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According to the American Society for Quality, “quality” can be definedin the following ways:
✔ Based on customer’s perceptions of a product/service’s designand how well the design matches the original specifications.

✔ The ability of a product/service to satisfy stated or implied  needs.

✔ Achieved by conforming to established requirements withinan organization.

What Is a Quality Management System?

A quality management system is a management technique used tocommunicate to employees what is required to produce the desired quality of products and services and to influence employee actions to complete tasks according to the quality specifications.

What Purpose Does a QualityManagement System Serve?

✔ Establishes a vision for the employees.

✔ Sets standards for employees.

✔ Builds motivation within the company.

✔ Sets goals for employees.

✔ Helps fight the resistance to change within organizations.

✔ Helps direct the corporate culture.

Why Is Quality Important?

Business success may simply be the extent to which your organizationcan produce a higher-quality product or service than your competitors are able to do at a competitive price. When quality is the key to a company’s success, quality management systems allow organizations to keep up with and meet current quality levels, meet the consumer’s requirement for quality, retain employees through competitive compensation programs, and keep up with the latest technology.

Standardized Systems

ISO 9000 is a series of quality management systems (QMS) standards created by the International Organization for Standardization, a federation of 132 national standards bodies. The ISO 9000 QMS standards are not specific to products or services, but apply to the processes that create them. The standards are generic in nature so that they can be used by manufacturing and service industries anywhere in the world. An organization that would like to have ISO certification needs to meet all the criteria stated in the ISO standards and pass a detailed audit performed by an ISO auditor. In some industries ISO certification has become necessary; for example, some large manufacturers require all suppliers to be ISO certified. While ISO certification is highly respected,if it is not a trend in your specific industry, the additional cost of certification is a deterrent to most managers. It is very possible to reach the desired quality level within an organization with a well planned quality system and without going through all the additional steps for ISO certification.QS-9000, released in 1994, is the ISO 9000 derivative for suppliers to the automotive Big Three: Daimler Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. This quality management system standard contains all of ISO 9001:1994, along with automotive sector-specific, Big Three, and other original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers pecific requirements.

Total Quality Management (TQM)

TQM is a management approach in which quality is emphasized in every aspect of the business and organization. Its goals are aimed at long-term development of quality products and services. TQM breaks down every process or activity and emphasizes that each contributes or detracts from the quality and productivity of the organization as a whole. Management’s role in TQM is to develop a quality strategy that is flexible enough to be adapted to every department, aligned with the organizational business objectives, and based on customer and stake holder needs. Once the strategy is defined, it must be the motivating force to be deployed and communicated for it to be effective at all levels of the organization. Some degree of employee empowerment is also encompassed in the TQM strategy and usually involves both departmental and crossfunctional teams to develop strategies to solve quality problems and make suggestions for improvement.

Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)

 Continuous quality improvement came into existence in manufacturing as a different approach to quality and quality systems. It does not focus as much on creating a corporate quality culture, but more on the process of quality improvement by the deployment of teams or groups who are rewarded when goals and quality levels are reached. CQI allows individuals involved in the day-to-day operations to change and improve processes and work flows as they see fit. CQI implementation attempts to develop a quality system that is never satisfied; it strives for constant innovation to improve work processes and systems by reducing time-consuming, low value-added activities. The time and resource savings can now be devoted to planning and coordination. CQI has been adapted in several different industries. For example, in health care and other service sectors, it has taken on the acronym FOCUS-PDCA work:

Find a process to improve.

Organize to improve a process.

Clarify what is known.

Understand variation.

Select a process improvement.

Then move through the process improvement plan:

Plan create a time line, including all resources, activities, dates,and personnel training.

Do implement the plan and collect data.

Check analyze the results of the plan.

Act act on what was learned and determine the next steps.

The FOCUS-PDCA acronym is an easy system for management to communicate to teams, and it helps them stay organized and on track with the end result in mind. The system has proven to be very successful for the CQI team approach.

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