What a Quality Management System Does. The QMS and Quality Assurance
In my on-going campaign to simplify the often over-complicated world of standards, I’ve summed up the functions in four hopefully helpful paragraphs.
1. A Quality Management System stimulates a formal review and management approval of customer orders, quotes and estimates. Simply, “can we do what we’ve promised, within our resources, and on time?”. Yes, staggeringly, some management teams seem to exist in a visionary realm without a true grasp of the actual capability of the enterprise, over-promising and under-delivering.
2. It establishes a structured, documented method for delivering products and services. “What gets measured, gets done”. At worst, the QMS document sits in a large file in a manager’s office. At it’s very best, it’s driven by best practice, based on doing things well in the real world, and understood by all involved. It should improve the consistency of the products and services delivered.
3. The Quality Management System should encourage formal planning of how a company is going to deliver acceptable standards of product and service. It’s a vital “reality check”. Airline pilots have a wonderfully dry sense of humour. One saying I’ve heard is “Well, I don’t know where we’re going, but we’re certainly making good progress”. Sadly, several companies I’ve encountered in my thirty years in the quality industry seem to have poured much of their effort into producing sub-standard products, unwanted by the customer, and delivered late. No-one stopped, sat down with key players for serious thought and discussion, and considered if they were heading in the right direction. The “long hard look” formalised by a QMS forces regular “management reviews” of the business and its performance.
If you don’t have a QMS, ask “why not?” Is it because you can’t be bothered to document how and why you do things, or are you genuinely one of those businesses which is so simple that the processes can’t go wrong (clue – there aren’t many of those). If you do have a Quality Management System, are there further sales and opportunities possible through getting it certified to an approved ISO standard, and therefore recognised in the market place.
In a recent poll 86% of companies who had gained certification reported that as a result they had gained new business or held onto business which was under threat. So, it’s worth it.
Please get in touch if you need our help. We promise to keep it simple, but effective…………..
Written by Colin Brown of ISO Consultants