The Quality Management System (QMS) is a formalised system that documents the businesses organisational structure, responsibilities, processes, procedures and resources which direct and control how products are produced in order to meet customer and regulatory requirements and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of production.
Documentation is at the heart of the quality management system. These documents must be controlled and documented procedures should be established to define the controls, i.e. in relation to document identification; update, withdrawal and archiving; storage; protection; retrieval; retention; and disposition of records.Quality Policy
The quality policy is a brief statement or document which outlines the quality goals of the organisation (with a consideration of the customers’ requirements); a commitment to achieving them and ensuring continuous improvement.Quality Objectives
Quality objectives are measurable steps toward achieving the quality policy. They help to focus the goals from the quality policy into plans for improvement. For example: no. of complaints; no. non-conformances, or % of on time deliveries. The organisation should define the acceptable tolerance levels and measure their quality objectives.Quality Manual
The quality manual outlines the information related to the organisations quality management system, including the organisations goals and objectives, scope (i.e. products and industry and any exclusions), context (i.e. identify internal and external issues to prioritise and address factors which may affect the organisation), description of the process, roles and responsibilities, expectations, and quality policies. It also provides a precise record of all the documents related to the quality management system (e.g. procedures and standard operating procedures), i.e. it acts as an index or table of contents for the entire scope of the QMS.Procedures
Documented procedures define the policy in terms of who, what and where. Responsibilities and actions are outlinedWork Instructions
Documented work instructions, drawings and visual aids provide information about how to perform activities and processes.Records
Records are completed forms which provide objective evidence of activities performed or results achieved.
Benefits of a documented QMS
The quality management system influences every aspect of the businesses performance. The reported benefits include:
- Outlining the businesses direction
- Engaging employees
- Ensuring processes are defined and controlled
- Improving processes, reducing waste and lowering costs
- Identifying training areas and improvements
- Consistently meeting organisational, regulatory and customer requirements
- Enhancing customer satisfaction and maintaining a good reputation
Ultimately, a QMS is a proactive approach which helps reduce issues before they arise through a continuous process of process and product assessment, auditing and fault correction.