This article summarises everything about the quality management system of a business, including its types, structure, essential components, and its benefits.

In simplest terms, a quality management system (QMS) is a consolidation of functions that aim to improve the quality of the products or services delivered by a business. It helps a business fulfil its customer expectations, have fewer customer complaints, and ensure better productivity. However, a QMS is not a simple thing to grasp, nor it is available for purchase from the stores. It is a complex system that needs to incorporate functions relating to the business’s specific processes, the nature of the products/services, and also it’s customers’ expectations. In addition to this, the QMS must be formed by conforming to international regulations, therefore, the business management needs assistance from experienced quality assurance experts to frame and implement their specific QMS.

In the next section, we shall be talking about the QMS and its structure and benefits that make it essential for businesses.

Planning for QMS

QMS for a business needs to be particular to its processes, products, services, customer preferences, etc. Proper planning is essential to ensure that is perfectly specific. The planning starts with documentation of the QMS. Document the aspects of quality in business management that will drive results for your business goals, help track progress, and gain success. Next, do some prior research with the help of your business’s quality management team and decide the type of QMS needed for your business.

The types of QMS that are needed for your business depends on the type of industry it is a part of. QMS standards for different sectors or industries are:

• ISO 9001: Any general business,
• ISO 13485: Medical device industry,
• ISO 22000: Food,
• ISO 20000: IT Services,
• AS9100: Aerospace and defense,
• TL 9000: Telecommunications.

Structuring of QMS

To structure an appropriate QMS for your business, follow these generally advised practices from the quality assurance experts.

• Incorporate the general principles of the ISO’s quality management standard (whichever applies to your business). The general quality principles comprise the best practices for quality control and management and certain supporting processes such as an audit and management reviews to check the conformance of the QMS with the standard.

• The general industry regulations and legislative rules that apply to the business. These are mandatory requirements/processes that your business has to meet to be a part of the industry and to prevent it from experiencing any lawsuits or fines.

• Customer focus is a primary aspect for the QMS of a business. Hence, its structure should also emphasize getting information of customers so that their valuable feedback can be used to make improvements in the products/services.

Some of the key components/functional modules that should be incorporated into the QMS include:

• Documents control or management,
• Risk management,
• Equipment and asset management,
• Enterprise and operational management,
• Policy management,
• Training records management,
• Integrated business dashboard,
• Complaints management system,
• Accidents and risks reporting management system,
• Product lifecycle management,
• Supplier management.

Benefits of Using QMS in the business

After learning about planning and structuring the QMS, here are some benefits that it provides for a business.

• Helps in forming strong leadership: QMS implementation in an organisation calls for the top leaders the management to become proactive in quality management and drive efficiency. They should be precise about the quality objectives of their business, QMS structure, and strategic policies to execute it. They are the ones to encourage every other member to solemnly work together in implementing it by aligning with the objectives, ISO requirements, and customer expectations.

• Promotes customer-led strategy: The QMS will be the key for your organisation to keep customers satisfied and entice them to keep coming back for future purchases. In other words, by enabling you to deliver products/services that perfectly fit with the customers’ requirements, the QMS helps in developing a strong customer base.

• New business opportunities: When your business has a competent QMS that meets the regulatory compliances of an ISO standard, it is appreciated by others (even globally) for its credibility. Such recognition will help you gain more business opportunities because suppliers, distributors, or investors will be interested in engaging with your business. They will find it reliable to contract with your business because your QMS is certified by an international authority and you are sincerely committed to delivering the best products or services.

• Reduced operating costs: The implementation of a QMS in the business will result in the continuous monitoring of processes, tracking of progress, process improvement, and factual decision making. All of these result in operational efficiency and the subsequent reduction in the costs for a business.

A quality management system (QMS) will enhance the bottom line of a business. So, whatever the type and size of your business, identify the ISO standard that is applicable, and engage quality assurance consultants to implement the QMS. As customer needs change and risks emerge, the QMS will be useful in controlling the risks, reducing wastes, increasing efficiency, and delivering quality service or products.

Author's Bio: 

Damon Anderson is a quality management system (QMS) expert who helps businesses in numerous industries to attain certifications for quality management, be it ISO 9001, ISO 20000, ISO 13485, or AS9100. He writes blogs in his spare time where he discusses the importance of quality in business management and why every business should focus on having a certified QMS.