The journey to implementing a Management system: A quality management system
What is a quality management system?
A quality management system is a collection of processes (business processes) and functions focused on continuous improvement of quality to ensure customer expectations and requirements are met or exceeded.
A quality management system is the foundation for ensuring that an organization’s products and or services are effective, safe, and are being continuously improved
A quality management system works on eight principles:
1 Customer focus
2 Strong leadership
3 Employee involvement
4 Process approach
5 System approach
6 Continuous improvement
7 Decision making based on facts
8 Creating value for the company, clients and suppliers
A quality management system is very important. You need to have a quality management system in place, (small or large organizations) because it helps to coordinate and direct an organization’s activities to meet customer and regulatory requirements, and improves its effectiveness and efficiency on a continuous basis.
To provide high quality products, quality management has to become an everyday part of each employee’s process.
The importance to the business and its customers must be led and supported by senior management who has the duty to set an environment that fosters a customer-oriented culture.
The journey to introducing a quality management system is not easy. In this article I am going to focus on implementing a quality management system for small organizations. Organizations limited in staff and other resources, something a lot of smaller organizations have trouble with. There are some organizations around the world, that really do not see the need to implement a quality management system; they do not see the need to comply with standards that are required in their scope of business.
However, standards play an important role by facilitating business interaction, and serving as the basis for the introduction of new technologies and innovations.
What can small organizations low on budget do so that they can implement a quality management system?
- Upfront planning.
Identify the quality standards, regulations and requirements that have to do with your type of organization: your products and or services. If you plan well, you can avoid costly surprises.
Have a written strategic plan. This way you can ensure that resources are used to support the strategy and development of the organization. Budget towards the vision.
- Introduce a phased approach.
A phased approach allows you to meet the basic requirements, with the expectation of continuous improvement. Start with the basics, and improve step by step with no large investments.
- Perform a GAP analysis.
(GAP analysis: comparison of actual performance with potential or desired performance)
With a GAP analysis you can also evaluate your staff. Which set of skills are important for which job. Can we train our actual staff? If training cannot close the GAPS, then you have to evaluate if you need to hire a consultant, or a full-time employee. Document every step.
- Maximize value from continuous improvement
Once the quality management system is in place, we need to audit the whole system to check if we comply with the company’s standards and regulations. One way to do it is through internal audits. Internal audits do not add additional cost. You can enhance your quality management system based on FEEDBACK:
-Internal / external audits
Always use this data to adjust and improve your products and or services.
Overall, the planning phase is the most important step in implementing a quality management system. It establishes the deliverables, tasks, schedules, staffing and the budget for carrying out the project.
This counts for small, low on budget organizations, but also for Big organizations.