A quality management system (QMS) is a system that documents the policies, procedures, and controls necessary for an organization to create and deliver high-quality products or services to customers, and therefore increase customer satisfaction.
In short, a QMS helps a company to meet its regulatory requirements and customer requirements, and make continuous improvements to its operations.
What Is the Purpose of a QMS System?
The goal of a QMS system is to provide consistency. Your customers should know what to expect from your company, and they should receive the same quality from every purchase they make from you. If you can provide that assurance, you’ll be able to maintain your existing customers while creating a reputation for quality that will bring more clients your way.
A QMS can also aid in your compliance efforts. The data generated by your system can help you to analyze your organization and determine any areas where compliance issues may arise. Data management can also be particularly useful for internal audits and other tests of your overall data landscape.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Quality Management System?
A key benefit of a QMS is the opportunity for continual improvement. Without tracking customer satisfaction, it can be difficult to know which areas of the enterprise are lacking and could be improved in the future. Streamlining and documenting this process will help you understand what changes must be made to assure customer satisfaction. This will minimize customer complaints and returns, saving you time and money in the long run.
Other benefits include:
- Organized, central quality control policies;
- Coherent and standardized processes;
- Train future employees easily;
- Guarantee quality of employee training over time with a customer focus;
- Increased collaboration among staff to meet customer expectations;
- Reduced waste;
- Lowered costs;
- Mistake and risk prevention.
What Are the Different Types of QMS?
There are many quality management systems out there. The correct QMS for your company will depend on your industry, since different sets of standards will apply to different kinds of organizations. One of the most recognized and broadly implemented international QMS standards is ISO 9001, which details the requirements for a quality management system that organizations can use to create their own programs. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) first published ISO 9001 in 1987.
The tenets of ISO 9001 focus on improving communication at every level and every stage of the supply chain, to assure that your customers’ expectations are met. This includes communication with your customers, as client feedback is instrumental to quality assurance. Document control is an important requirement in ISO 9001; it requires that you track and protect the information within your system. ISO 9001 also promotes a “process approach,” which views the organization as a whole rather than a series of separate departments.
This set of standards has served as a template for other ISO standards that are tailored to specific industries, including the rest of the ISO 9000 series of quality management standards, along with ISO 13485, which specifies the requirements for medical device manufacturers; the ISO 4000 series for environmental management systems; and ISO 19011, which provides guidelines for auditing management systems.
The ISO series is not the only standardized QMS, and non-standardized approaches exist as well. These include Total Quality Management (TQM), Six Sigma, and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI). Examining each system against your company’s particular needs will help you in your decision-making process.
What’s the Difference Between QMS and Quality Assurance?
Quality assurance (and quality control) are components of quality management rather than concepts independent from it. Quality assurance (QA) refers to the plans and requirements you create to provide quality products or services to your customers. Quality control (QC) is the steps you take after the fact to assure that you have met your quality objectives.
Your QMS encompasses both of these processes. The framework it creates will provide a structured approach for QA and standardized procedures for QC. It also improves functionality and enables the staff assigned to each process to work together to achieve the highest possible level of quality.
How Do You Know If a Quality Management System is Effective?
There are two principal ways to evaluate your current QMS and assure that it’s the most effective option for your organization. The first is to compare data after QMS implementation with data from before; see what has improved and what has not. You should see some improvement in at least one field that will then allow you to dig further into your data to better understand what is impacting your company’s performance. If you see zero change or aren’t able to retrieve the data needed to analyze business goals, then you need to adjust your QMS to better fit your needs.
Then, because quality management systems help you to meet customer requirements and expectations consistently, you can get qualitative feedback from your customer base. A short survey asking for a number rating about how consistently customers are pleased with their experience with your company can help you to see how your QMS is helping you to meet customer satisfaction goals.
Quality Management is Made Easy with Our ROAR Platform
Implementing a QMS affects a company’s total performance. An effective quality management system enables an organization to meet regulatory and customer requirements, as well as prevent errors, save money, and continually improve its offerings.
In the past, a company’s QMS was managed with pen and paper. Today companies are increasingly turning to quality management software. Finding the right QMS software (sometimes called an “eQMS”) can help you manage your workflows and assure the confidence and comfort of your customers.
ROAR is a risk management and regulatory compliance platform that supports a number of quality management frameworks, including ISO 9001. ROAR provides an integrated experience that allows you to track quality and risk across your entire company, assuring the best and safest experience for your clients and customers. Schedule a demo today to learn more about how ROAR can help your company build a QMS that works for you.