When competition is fierce, the name of the game is customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers are often loyal, repeat customers. Satisfied customers are one of the best (and least expensive) marketing devices. Satisfied customers directly affect the bottom line.

So, how do you guarantee customers are consistently satisfied?

How do you earn customer loyalty?

a customer chooses to use your product or service, ultimately, they’re purchasing the cycle of production that paved the way to the final offering.

If you’re looking for the best way to create customers for life, it’s time to learn how to implement QMS in your organization.

To learn more about what a QMS is, read: “What is a Quality Management System (QMS)?

How to implement QMS in an organization

From a data-driven approach like Six Sigma or a process-driven system like Total Quality Management (TQM) to the more person-centric approach of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), there’s more than one method for managing quality. 

For those interested in how to implement QMS in an organization that’s highly regulated, faces FDA scrutiny, or offers services in a public-facing industry, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is considered the international standard for an effective QMS.

ISO standards operate from a risk-based approach, as well as being process-driven. When correctly applied, ISO standards help improve product or service quality and provide the framework for maintaining sustainable, ever-improving operations.

Our discussion on how to implement QMS in an organization focuses on the globally accepted ISO 9001 standards.

How to implement a QMS using ISO standards

A practical QMS approach incorporates a plan-do-check-act (PDCA) methodology. ISO standards follow this model. The classic PDCA cycle involves seven steps:

  1. Design
  2. Build
  3. Deploy
  4. Control
  5. Measure
  6. Review
  7. Improve

Let’s explore how effective system implementation employs each step.

Design

During the design phase, an appointed quality team together with management, fashion the framework of the QMS, create specific business processes to support the system, then determine the time frame, training plan, and resources needed for implementation. Designing a QMS involves aligning customer requirements within the context of the organization. This is best achieved by producing three defining documents:

  • QMS scope: Defines the boundaries of the system. Outlines the products and operational functions to monitor and selects the areas within the production cycle where the QMS needs to be applied.
  • Quality policy: Documents the overall purpose of the company’s QMS, including customer satisfaction goals and the organization’s commitment to quality control and continual improvement. Conducting risk assessment prior to policy planning provides direction and often uncovers new opportunities to address within the policy.
  • QMS objectives: Translates the quality policy into measurable outcomes. Drafts detailed statements meant to define the roles and responsibilities of every employee involved in achieving a specific goal. Provides guidance on how to implement quality policies.

All three documents are required as part of the ISO certification process.

Build

To build an effective QMS, start by developing internal control activities designed to reduce risks associated with any new systems. Next, generate documented information that explains all QMS processes, then procure the necessary resources needed for implementing QMS procedures.

The building phase involves the creation of process maps and flow charts with detailed work instructions that outline assembly and production procedures. It’s also important to establish an organizational structure, charting detailed roles and responsibilities at the various stages of product development.

To facilitate the implementation of a QMS during the building phase, confirm that testing procedures for quality assurance align with quality standards, and develop metrics to monitor and measure success.

Deploy

The best advice on how to implement QMS in an organization, especially if broad-scale changes and additions to current processes are necessary, is to deploy the system in stages. Some best practices to consider for successful deployment during each stage:

  • Prior to deployment, disperse documented information and quality manuals regarding the specific processes and solicit feedback
  • Conduct necessary employee education and training on tools and systems
  • Train division managers on document control procedures
  • Educate process owners on tracking metrics

Control and Measure

To properly control and measure the effectiveness of a QMS, a performance evaluation strategy is essential. Start with an internal audit.

Internal auditing reveals which processes align with the company’s quality policy and operational objectives. Auditing also exposes the potential weaknesses of process controls. Management can then use a risk-based approach to determine what improvements (if any) need to be made.

Review and Improve

After the QMS has been in operation for a prescribed period, conduct a management review to measure the effectiveness of the QMS. A management review gathers information from: 

  • Audit findings
  • Reported metrics
  • Collected data
  • Cases of non-conformance
  • Customer satisfaction survey results
  • Adherence to regulatory requirements
  • Quality control checks

A thorough management review makes it easier to initiate corrective actions. Audit findings and QMS reviews may also identify processes that aren’t sufficient to support the achievement of quality objectives.

Quality management principles for an effective QMS

To provide additional guidance on how to implement QMS in an organization, the ISO developed seven principles for managing quality:

Customer Focus

The primary purpose of a QMS is to provide quality products or services that not only exceed customer requirements but also to uncover opportunities to create additional value for customers, ensuring sustainable customer loyalty.

Leadership

An effective QMS is only possible when the board of directors, top management, and unit supervisors display an unwavering commitment to quality. By communicating, encouraging, and sharing their vision, leadership motivates everyone in the organization to meet quality objectives.

Engagement of People

Through “recognition, empowerment and enhancement of competence,” leadership fosters buy-in from every level within the organization.

Process Approach

To achieve consistent results, a quality management system must align the interactions between processes. A process approach educates everyone involved in the production cycle about how various inputs and outputs interrelate and, when executed correctly, how those interactions contribute to overall system efficiency.

Improvement

A commitment to continuous improvement is a trademark of innovation-driven companies. Continuous improvement, which employs both corrective and preventive actions, sets the stage for the business to seize new opportunities, and increase market share.

Evidence-Based Decision Making

The ISO’s QMP document states it best: “Decisions based on the analysis and evaluation of data and information are more likely to produce desired results.”

Relationship Management

Interested parties—investors, business partners, suppliers, supply chain entities, employees, customers, and other external stakeholders—impact an organization’s performance and success. To strengthen these relationships, encourage collaboration, share methods for resource optimization, create open lines of communication, and recognize and reward achievements.

Automated Solutions for QMS Implementation

After researching how to implement QMS in an organization, many companies wonder if it’s worth the trouble. The answer is “Yes.” The benefits are substantial. A strong QMS awards competitive advantages to companies that take the initiative to improve quality assurance.

Fortunately, many of the prerequisites for ISO certification are easily automated. To learn more about ZenGRC solutions for implementing a certifiable quality management system, contact us, or schedule a demo today.