This article explains the essence of a Quality Management System (QMS) in a business by outlining its key functions.

Businesses must have a properly structured Quality Management System (QMS) as a part of their core management strategy. A QMS provides them with a better way to continuously improve their products or services, assuring maximum benefits to the customers. It promotes a streamlined approach in the organisation that includes complete documentation of the procedures and staff responsibilities. This adds a sense of accountability in each employee to deliver their individual roles efficiently and ensure that fine-quality products or services are produced. In short, a key purpose of the QMS is to identify and alleviate the errors in the production processes and prevent them from recurring.

Also, there are several challenges that QMS helps to address. For instance, lack of information which affects decision making and quality management planning, increase in reworks or customer complaints, manual errors, and continuously changing customers’ requirements. Overall, a QMS has a broad role in a business. The following section points out its key functions which help a business to achieve quality excellence.

4 Crucial Functions of a Quality Management System (QMS) in an Organisation

Meeting Customer Requirements

Businesses supply a product or service that customers want or need. The most successful businesses are the ones that manage to meet all the expectations and needs of the customers with their products or services and guarantee their satisfaction. Therefore, the foremost important function of your QMS is to routinely collect valuable feedback and data from the customers. It helps in deciding new attributes of your products/services or improving any aspect in them to perfectly cater to the customer requirements. The QMS must promote methodical systems to gather customer data such as surveys at the point of sales, getting social media and online reviews, or collection of enquiry or feedback forms by the customer support service team.

Supply Chain and Supplier Data Management

The quality of the final product or output depends directly on the quality of the raw materials or components in the supply chain that are used in manufacturing of products or processing of services. Inevitably, any component change or substandard quality of materials would deteriorate the quality of the outputs. Therefore, a key function of the QMS is to evaluate the components of the supply chain and the supplier processes. Once the materials are procured, they must go through QA (Quality Assurance) inspections. The QMS should also promote the evaluation of supplier processes and their quality management procedures through documentation review. If you find any of their processes or quality procedures are not conforming to your specified requirements, you can notify them and suggest corrective actions.

Risk Management

The purpose of QMS is not only to assure the quality of outputs, but it is also to prevent risks in the business processes or delivery methods that can affect the output. Therefore, another function of the QMS is to provide efficient means and measures to manage risks in your business. Risk management is ensured by the QMS with capturing of real-time data, discovering any deviations in the processes, and identifying any errors. Frequent management reviews are mostly supported by the QMS to identify and analyse the potential risks. On completion of the reviews, the management team of the organisation should determine measures to mitigate the risks and implement improvements in the processes to prevent them from occurring again in future.

Continual Improvement of Processes

The QMS should establish a continuous improvement cycle, called the PDCA cycle, to ensure that all processes of your business are reviewed, maintained, and improved from time to time to assure the delivery of best quality products/services. PDCA stands here for Plan, Do, Check and Act. The cycle is comprised of four steps, starting with ‘planning’ where you need to decide the objectives or scope of your QMS at a certain time. The next step is about ‘doing’ which implies executing appropriate measures or practices to achieve the decided objectives. Then comes ‘checking’ or auditing of those implemented measures to assure they are effectively carried out and meet the objectives well. You can identify any loopholes or inefficiencies in this step. The last step is about taking ‘actions’ where you have to determine and deploy corrective measures to eliminate the inefficiencies in the implemented practices.

These are the primary functions of a Quality Management System (QMS). When you are implementing it for your organisation, make sure it supports all these elements. While the QMS mainly helps with monitoring your operations and reducing issues in the quality of end products/services, it can also make your organisation eligible for the ISO 9001 certification. Being an international certification for quality management, the ISO 9001 certificate can be a great achievement for your business to help demonstrate your efforts for quality assurance and get you more customers. Therefore, plan the implementation of a strong QMS as soon as possible to avoid missing out on any of these crucial functions as well to the gain a competitive advantage of a benchmark certification.

Author's Bio: 

Damon Anderson is the owner of a trusted ISO certification consultancy that offers consultation services to businesses to get them certified with a wide range of standards, in the shortest time and at affordable costs. He is a specialised ISO 9001 consultant and likes to talk about having a Quality Management System (QMS) and its importance, benefits of ISO 9001 certification in the business, and so on.

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