Introduction to QMS

When you 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. One example would be the quality of the paint on a new car. Quality systems focus on the latter definition. Quality Management Systems (QMS) are intended to help assure that a 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.
What is QMS
If we look at QMS in reverse, we can develop a better understanding of its definition. 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.
Why Implement QMS
Multiple benefits result from development and implementation of a robust Quality Management System. Some of the most obvious benefits to implementing QMS are as follows:
• 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.
• Ensuring that all government regulations and requirements are met with every new product introduction allows marketing products worldwide.
• Reduction of costly rework and / or scrap is realized through implementation and monitoring of process controls.
• 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.
• 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.
Developing and implementing a Quality Management System enables organizations of all types be more efficient and effective. Some have the false impression that the quality system only involves actions performed by personnel within the quality department. The Quality Management System affects multiple processes and departments within an organization from sales, design, development, production and delivery of the product or service to the customer. The QMS promotes cross-functional communication and interaction throughout the organizational structure, which can result in a more unified and stronger organization.