Formally speaking a quality management system is a collection of business processes focused on consistently meeting customer requirements and enhancing their satisfaction. It is aligned with an organization’s purpose and strategic direction. (Wiki)
A QMS is a system used to keep your business in order and maintain its quality. So is it relevant for all businesses? Well……yes it is. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an accredited system (although this does help to keep you on track) but every business should work to a quality management system.
Even if you are just starting up - elements of a QMS can be very beneficial for your business. By getting it right in the beginning you can alleviate disasters before they occur. It can help you to know your customers and their requirements and manage their expectations. A successful business keeps its customers informed and delivers what they want, when they want it. A QMS will help keep you on track and can assist you to understand what has happened if things go wrong so that you can make appropriate changes.
Be aware of your competition and learn from them. Don’t be complacent. There is always someone who can come along and develop something better. Identify your main risks and manage these well. It is a continuous process of improvement.
The QMS does not need to be complicated and can be adapted for your business needs and requirements, but it does need to be structured. Systems are designed to be followed to prevent issues arising. Follow them properly and they will help not hinder.
Quality is about making sure you get it right from the start, meet customers’ requirements and maintain a consistent standard at every stage of the process from initial enquiry to finished product / service. Investing and supporting your staff is key. With appropriate training and support this will gain trust, improve morale and, in turn, increase productivity.
A QMS is now becoming an expected requirement, especially for those businesses who want to work with larger organisations, the public sector or those who are submitting tenders. However, many businesses, especially small to medium sized businesses, have found the idea of implementing a QMS off-putting. This is mainly a historic result of overcomplicating the process and systems being implemented which were not relevant and often too laborious.
However, quality is critical to satisfying your customers and retaining their loyalty so that they continue to buy from you in the future. Quality products and services make an important contribution to long-term revenue and profitability.
A Quality Management System is a business tool to ensure that you remain in business by monitoring the competition and that you eliminate the risks to your business. The idea of implementing a QMS should not be feared but should be embraced. When implemented correctly it will save you time, money, retain customers, reduce conflict and subsequently reduce costs.
Whether you implement a standard or not you should use the above principles and have a structured approach to managing issues within your business. Start simple and be consistent to remain effective. Don’t over complicate the process. Address your significant business risks to reduce the fire fighting and act on and implement changes.
3 key points to note:
If you are a small business and want to get started, SQMAS will certainly help