What is a Quality Management System?

a young woman in an aqua cardigan with long black hair holding a calculator, surrounded by iso 9001 quality management system related symbols.

A quality management system is your secret weapon for proving competencies across several different disciplines to win contracts. In fact, one of the best ways to assure your clients you can meet their needs is certification to an ISO 9001 quality management system.

Sounds great, right? But what is it?

What is an ISO 9001 Quality Management System?

A quality management system (QMS) is the way your business directs and controls activities that are related – either directly or indirectly – to achieving intended results. 

In short, it’s a clearly defined set of business processes focused on consistently meeting customer requirements. 

Broadly, it consists of your business’ structure with planning, processes, resources and other documentation that you use to achieve your quality objectives.  Examples of these objectives could be meeting your customer’s requirements, to improve your QMS or to improve your products or services.

Surprisingly, every business will already have a QMS of some shape or form in place, even if you’re not convinced you have! Fear not! You do. And this is the foundation to build your QMS on.

Better still, most businesses find they’re already fulfilling many of the requirements of ISO 9001. They just haven’t yet organised everything into a formal management system.

a male hand drawing interwoven cogs on a blackboard

What’s the Purpose of a Quality Management System?

A quality management system ensures the same information, methods, skills, and controls are used and applied in a consistent manner every time a process is performed. So, delivery to the customer remains consistently high as a result.

But it’s more than just a set of documents your business refers to. On the contrary, your QMS is the underlying quality process architecture on which the business sits, encompassing every part of the business including:

  • People
  • Processes
  • Stakeholders
  • Technologies

As a result, an upkept QMS is a powerful tool to:

  • Protect your reputation
  • Ensure good communication
  • Meet customer needs 

Accordingly, your customers will know what to expect from your business, and can confidently anticipate the same high quality from every purchase they make from you. It’s an asset that shouldn’t be underestimated. After all, if your business provides this level of consistent quality, you’ll not only retain your existing clients. Additionally, you’ll grow a reputation for quality that will magnetise more customers in your direction.

a hand holding a white piece of chalk writing committed to quality on a blackboard

Why have a Quality Management System?

Many businesses implement a formal quality management system to satisfy their customers’ needs for assurance that products and services will meet quality standards. Imagine how their confidence is elevated when assurances are backed up by a certified ISO 9001 company!

Your QMS will have an inbuilt reviewing process. So, any issues can be mitigated at source, by finding and rectifying the root cause of any problems identified.

But the best kept QMS won’t solve all your problems. Nor will it necessarily lead to an improvement of your work processes, products and services in its own right.  It is a tool to help you take a systematic approach to fulfilling your business objectives, which in turn will deliver improvements.

A QMS will bring about many benefits including consistency and reduction in faults.  Companies that use a QMS have clearly defined processes, so should there be changes in staff, or equipment breakdown, the information is readily available to deal with the issue.  The QMS will have an inbuilt reviewing process, so should a fault be identified, it can be rectified and by finding the root cause of the problem, the issue is mitigated at source.

the hand of a suited male writing root cause analysis in their air surrounded by business related doodles

Could your business could benefit from a QMS to:

  • Improve consistency?
  • Meet customer requirements?
  • Reduce faults?
  • Continually improve?

Then get in touch for an obligation-free chat. Or feel free to read my ISO How to Guides which provide insights into many different aspects of building a quality management system.

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