What is a Quality Management Process? - Main Components

By Russ Davidson • Updated on July 26th, 2022

A quality management process consists of guidelines that ensure a high quality of work is performed by a team or company when producing goods and services. Properly maintained quality standards throughout a project can also be referred to as being “fit for purpose”.

A quality management process is managed via a quality management system (QMS), which offers a comprehensive tool kit to analyze risks, set quality objectives, implement workflows to achieve standards and audit for optimal performance.

Components of a Quality Management Process

The aim of quality management is to ensure customer satisfaction through measuring, reporting, and improving on continuous improvement of a company’s processes and a potential increase in deliverables to achieve long-term success.

The four key components of quality management include:

  • Quality Planning: Design a process that will be able to meet established goals under operating conditions. Define opportunity and stakeholder’s needs and establish performance measures based on those needs.
  • Continuous Improvement: Quality improvement, or a continuous improvement process, is an ongoing effort to improve products and services. Quality management can make employees more organized and coordinated leading to improvement in efficiency.
  • Quality Control: Review the quality of all production factors that are focused on fulfilling quality requirements. Helps ensure manufactured products or performed services adhere to a defined set of quality criteria.
  • Quality Assurance: Determine whether a product or service meets specified requirements prior to being delivered to a customer. Establish and maintain requirements for the development and manufacturing process to meet contractual and other agreed-upon performance, design, reliability, and maintainability expectations.

A quality management system ensures that all stakeholders team up to improve the company’s outputs and culture in order to guarantee the long-term success that customer service and total quality management provide.

When To Use A Quality Management Process?

A quality management process should be implemented at any point that you desire improvement to the quality of work being produced, such as if your company is not meeting the requirements of clients due to poor efficiency. Proper implementation of project quality management strategies is typically beneficial for all projects and operational team members involved–ensuring that a team’s outputs can meet the expectations of your customer base.

When complicated projects arrive, having a formalized procedure in place (such as a quality management plan) can help your team members better understand the requirements of a client and start working on deliverables or take needed corrective actions appropriately.

Quality Management Principles

There are a total of 7 quality management principles that can help guarantee your organization will be successful. These fundamental beliefs, rules, and values are accepted as true and known to provide improvement to the quality management processes of an organization.

  1. Customer Focus: Meet customer expectations and the needs of all interested parties
  2. Leadership: Create conditions in which people are engaged achieving the organization’s quality goals. Communicate the strategic direction and objectives throughout the organization. Encourage the organization’s commitment to quality.
  3. Engagement of people: Enhance the capability to create and deliver value through competent, empowered, and engaged employees.
  4. Process Approach: Focus on key processes, align systems through these processes, optimize the performance of resources, reduce cross-functional barriers, and uphold a sense of consistency, effectiveness, and efficiency.
  5. Improvement: Maintain an ongoing focus on improvement. Monitor, audit, and review the completion and results. Promote and establish improvement objectives at all levels of the organization. Improvement will help identify risks and handle root cause elimination.
  6. Evidence-Based Decision Making: Make decisions based on analysis and evaluation of data. Determine and monitor what your key data sources are. Understand the cause-and-effect relationships. Make decisions and take actions based on evidence.
  7. Relationship Management: Identify and build relationships with the relevant stakeholders that influence the performance of an organization.

Quality Improvement Methods

Quality improvement is a form of business process improvement. These methodologies can be used by your team to reduce inefficiencies and in most cases improve quality standards.

  1. Six Sigma Methodology: Provides organizations the tools to improve the capability of their business processes by increasing performance and decreasing variations. This methodology aims to reduce defects and improve profits, employee morale, and the overall quality of the offered products and services.
  2. Total Quality Management: A customer-focused method that involves continuous improvement over time. This method aims to implement a permanent climate where employees improve their ability to provide products and services that their customers deem valuable through data-driven decisions.
  3. Lean Manufacturing: A philosophy of continuous improvement with the goal of providing value to a customer through eliminating waste in every aspect of the operation.
  4. Continuous Improvement (kaizen): Achieved by following several steps in order to identify problems, review possible solutions, test improvement methods, implement those changes, then analyze the results. There is no formal end to this process, so new solutions are always being sought and tested for viability.
  5. Plan Do Check Act (PDCA): Decide on a problem you want to be solved and create a plan to solve it (Plan), test and implement the plan (Do), review how the actions in the test stage went (Check), and review the results to determine if you want to implement the change at a larger scale (Act).
  6. Five Whys Analysis: A root cause analysis tool that explores the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a problem. (Why did this happen? Why was this not sufficient? Why did the team not account for this? Why did the process indicate testing was sufficient? Why wasn’t there a new process created?)
  7. Business Process Management (BPM): Helps automate your business processes through discovering, analyzing, measuring, improving, and optimizing your business workflows. Acts as a process automation tool that maps out everyday processes and identifies areas of improvement, bottlenecks, and cost savings.

Benefits of Quality Management Systems

A quality management system (QMS) offers a comprehensive tool kit to analyze risks, set quality objectives, implement workflows to achieve standards and audit for optimal performance. The ISO 9000 family of quality management systems is a set of standards designed to help organizations improve their product and service delivery by providing documented procedures and workflows.

Top benefits of implementing a quality management process via a quality management system include:

  • Ensuring regulatory compliance: Stay compliant with regulatory standards such as ISO 9001, Title 21 CFR Part 11, NERC, SSOP, HAACP, and more. QMS helps demonstrate compliance and is almost always required for permitting, which can be an eligibility condition for bid consideration or help avoid penalties and other legal action.
  • Analyzing and reducing risk: QMS identifies the cost of quality management improvements versus the likely impact of reduced financial liability. This includes analysis tools for quantifying the financial risks related to quality exceptions.
  • Increase customer satisfaction: Show customers that your products are constantly evaluated for reliability, product quality, and ease of use. Help keep promises to customers that determine your ability to gain future business, upsell products, and generate enthusiasm for your goods and services.
  • Eliminate inefficiencies: Create quality products efficiently and eliminate manual paperwork with an electronic quality control system that has an efficient quality control process.
  • Document Control: Document quality policies and objectives. Includes quality manuals, procedures, and other documents needed for effective planning.
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