Quality management system is a part of modern management that deals with the approach on the basis of drawing on system and quality theories. There are different approaches to quality management systems and most of these approaches are based on the principles that are obtained from practical work experiences in industrial manufacturing and not from agricultural practices and academic research. This only means that majority of the quality management systems are applied and used in the manufacturing industry (www.itri.org, 2008).
Different quality management systems have a common process to ensure the quality of their products and services. This common process is known as quality control. This quality control function is a very important step in the production process and thus will not be eliminated by most manufacturers. Quality control is very important because without it, the number of defective products that must be repaired, disposed, or returned would dramatically increase.
Along with the many importance of quality management systems and quality control is one of the most important reason in the implementation of these systems, that is reputation upholding.
For example, majority and almost all of consulting and service industries monitor the quality of the services that they offer in order to uphold their reputations. Other reasons include the satisfaction of customers and the ability to generate and repeat business.
In order to achieve quality control, there should be data quality. Data quality refers to the quality that ensures the accuracy, timeliness, completeness and consistency of the data that are being used by an organization.
Along with this definition of data quality is the responsibility that for anyone who uses the data, he or she has a common understanding and knowledge of what the data represents.
For the better understanding of what data quality really means, consider the following examples. For example, data of product sales should be more specific, that is, if it either includes or excludes internal sales. Another example of data quality is that the appropriate units for a certain measurement done in a transaction or recorded in documents.
That is, whether the currency used is in euros or in dollars. Overall, the scope of data quality is not limited to the data that are generated by the organization or of a certain industry but also the data that are obtained from external sources. The improper implementation of data quality can negatively affect a certain company or industry (Greenyer et. al., 2007).
The use of poor quality data can negatively influence the name of a company in the market or the way that the company is perceived in the marketplace. The first impression of the customer is that of the quality of products and services that a certain company can give to its customers. Specific examples of minor errors and yet evidence of poor quality are misaddressed mails, wrong invoices, and erroneous shipments.
In today’s modern world, quality management system dictates the future of a certain goal or vision. However, employing quality management system alone without an efficient way of implementing or doing it will lead to result that is comparable to that of having no quality system management at all. That it is why, a strategy or tactic must be done in accordance with quality management system.
Different strategies around the world are being used, and all of these strategies depend also on the specific field in which quality management system will be employ, medicine for example. By looking at some examples of strategy on the use of quality management system in the real world, we may be able to evaluate its content, predict possible outputs and correct errors. More or less, the style of quality management system can be modified in order to suit a particular topic or area of specialization. For a clearer view of this topic, the following case is given. In New Zealand, there is a tradition of conducting five-yearly population censuses.
In the year 1996, having a low budget and the limited time frame to conduct the national census, the goal of obtaining a high quality data which will be input in a database for next years use was not achieved. Thus, another approach was used. The approach used is know commonly known as The 2001 Quality Management Strategy.
This 2001 QMS (Quality Management Strategy) lead an example on further use of census. In this new method, five main strategies were used in order to achieve the desired goal of high quality data. Although there are main strategies used, the wide range of outputs made it difficult to choose specific and long lasting strategies.
The strategies used include the differentiation between the levels of outputs quality, agreement on the quality for 2001 standards, identification of high risk areas to quality throughout the census process, management and reduction of risks, and monitoring and measurement of quality along with the provision of feedback to users. Overall, this 2001 QMS provided the starting point for managing quality throughout a census (McBeth et. al., n.d.)
No matter what the strategy is or the type of quality management system that a company is using, the main point here is the strive to achieve quality. One importance of quality is the demand to meet the customers’ needs. Quality can be determined by measuring quality characteristics such as reliability, maintainability, and robustness. If these quality characteristics are not ensured by researchers and the industrial processes are not designed to meet the customers’ needs, the inherent quality of the products can not be increase (www.itri.org, 2008).
In order to promote and ensure quality, research and development is a very important factor for it plays a very important role. This is the main reason why international organizations like ISO (International Organization for Standardization) exists and set the rules and policies which are implemented as a guide to ensure the quality of products and services being offered by different industries.
One of the organizations in the field of research and development that sets the guidelines for quality control and quality assurance is the ISO or the International Organization of Standardization. ISO is a worldwide organization that develops much different kind of standards. This organization develops the standards that are being used by companies worldwide for them to be plug in the world market.
ISO 9001 refers to the series of documents for the Quality Management System Standard and contains the actual requirements or qualifications that an organization must possess for it to become ISO 9001 registered. Thus, ISO 9001 serves as a guideline or a lost of protocols that organizations and companies must follow in order to provide high quality products and services for the consumers.
The ISO 9001 is an outline for a quality management system. It applies to all types of organizations of different sizes and different functions. It is an outline that can help organizations, whether product or service oriented in achieving quality standards that are highly recognized and respected throughout the world (www.praxiom.com, 2008).
As an outline, it sets the criteria for a good quality management system. These criteria are the basics of good business practice and involves setting of quality goals, ensuring that the customer requirements are understood and met, training of employees, control of production processes, purchase from suppliers, and the correction of problems and ensuring that they will not happen again.
If all the above mentioned criteria are met, the company will be ISO 9001 certified. Companies that are ISO 9001 certified can put the ISO registration mark in their marketing materials and this will tell the potential consumers or clients of that company that the company has a good quality management system in place (www.the9000store.com, 2007)
The use of ISO 9001 in building the Quality Management System of a company is accompanied by the responsibility of managing the company or organization as a system of interrelated processes. It involves the planning of these processes and the identification of their relation with each other in order to set the goals and make improvements.
Along with the responsibilities and duties that an ISO 9001 Certified Company must follow are also the benefits that it will achieve in doing so. These benefits involve internal and marketing benefits. Internal benefits include increased productivity, less scrap and rework, increased employee satisfaction, continual improvement, and increased profits.
On the other hand, marketing benefits such as an internationally recognized quality management system, increased opportunities in specific markets, and increased customer satisfaction, will be achieved by an ISO 9001 certified company. This only means that ISO 9001 certification will lead to a more globally competitive and productive company that meets and supplies the demands of its consumers.
Aside from the benefits of the company, the employees will also benefit from it. It will ensure them that they have the training and information to do their job correctly. Working in an ISO certified company entails the employees to be in strict compliance with the precautions of quality control. This way, a high quality range of goods and services can be provided to meet the rising demand of consumers.
Having discussed the principles of ISO 9001 together with the importance of having a strategic plan of a good quality management system, the most important part is the understanding of the overall steps and necessary action that must be taken in the planning, implementation, and assessment of a good quality management system.
The first step is the purchase of standard. Upon purchase, the support literature and software must be reviewed and the strategy that must be used by the company must be agreed upon by the whole team. That is, the company must be very familiar with the standard. This part is relatively easy for there are a wide range of quality publications about the ISO 9001 standard.
The next step is the consideration of training. This part involves training through workshops, seminars, and training programs. Training also involves the review of consultancy options, which is the consultation or getting advice from independent consultant in the implementation of quality management system.
The last part is choosing a registrar. The registrar is like a third party that assesses the effectiveness of the quality management system of a company or particular industry. The registrar will also issue the company its certificate as a proof that it meets the requirement of the standard. The way to choose a registrar is somehow complex because a wide range of registrars that exists in the market
In choosing a registrar, different factors such as experience in the industry, price, geographic coverage and the level of service being offered should be considered. Part of choosing a registrar is the development of a quality manual. This quality manual outlines the goal and intents of a company in operating in a quality manner.
The development of a quality manual is followed by the development of support documentation. It describes the role of each key personnel, how they should do it, and why should they do it. Also in the list of steps is the implementation of the quality management itself. In implementation, it should be well remembered that communication and training plays a vital key to succeed.
In the implementation phase, every member of the company works on the procedure and gathers the records that are proof of each member’s part that are being done as according to the protocol. For any company or industry, a good quality management system does not stop in the implementation step; a thorough examination of the system should be conducted to determine its effectivity.
The first step in the said system examination is a pre-assessment check. The main purpose of this step is to determine the areas where the company may not be operating as according to the standard. That is, if there is a deviation in the system that leads to error or poor quality. This step is very important for it will enable a company to check and correct its errors before the actual system assessment is done.
The results of the pre-assessment should be arrange or certified by the registrar and the quality system management used will be reviewed and the result will determine if the company will be recommended for registration. After being recognized, ISO 9001 certification can be already used by the company to aid it in achieving its goals while having a high level of quality goods and services.
Lastly, the maintenance of the certification must be maintained by the company and to do so, the continuous use of the quality system management should be employed. The registrar will occasionally check that the company is meeting the standards. In this way, the use, monitoring and arrangement of quality companies can be well sorted. That is, having in mind the goal of a high quality level of products or services (www.bsi-emea.com, 2007).
The question that is always being checked for the quality system management of a company is the validity of their methods. This can be understood better by considering the case given. For example, a new chemical company is claiming that they provide accurate and high quality analysis of different chemical samples. So, how does quality management system will be applied to this company to ensure the truth of its quality claims?
The answer to this industrial dilemma is through registrar checking as dictated in the scheme for quality management system. That is, the results for the analysis of a particular chemical that will be obtain by the new chemical company will be compared to the results that are obtained by an ISO certified company. That is, the results that are obtained by the new company should be the same or within the accurate limits of the ISO certified company.
This method of checking the quality of a newly established chemical company can also be done through the so called inter laboratory analysis. That is, the same samples will be given to new and ISO certified companies and the results that will be obtained will be evaluated. This example shows the application of quality management system and ISO 9001 in the implementation of high quality and reliable products and services.
The overall understanding of quality management system and ISO 9001 will guide developing companies and will maintain the quality of products and services being offered by highly respected companies. It is a supreme tool in terms of quality excellence and is one of the major forces governing the marketplace of the business sector in today’s world.
In conclusion, it can be determined that the desire for excellence of humanity serves as the driving force to create tools such as the quality management system and ISO 9001 that will uplift the standards for quality of companies worldwide. Both QMS and ISO 9001 are necessary tools in today’s competitive world.