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Quality is a word which has been used for a very long time, lots of books have been written about it, and many of the world scientists have defined it in many different ways. In this research paper, I will emphasis on the Quality Management System, why is it important? What is it used for? What is the importance of having a Quality Management System? Many people think implementing QMS costs a lot and all the benefit is a piece of a paper which say that your company is certified in having QMS so you can only hang this picture or certificate on the wall and tell your smart customer that you have it. In fact, no blames on them, they have not used this system yet, they do not know that this system save a lot and a lot of money for companies. They do not know that this system create a dynamic motion within the companies so everyone know what he/she is doing, everybody understands his/her role, and everyone can feel being an important part of the process then everybody can work towards a clear and unified target. However, having a lot of benefits requires a reasonable cost and in the same time it worth. There are several organization which are concerned and involved in this issue, those organizations have produced a unified standards and those standards have its requirements. The International Standardization Organization which located in Switzerland which have a contribution of 157 countries have produced a standard which is concerned about the QMS. It is known as ISO 9000 family and the ISO 9001 is the one which is concerned about the requirement of the QMS. Of course, that creates the needs for understanding these standards in order to get the certificate from the organization which is authorized by the ISO. That also creates the need for the training which is very important for companies to implement the QMS. The standards have been developed the course of the quality history from needing a quality control to a quality assurance. Basically, implementing a Quality Management System is important for companies to succeed in today’s market, and will enhance customer satisfaction, and improve internal process. It becomes more and more a necessity for international companies because it saves a lot of money in one hand and time in the other. Nevertheless, implementing such system requires an effort, training, and using consultant companies to ease the establishment of the system and to get the certificate eventually.
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Quality in general has been defined as “ How good or bad something is.” ( Oxford, 602). Experts have a common definition about Quality Management System, they have defined it as "A set of co-coordinated activities to direct and control an organization in order to continually improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its performance."
What is a QMS?
A quality management system provides companies with a set of processes that ensure a common sense approach to the management of companies. The Quality Management System ensure consistency and improvement of working practices, which in turn provide products and services that meet customer's requirements. ISO 9000 is the most commonly used international standard that provides a framework for quality management system.
What is ISO 9000?
ISO 9000 is a generic name given to a family of standards developed to provide a framework which a quality management system can effectively be implemented based on.
What does it mean?
To benefit from ISO 9000:2000 there are steps to consider. At First, a company has to define why it is in business or what for it is doing business. Then the next thing to do is to define the main processes or what to do. Then the company has to define how to do it in writing. So it needs to describe in writing how to do these processes and who is responsible to do them. Lastly, there has to be an agreement amongst the company.
Implementing a Quality Management System
There are steps that every company implementing a QMS need to consider:
Get the Standard
Before a company can begin preparing for implementing the Quality Management System, it will need to require a copy of the standard. The standard is ISO 9001:2000 which is concerned about the QMS. The company needs to understand the requirement and be familiar with it.
Assign a team and agree your strategy
The company should begin the entire implementation process by preparing organizational strategy with top management. Responsibility for a QMS lies with Senior Management; therefore it is vital that Senior Management is involved from the beginning of the process.
If the company seeking to implement a Quality Management System, there are a range of workshops, seminars and training courses should be taken by employees concerned with the implementation. These courses qualify the employees to be internal auditor of the system and external auditors for sub-contactors or suppliers.
Review Consultancy Options
The company can receive advice from independent consultants on how to implement the quality management system. They have the experience in implementing a QMS and can ensure to avoid costly mistakes.
Choose a registrar
The registrar is the 3rd party, who come and assess the effectiveness of the quality management system, and issue a certificate if it meet the requirements of the standard.
Develop a Quality manual
A Quality manual is a high level document that outlines the company intention to operate in a quality manner. It outline why the company is in business, what the company intention is, how the company is applying the standard and how the business is operated.
Develop support documentation
This is a procedures manual that supports the Quality manual. It determine what you do to complete a task. It describes who do what, in what order and to what standard.
Implement your Quality Management System
To implement the system, communication and training are very important. During the implementation everyone operate to the procedures and collect records that describe you are doing what you said you are doing.
Consider a pre-assessment
A pre-assessment by your registrar normally take place about 6 weeks after the start of the implementation of the quality system. The purpose of the pre-assessment is to identify areas where you may not be following the standard. This allow you to correct any area you may before the real assessment.
The company should arrange the real assessment with the registrar. At this point the registrar will review the Quality Management System and determine whether the company should be recommended for registration.
The Benefits of Implementing a QMS
Implementing The Quality Management System benefits companies in many ways. The first benefit of implementing this system is to save time. Since this system is concerned with the management of a company’s daily practices which affect the work flow which is eventually produces the products to the customer, this system tells where time wasted and why. This system analysis each single point in the whole processes and helps to exclude some of the routine which is most of the time is not necessary. Sometimes work flow takes more steps, signatures and involvement of people who do not add any extra value to the work processes or to the final shape of a product: therefore, eliminating these small tedious details can save have of the production time. For example, if a customer wants to buy a product, a service can be defined as a product, and for the customer to get his required product, the time is very important. Customer always asks this typical question, how long would take to get this done? If a company implements the Quality Managements System then the question is easily answered. Because it is easy to find out what exactly needed to produce a product then the estimation can be make easily. Moreover, if a customer cannot wait, then unnecessary steps can be easily excluded. From here I move to the customer satisfaction which is the second benefit in my research of implementing such system. Customer satisfaction is a very important factor for businesses to grow. If a company has the system up and running then the customer is ensured that each product is in the same conditions, shape and quality. Customer need not to worry since the company adopting the system and following it precisely. The system tells everyone in the company how each and every process is done, so the result is guaranteed. The processes are transforming an input into an output. To have a desired output, the way the processes are designed plays an important role of the production of a product which can be a service as mentioned earlier. The third benefit is the processes improvements, a process cannot be improved until it is defined and described in the first place. Therefore, Implementing the Quality Management System requires the whole description of processes and procedures. Once processes are described and used, it is easier to eliminate unneeded steps within each process. Each time the process is used and the more the experience is gained then the more improvement can be made. Customer requirements can develop and vary in each project, so since the company has already implemented the system, if a customer requirement has changes then it is easier for the company to improve the system process from where they stand rather than starting designing all over again which of course cost money. From here, I come to the last and the most important benefit which cutting down the cost and saving money. If time is saved, and time of course means money for all companies, then money is saved. If processes are improved then reducing them means time has been saved and then time means money. If a customer is satisfied, then business increases, grows and continues and that makes money. So implementing the Quality Management System save time, enhance customer satisfaction, improve internal process and save money.
Quality Management system is a subject which can not be cover in such a short research paper. However, I tried to bring up the basic knowledge about this incredible system which allow companies to success and grow in the international market. Companies which have used this system have become well-known world wide and we can not find an international company in Europe or elsewhere does not have it. Quality Management system benefit companies in many different ways. In my research paper, I only mentioned the most important ones which are as follow:
1- Save time.
2- Improve internal processes.
3- Customer satisfaction
4- Save money.
Moreover, I believe that these benefits are enough to decision makers in big companies to consider using such system invest a little amount of the profits to gain much more amount in return.