Quality Management System Improves Organizational Performance
Quality of products plays a vital role in the future of an organization and its performance. The quality management system is a strategy employed by the top management of an organization. The design and the implementation of this system is influenced by varying needs, particular objectives, the products provided, the process employed and the size and the structure of the organization. This is an International Standard, based on eight Quality management principles. However, this standard does not seek to imply uniformity in the structure of quality management systems or uniformity of documentation.
The purpose of an organization is to identify and meet the needs of expectations of its customers and other interested parties, to achieve competitive advantage, and to do this in an effective and efficient manner, and to achieve, maintain, and improve overall organizational performance and capabilities. The application of quality management principles not only provides direct benefits but also makes an important contribution to managing costs and risk management considerations are important for the organization, its customers and other interested parties. These considerations which may impact overall performance of the organization are following: Customer loyalty with repeat business and referral, Operational results such as revenue and market share, Flexible and fast responses to market opportunities, Costs and cycle times through effective and efficient use of resources, Alignment of processes which will best achieve desired results, Competitive advantage through improved organizational capabilities, Understanding and motivating employees towards the organization’s goals and objectives, as well as participation in continual improvement. Confidence of interested parties in the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization as demonstrated by the financial and social benefits from the organization’s performance, product life cycle, and reputation. Ability to create value for both the organization and its suppliers by optimization of costs and resources as well as flexibility and speed to join responses to changing markets.
MANAGING SYSTEM AND PROCESSES
The success of an organization should result from implementing and maintaining a management system that is designed to continually improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the organizations´ performance by considering the needs of interested parties. Managing an organization includes quality management, among other management disciplines.
Top management should establish a customer−oriented organization: a) By defining systems and processes that can be clearly understood, managed and improved in effectiveness as well as efficiency, and b) By ensuring effective and efficient operation and control of processes and the measures and data used to determine satisfactory performance of the organization. Examples of activities to establish a customer oriented organization include: Defining and promoting processes that lead to improved organizational performance, Acquiring and using process data and information on a continuing basis, Directing progress towards continual improvement, and Using suitable methods to evaluate process improvement, such as self−assessments and managements and management review.
Management should define the documentation, including the relevant records, needed to establish, implement and maintain the quality management system and to support an effective and efficient operation of the organization’s processes.
The nature and extent of the documentation should satisfy the needs and expectations of interested parties. Management should consider: Contractual requirements from the customer and other interested parties, Acceptance of international, national, regional and industry sector standards, Relevant statutory regulatory requirements, Decision by the organization, Sources of external information relevant for the development of the organization’s competencies, and information about the need and expectations of interested parties. The generation, use and control of documentation should be evaluated with respect to the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization against criteria such as: Functionality ( such as speed of processing), User friendliness, Resources needed, Policies and objectives, Current and future requirements related to managing knowledge, Benchmarking of documentation systems, and Interfaces used by organization’s customers, suppliers and other interested parties. Access to documentation should be ensured to people in the organization and to other interested parties, based on the organization’s communication policy.
USE OF QUALITY MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES
To lead and operate an organization successfully, it is necessary to manage it in a systematic and visible manner. The guidance to management offered in this international standard is based on eight quality management principles.
These principles have been developed for use by top management in order to lead the organization toward improved performance. These quality management principles are integrated in the contents of this international standard and are listed below: a) Customer focus: Organizations depend on their customers and therefore should understand current and future customer needs. It should meet customer requirements and strive to exceed customer expectations. b) Leadership: Leaders establish unity of purpose and direction of the organization. They should create and maintain the internal environment in which people can become fully involved in achieving the organization’s objectives. c) Involvement of People: People at all levels are the essence of an organization and their full involvement enables their abilities to be used for the organization’s benefit.
d) Process approach: A desired result is achieved more efficiently when activities and related resources are managed as a process. e) System approach to Management: Identifying, understanding and managing the interrelated processes as a system, contributes to the organization’s effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its objectives. f) Continual Improvement: Continual improvement of the organization’s overall performance should be a permanent objectives of any organization. g) Factual approach to management: Effective decisions are based on the analysis of data and information. h) Mutually beneficial supplier relationships: An organization and its suppliers are interdependent and a mutually beneficial relationship enhances the ability of both to create value. Successful use of the eight management principles by an organization will result in benefits to interested parties, such as improved monetary returns, the creation of value and increased stability.
NEEDS AND EXPECTATIONS OF INTERESTED PARTIES
Every organization has interested parties, each party having needs and expectations. Some of these interested parties of organizations include: Customers and end − users People in the organization Owners/investors (such as shareholders, individuals or groups, including the public sector, that have a specific interest in the organization) Suppliers and partners, and Society in terms of the community and the public affected by the organization or its products. The success of the organization depends on understanding and satisfying the current and future needs and expectations of present and potential customers and end−users, as well as understanding and considering those of other interested parties.
In order to understand and meet the needs and expectations of interested parties, an organization should Identify its interested parties and maintain a balanced response to their needs and expectations, Translate identified needs and expectations into requirements, Communicate the requirements throughout the organization, and Focus on process improvement to ensure value for the identified interested parties. To satisfy customer and end−user needs and expectations, the management of an organization should: Understand the needs and expectations of its customers, including those of potential customers Determine key product characteristics for its customers and end−users, Identify assess competition in its market, and Identify market opportunities, weaknesses and future competitive advantage, Examples of customer and end−user needs and expectations, as related to the organization’s products, include: Conformity, Dependability, Availability, Delivery, Post −realization activities, Price and life−cycle costs, Product safety, Product liability, and Environment impact
Top management should use the quality policy as a means of leading the organization toward improvement of its performance.
An organization’s quality policy should be an equal and consistent part of the organization’s overall policies and strategy.
In establishing the quality policy, top management should consider: the level and type of future improvement needed for the organization to be successful,
the expected or desired degree of customer satisfaction, the development of people in the organization, the needs and expectations of other interested parties, the resources needed to go beyond ISO 9001 requirements, and the potential contributions of suppliers and partners. The quality policy can be used for improvement provided that: it is consistent with top management’s vision and strategy for the organization’s future, it permits quality objectives to be understood and pursued throughout the organization, it demonstrates top management’s commitment to quality and the provision of adequate resources of achievement of objectives, it aids in promoting a commitment to quality throughout the organization, with clear leadership by top management. It includes continual improvement as related to satisfaction of the needs ad expectations of customers and other interested parties, and it is effectively formulated and efficiently communicated.
PLANNING Quality objectives
The organization’s strategic planning and the quality policy provide a framework for the setting of quality objectives. Top management should establish these objectives, leading to improvement of the organization’s performance The objectives should be capable of being measured in order to facilitate an effective and efficient review by management. When establishing these objectives, management should also consider: current and future needs of the organization and the markets served, relevant findings from management reviews, current product and process performance, levels of satisfaction of interested parties, self−assessment results, benchmarking, competitor analysis, opportunities for improvement, and resources needed to meet the objectives. The quality objectives should be communicated in such a way that people in the organization can contribute to their achievement. Responsibility for deployment of quality objectives should be defined. Objectives should be systematically reviewed and revised as necessary.
Management should take responsibility for the quality planning of the organization. The planning should focus on defining the processes needed to meet effectively and efficiently the organization’s quality objectives and requirements consistent with the strategy of the organization.
Inputs for effective and efficient planning include
strategies of the organization, defined organizational objectives defined needs and expectations of the customers and other interested parties, evaluation of statutory and regulatory requirements, evaluation of performance data of the products, evaluation of performance data of processes, lessons learned from previous experience, indicated opportunities for improvement, and related risk assessment and mitigation data. Outputs of quality planning for the organization should define the product realization and support processes needed in terms such as skills and knowledge needed by the organization responsibility and authority for implementation of process improvement plans,
resources needed, such as financial and infrastructure, metrics for evaluating the achievement of the organization’s performance improvement needs for improvement including methods and tools, and needs for documentation, including records.
Responsibility, Authority and Communication
Top management should define and then communicate the responsibility and authority in order to implement and maintain an effective and efficient quality management system.
People throughout the organization should be given responsibility and authority to enable them to contribute to the achievement of the quality objectives and to establish their involvement, motivation and commitment.
A management representative should be appointed and given authority by top management to manage, monitor, evaluate and coordinate the quality management system. This appointment is to enhance effective and efficient operation and improvement of the quality management system. The representative should report to top management and communicate with customers and other interested parties on matter pertaining to the quality management system.
The management of the organization should define and implement an effective and efficient process for communicating the quality policy, requirements, objectives and accomplishments. Providing such information can aid in the organization’s performance improvement and directly involve its people in the achievement of quality objectives. Management should actively encourage feedback and communication from people in the organization as a means of involving them. Activities for communicating include: management−led communication in work areas, team briefings and other meetings, such as for recognition of achievement notice−boards, in−house journals/ magazines, audio−visual and electric media, such as email and websites, and employee surveys and suggestion schemes.
MANAGEMENT REVIEW General
Top management should develop the management review activity beyond verification of the effectiveness and efficiency of the quality management system into a process that extends to the whole organization, and which also evaluates the efficiency of the system. Management reviews should be platforms for the exchange of new ideas, with open discussion and evaluation of the inputs being stimulated by the leadership of top management.
To add value to the organization from management review, top management should control the performance of realization and support processes by systematic review based on the quality management principles. The frequency of review should be determined by the needs of the organization. Inputs of the review process should result in outputs that extend beyond the effectiveness and efficiency of the quality management system. Outputs from reviews should provide data for use in planning for performance improvement of the organization.
Inputs to evaluate efficiency as well as the effectiveness of the quality management system should consider the customer and other interested parties and should include: status and results of quality objectives and improvement activities, status of management review action items, results of audits and self−assessment of the organization, feedback on the satisfaction of interested parties, perhaps even to the point of their participation, market−related factors such as technology, research and development, and competitive performance,
results from benchmarking activities performance of suppliers, new opportunities for improvement control of process and product non− conformities, market place evaluation and strategies, status of strategic partnership activities, financial effects of quality related activities, and other factors which may impact the organization, such as financial, social or environmental conditions, and relevant statutory and regulatory changes.
By extending management review beyond verification of the quality management system, the output of management review can be used by top management as inputs to improvement processes. Top management can use this review process as a powerful tool in the identification of opportunities for performance improvement of the organization. The schedule of reviews should facilitate the timely provision of data in the context of strategic planning for the organization. Selected output should be communicated to demonstrate to the people in the organization how the management review process leads to new objectives that will benefit the organization. Additional outputs to enhance efficiency include, for example performance objectives for products and processes, performance improvement objectives for the organization, appraisal of the suitability of the organization’s structure and resources. strategies and initiatives for marketing, products and satisfaction of costumers and other interested parties, loss prevention and mitigation plans for identified risks, and information for strategic planning for future needs of the organization. Records should be sufficient to provide for traceability and to facilitate evaluation of the management review process itself, in order to ensure its continued effectiveness and added value to the organization.