver a product or service possessing customer perceived value.

1)Managing product and process quality enables an organization to consistently meet the needs and wants of their customers through Voice of the Customer (VOC). Increased customer satisfaction results in more sales, increased market share and a loyal customer base. 2)Ensuring that all government regulations and requirements are met with every new product introduction allows marketing products worldwide. 3)Reduction of costly rework and / or scrap is realized through implementation and monitoring of process controls. 4)Management is able to make decisions based on data not conjecture. The data collected through the implementation of Statistical Process Control (SPC) and other methods allows management to make decisions based on evidence. Valuable resources are utilized where they will have the most impact on improving process efficiency and reducing quality issues. 5)Engagement of the associates in the process and product improvement efforts helps to create a continuous improvement culture within the organization. Through the introduction of Kaizen, 5S and other quality tools, the associates gradually take mental ownership of the process. Associates invested in the processes they perform are best at identifying opportunities for improvements that will result in better quality, efficiency and safety.

Implementing a Quality Management System into any organization, either large or small, is not a quick or simple task. It will require an investment in time and resources to successfully implement an effective QMS. Numerous important tasks and processes will require development and implementation. Below is a list of some key areas to consider when implementing a QMS.

Proper training is essential for the success of any new product / process or management system introduction. The amount and type of QMS training is determined during the management team’s initial planning phase. The training materials should include a review of the basic concepts and tools used along with information regarding the positive impact that the QMS will provide for the associates and the organization.

Proper documentation is at the heart of a well-functioning Quality Management System. There must be documentation developed to support the implementation, education, deployment and control functions of the system. Some of the common documents may include: *Policies *Procedures *Quality Manual *Training Materials *Work Instructions *Audit Forms *Process Maps *Control Plans Proper documentation is vital to the success of a QMS and maintaining control of those documents is equally important. A document control system manages the creation, approval, distribution, revision, storage and disposal of all quality documentation. The system functions to assure everyone is performing tasks in the same manner using the correct revision of the document.

Deployment of the QMS should follow the implementation plan developed during the planning phase. Document each process and define the current state. Involve the associates in the documentation of the process, utilization of various quality tools and development of metrics. Once this is complete, the teams can focus on improvement efforts. Select an area or process with the most opportunity for improvement. Quick wins promote “buy-in” by the teams and associates by illustrating the improvements to the process and the benefit to the associates and the company as a whole. There are multiple quality and improvement tools available for use in improving a process. They may include: 5S +1 Kaizen Process Flow Charts Process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (PFMEA) Value Stream Mapping The timing of the deployment is generally dependent upon the size of the organizations and the number of facilities that will be included in the implementation of the QMS. Throughout the implementation, the company intranet is an effective tool for communicating progress towards planned objectives and sharing best practices to associates throughout the organization.

Once deployment has occurred, the various processes within the organization must be controlled and the key process and product characteristics measured and monitored to ensure continued production of quality products. Manufacturing processes often incorporate SPC methodology. Other methods could include random inspections or routine audits. The specific methods will vary depending on the organization’s size, structure, the process and potential risk.

A very important advantage of implementing a QMS is the ability to use lessons learned from one department or process to make improvements in similar processes across the organization. In addition, for organizations to remain competitive and thrive in today’s world market, they must seek ways to continually improve their processes and product or service quality. Associates at all levels of the organization should be encouraged to look for opportunities for change and improvement every day. Even by implementing small continuous improvements in the processes and work standards, the organization will realize sizable increases in quality, safety, efficiency and productivity. This ultimately results in a positive impact on the bottom line. Some organizations view continuous improvement as an activity, where others adopt it as a mindset.