A Quality Management System (QMS) is a series of written procedures for key processes and methods put in place to ensure a business can meet customer requirements consistently and effectively. A well-maintained and implemented QMS can boost productivity and ensure your business hits performance targets. If you haven’t yet implemented a quality management system, read on to learn more.
Why is a QMS Important?
A QMS is very important, particularly in sectors like manufacturing. Implementing a QMS will help you reduce waste and boost efficiency. It can also help you meet the standards required to achieve your compliance. If a business is not compliant, it could trigger all kinds of problems, legal or otherwise.
A QMS can support a business, but there needs to be a robust framework in place for managing the QMS processes. There are software QMS solutions available to help businesses put a quality management system in place. Enterprise software is ideal for larger businesses, and EQMS are essential tools in any manufacturing process, where lean methods are used to reduce waste and improve efficiency.
Building a QMS Framework
A QMS framework, whether software or actual paperwork, is all about maintaining accurate records. The QMS will include records, reports, and help employees carry out their tasks in a compliant manner. If there are incidences of non-conformance, the QMS will record these, as well as the outcome. An effective QMS creates an accurate paper trail, so when processes are audited, perhaps for compliance purposes, data is accurate and up to date at all times.
All quality management systems have a hierarchy of essential documents. The first is a Quality Manual. There should also be a list of policies, procedures, instructions for how to carry out various tasks, forms, and lists.
Essential Steps in Implementing a QMS
Implementing a QMS can seem like a challenge, but many companies already have a lot of documentation already in place. However, all documents must adopt the same template and be easy to read and understand. All existing policy documents and procedural manuals must be brought up to date, checked for accuracy, and imported into the new format.
Map all areas of the business and decide which ones should fall under the umbrella of a QMS. It may be that some areas are left out of the process. Include all members of the business in the process. It is very important that everyone gets involved, so any areas of non-compliance or missing documentation are highlighted early on in the process.
Documents must be drafted according to the master template, and accessible to everyone. Ensure documents are reviewed by department heads to check for inaccuracies. Documents must be filed in a way that they can easily be identified and retrieved (this is one benefit of using a QMS software solution, as all documents are stored electronically in the cloud, and accessible to everyone, from anywhere).
Note that staff training will probably be needed so employees know how to use the QMS.