What is a QMS (Quality Management System)?
Quality Management Systems - A Definition
A quality management system (often referred to as a QMS) is defined as a formalised system that documents the processes, procedures and the responsibilities for achieving quality policies, objectives and requirements of standards (such as ISO 9001).
But how does having a QMS help a business?
A QMS can help because it allows an organisation to plan and manage the requirements of the standards as well as for the needs of the customer and also provide continuous improvement in their systems - which in turn improves both the efficiency and the effectiveness of the business.
Most companies and organisations will embark on building a QMS because of their wish to gain accreditation of ISO 9001. ISO 9001 is the international standard, specifying the requirements for quality management systems. PCH are proficient in assisting companies gain the accreditation by helping them build their quality management systems as well as the documentation required to gain the certificate.
What are the benefits of a quality management system?
Having a QMS will impact every part of a organisation, as at it's heart it's aim is to document and build out processes whilst in turn directing the business to look for ways to improve those processes on a continuous basis.
Without a dedicated QMS, it's often difficult to meet an organisations long term goals and requirements - such as compliance with standards and regulations as well as it's own commercial goals. It helps finds inefficiencies in systems and processes, which in turn can lead to improvements in cost management and efficiency. These improvements can lead to a reduction in the amount of waste through streamlining the processes - potentially leading to increase productivity and profits for the organisation.
For some businesses, having a QMS is essential to meet the requirements of their customers - this helps build a positive relationship with the customer potentially increasing future business not only with them but with other customers.
By defining processes within an organisation, it allows these processes to be monitored and controlled. Once they are, it's then easier to improve them, the benefits of which includes:
- Reducing and possibly eradicating mistakes and errors
- Reducing waste in the process - in both time and materials
- With more streamlined processes this leads to a lower cost of the process
- Staff involved in the process become more engaged - increasing their productivity and motivation
- Highlights the need for training and improvements
- Helps prove to customers a desire to provide consistent result
What are the requirements of a quality management system?
Although a QMS is built to the requirements of each individual client, there are aspects of a QMS which are common to all, including:
- The quality policy and objectives of the business
- A quality manual which documents the procedures, instructions and records of the organisation
- Data management
- Internal processes
- Customer satisfaction
- Potential improvements
- Quality analysis
Building and implementing a Quality Management System
Before embarking on building a QMS, it's essential to understand the reason the organisation is looking to build a QMS. There will be many reasons for this, but building a QMS has to be centered around those requirements.
Once these reasons have been understood, this makes building the QMS less complex. A QMS then follows the following steps:
Stage 1 & 2: Design / Build
These steps help outline and develop the QMS structure. It's about reviewing and then documenting the processes in place.
At this stage, we engage the senior management team who are the drivers - as they understand the needs of the QMS for the organisation and play an active role in the needs of it's customers.
Step 3: Deploy
Deployment is about engaging staff within the processes and providing the education and the skills they need - whilst in turn advising them on the way that the results will be gathered.
Steps 4 & 5: Control / Measure
These steps are managed through regular audits of the processes - usually by an outside party such as PCH or by a nominated QMS manager. The requirements for control and measurement are specific to each individual client, as processes vary between businesses.
Steps 6 & 7: Review / Improve
Once audits are completed, these results then need to be reviewed and actioned upon. It also allows the opportunity for improvements to be made to processes where found.
Interested in a QMS for your business?
Building a QMS for your business can be daunting. At PCH we've been helping companies and organisations just like yours take the first steps into the world of quality management systems, as well as providing dedicated help and assistance to gain ISO 9001: 2015 certification. To find out how we can help your business, give us a call today.