According to Business Week magazine, a quality management system (QMS) is defined as the “organizational structure, procedures, processes and resources needed to measure the effectiveness of producing goods and services to clients and customers.” The purpose of QMS is to develop and maintain an organizational system which provides quality assurance and audit through every area of an organization while optimizing the process of production. These processes benefit an organization and lead to customer satisfaction.
History and Concept of QMS
The root concepts of quality management systems emerged from the Industrial Revolution. Manufacturers were beginning to assess the quality of goods sold to distributors, wholesalers and merchants, and needed a defined system to “audit” the process of creating quality goods. Before the concept of QMS, manufacturing, handcrafting and quality assurance was performed by one person. In the late 1800s, manufacturing pioneers such as Henry Ford started drawing up the initial concept of QMS, in which all management and employee processes would have a hand in developing goods or services.
Organizational Structure and QMS
A QMS requires an organizational structure which draws out the responsibilities of executive management, operations management, divisions, departments, sections and branches, while defining a mission statement for the entire organization. QMS has paved the way for a better understanding of how organizations should be structured and how similar skills within an organization should be grouped together for cohesion and to share common knowledge. Other features of a QMS include management/employee responsibilities, resource allocation and management, employee training and customer satisfaction.
Guidance for Quality Management Systems
The International Organization for Standardization describes the standards for implementing a QMS by addressing the processes which include the creation, design and development of a product or service. This is governed by the ISO 9001: 2008 specification as of July 2010, although there are other ISO standards which give procedural guidance for maintaining a quality management system.
Effects of QMS
An effective QMS leads to greater profitability. After all, the bottom line of a QMS is to provide individuals who are part of the process “ownership” or “responsibility” for their input into the QMS concept. There are items which QMS have developed in modern workplaces, such as employee of the month awards, employee suggestion boxes, cash rewards for saving an organization money and decentralized decision making. All of these ideas have evolved from the QMS concept. A good QMS can also lead to employee satisfaction, which has a chain reaction effect on customer satisfaction. Employees feel integrated into the success of the organization.
Business Awards for QMS
There are several industry-leading awards given out to businesses which use the QMS model to produce top-quality goods and services. The Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, European Foundation for Quality Management’s EFQM Excellence Model and the National Quality Institute recognize organizations based on a range of criteria which includes leadership, customer satisfaction and corporate leadership.