Quality Management and why it’s important?

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What is quality?

Quality is much more than describing a product or service as “good”. Quality management is the monitoring of the various activities and tasks within a company in order to ensure that the products and services offered and the means used to achieve them are uniform. It helps to achieve and maintain a desired level of quality within the company.

Those who work in the field of quality often refer to the Quality Management System (QMS). The QMS is not a machine or an application, but the underlying quality process architecture on which the company is located. The term “QMS” covers all the people, processes, interest groups and technologies involved in a company’s quality culture, as well as its main commercial objectives.

Quality is both a perspective and an approach to increase customer satisfaction, reduce cycle time and costs, and eliminate errors and rework using a set of defined tools such as root cause analysis, Pareto analysis, etc. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines “quality” as “the extent to which a set of intrinsic characteristics meets a requirement” and “requirement” as “a requirement or expectation that is specified, generally implicit or mandatory”.

Examples of requirements:
  • Customer specifications such as reliability, availability, accuracy and delivery dates
  • The value of goods and services purchased, such as return on investment and productivity gains
  • Various ISO quality standards, including ISO 9001, IATF 16949 and ISO 13485

Legal requirements such as the Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA Code of Federal Regulations, the Canadian Standards Association, Underwriters Laboratories, EU directives and the Occupational Health & Safety Act.

Various industry requirements

Quality is not a program or discipline. It does not stop when you have reached a certain goal. Quality must live in the organization as a culture of quality, in which each person lives and understands the need for dedication to their values. Quality is a constant race for improvement without a finish line.

In general, quality is about doing what is right for your customers, employees, stakeholders, your company and the environment in which we all operate. From the individual employee level to the global level, quality is about maximizing productivity and customer satisfaction, while protecting our people and resources from damage caused by messy processes and negligent monitoring. Quality is an approach that should be the goal of every organization, whether it is a business, a manufacturer, a health care organization, a government or a non-profit organization.

Quality management consists of four key elements, including

Quality planning — The process of identifying the quality standards relevant to the project and deciding how to meet them.

Quality improvement — Targeted modification of a process to improve the confidence or reliability of the result.

Quality control — The continuous effort to maintain the integrity and reliability of a process in order to achieve an outcome.

Quality Assurance — Systematic or planned measures necessary to ensure sufficient reliability to ensure that a particular service or product meets specified requirements.

The objective of quality management is to ensure that all the company’s stakeholders work together to improve the company’s processes, products, services and culture in order to achieve long-term success through customer satisfaction.

The quality management process includes a set of policies developed by a team to ensure that the products and services they produce meet the right standards or are adapted to their intended use. The process begins when the company sets quality objectives to be achieved and agreed with the customer. The company then defines how the objectives are measured. It then takes the necessary measures to measure quality. They then identify any quality problems that arise and initiate improvements. The final step is to report on the overall level of quality achieved. This process ensures that the products and services produced by the team meet customer expectations.

Toyota Corporation’s implementation of the Kanban system is an excellent example of good quality management. Kanban is a warehouse management system developed by Taiichi Ohno to provide transparency to suppliers and buyers in order to limit the increase in overstocks on the production line at any given time. Toyota used this concept to implement its just-in-time (JIT) system, which allows suppliers’ raw material orders to be aligned directly with production schedules. Toyota’s assembly line has become more efficient and the company has received enough inventory to satisfy customer orders over the generation.

Principles of quality management

The International Standard for Quality Management adopts several principles of quality management. These principles are used by top management to manage a company’s performance improvement processes. These include

1. Customer orientation

The primary goal of any business should be to meet or exceed the expectations and needs of its customers. If a company can understand and meet the current and future needs of its customers, it builds customer loyalty, which increases its revenue. The company is also able to develop and satisfy new customer potential. When business processes are more efficient, quality is higher and more customers can be satisfied.

2. Leadership

Good leadership means the success of a company. Strong leadership creates unity and purpose between employees and shareholders. The creation of a successful corporate culture creates an internal environment that enables employees to fully exploit their potential and actively participate in achieving their goals. Managers should involve employees in setting clear corporate goals and objectives. It motivates employees who can significantly improve their productivity and loyalty.

3. Involving people

Employee participation is another basic principle. Management is committed to creating and providing added value for employees, whether full-time, part-time, external or internal. A company should encourage employees to constantly improve their skills and maintain consistency. This principle also includes empowering employees to engage them in decision making and recognise their performance. When people are valued, they work at their best potential because it strengthens their trust and motivation. When employees are fully involved, they feel empowered and responsible for their actions.

4. Process approach

The performance of a company is decisive according to the principle of the process approach. This approach focuses on the efficiency and effectiveness of business processes. The approach is to understand that good processes improve consistency, accelerate operations, reduce costs, avoid waste and continuously improve. A company is improved when executives can manage and control a company’s inputs and outputs, as well as the processes that produce the outputs.

5. Continuous improvement

Every company should set itself the goal of actively participating in continuous improvement. Companies that are constantly improving see their performance improving, their organizational flexibility increasing and their ability to take advantage of new business opportunities. Companies must be able to continually create new processes and adapt to new market situations.

6. Evidence-based decision-making

Companies should adopt a factual approach to decision-making. Companies that make decisions based on verified and analyzed data have a better understanding of the market. They are able to perform tasks that lead to desired results and even justify their previous decisions. Real decision-making is important to understand the cause-and-effect relationships between different things and even to explain possible unintended outcomes and consequences.

7. Relationship management

Relationship management is about building mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers and distributors. Various stakeholders can affect the company’s performance. The company must properly manage the supply chain process and foster relationships between the company and its suppliers in order to maximize their impact on the company’s performance. If a company manages its stakeholder relationships well, it is more likely to achieve sustainable business collaboration.

Advantages of quality management

It helps a company to achieve greater coherence in the tasks and activities involved in the production of products and services.

  • It increases process efficiency, reduces waste and improves the use of time and other resources.
  • It helps to improve customer satisfaction.
  • It enables companies to effectively market their activities and open up new markets.
  • It facilitates the integration of new employees and thus helps companies to manage their growth more transparently.
  • It enables a company to continuously improve its products, processes, and systems.

Conclusion

Quality management in companies is essential to ensure the consistency of processes, products and services. In business, customer satisfaction is of crucial importance. Since the main concern of a customer is the quality of the products or services he buys, the main objective of the supplier should always be to ensure that what he produces is of consistent quality.

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