Quality management in the company

The reason why the quality of the products in your company should be constantly improved

 

Romina Bruhn
18.05.2020

Think about your last online purchase: among other things, what did you consider important when you made your decision? Based most likely on the reviews and recommendations of other buyers. These describe the benefits and quality of the product, mostly ruthlessly honest. That is one reason why the quality of the products in your company should be constantly improved: it will be passed on. Read below what quality management is and how you can go through the implementation in an uncomplicated manner.

 

Definition: What is quality management in companies?

Quality management - in short: QM - is a management approach that is becoming more and more important in companies. It describes all measures that contribute to the optimization of services, processes or products within a company. The focus is on the quality of the products and services that are sold to the customer. The main goal of quality management in companies, customer satisfaction, is derived from this.

While in some companies a quality management representative or quality manager controls and ensures the implementation, in other companies it is several or all employees who contribute to quality. The question now arises as to what exactly “quality” actually is, because everyone defines quality a little differently. It is difficult to judge or measure objectively.

“Quality is no coincident, it is always the result of careful thought.” John Ruskin

ISO 9000 provides answers: What is quality?

There are basically two standards, the implementation of which is decisive for quality assurance: DIN EN ISO 9000: 2015-11 and DIN EN ISO 9001: 2015-11.

The internationally valid ISO 9000 standard defines seven principles according to which quality criteria can be established and thus made measurable. These are:

  1. Customer orientation: The main objective of quality management is to recognize and meet customer expectations.
  2. Leadership: All managers in the company must act as role models and ensure that all employees understand the quality requirements for products and services. It is also part of management to provide all employees with the resources necessary for quality assurance.
  3. Commitment of individuals: Employees who are committed and reliably strive to achieve the company's goals should be included in quality management. On the one hand, initiative and performance can be rewarded, and on the other, quality goals are more easily achieved.
  4. Process-oriented approach: All processes in the company should be coordinated with one another, as this is the only way to achieve a good end result.
  5. CIP - the continuous improvement process: Companies must focus on constantly questioning and optimizing existing processes, products and services. This is the only way to maintain the level of performance of the current market and respond to changes.
  6. Fact-based decision-making: In order to make the right decisions in the company, these must be carefully considered. All influencing factors, possible effects, opportunities and risks should be included in order to act correctly in the end.
  7. Relationship management: In addition to customers, there are other relationships that are of great importance for a company. These should be recognized. For example, partnerships with other companies can be a great opportunity to advance in your own development. Your own company benefits from their experience and more can be achieved by working together towards the same goal.

The second standard, ISO 9001, defines the minimum requirements for a QM system. These are broken down into the areas of organization, planning, management, operation, performance evaluation and improvement. ISO 9001 is therefore the continuation of ISO 9000. Companies have the option of being certified according to ISO 9001. This certificate attests that the company meets the basic quality requirements. Thanks to the general level of awareness, the certificate itself has already become a quality feature of a company.

The bottom line is that quality is the result of what demands a company has on its own products and services and what kind of processes are used to achieve them.

How does quality management work in practice?

Here, too, ISO 9001 formulates a clear recommendation on how to proceed in practice. The content structure of the standard shows parallels to the known PDCA cycle. Accordingly, the following steps are carried out in quality management:

  1. Plan: In the first step of implementation, the structure of the company is examined more closely, the environment and potential stakeholders are analyzed, the goals and key figures are set and the processes are prepared and planned. Above all, it is important to include all possible risks in order to be able to arm yourself.
  2. Do: Then these plans are implemented. All those involved in the company are trained and contribute to the achievement of goals. Each process must be properly documented and saved in order to guarantee precise tracking of the procedure.
  3. Check: In the next step, the implementation of the processes is put through its paces. This means that a target / actual comparison is made and the respective performance is assessed.
  4. Act: In the next step, the deviations between “should” and “is” are analyzed and optimization measures are developed. Then it goes back to step 1, in which the new processes are planned and prepared.

see also: EcholoN and the Deming circle

The ISO 9001 standard repeatedly speaks of a so-called audit in the course of implementing QM. The audit describes the process of comparing target and actual values in the company, deriving improvement measures and implementing them. The audit is so important because it guarantees the actual quality. It is the most complex step in the QM system, as it involves a large amount of documentation, reports and comparisons. The measures that are derived must be announced to the workforce and the implementation must in turn be monitored. Only specially trained employees can take on the tasks of an auditor. They are trained according to the respective standard, in this case ISO 9001, and are then able to carry out audits in companies.

As complicated as it all sounds, there are some aids that make quality management work progressively easier. Above all, it is advisable to implement suitable QM software.

QM software: what are its benefits?

The most important advantage of QM software is the digital documentation of all processes and procedures. It takes a lot of time if every move has to be documented manually or even by hand, mainly because the individual steps build on each other and therefore often have to be modified afterwards. This works much easier if they are documented digitally, as the reports can then be edited with little effort.

The quality management software from EcholoN offers another major advantage: It contains a cross-departmental knowledge database. This not only automatically learns successively with each work step, it can also be fed manually, for example with important standards and regulations from quality management. Compliance with the requirements and the path to ISO 9001 certification are thus significantly simplified.

The constantly recurring audits can also be structured in an uncomplicated manner using suitable quality management software such as that from EcholoN. Plans, reports, controls and responsibilities are clearly assigned and can therefore be called up at any time. Ultimately, this not only saves time, but also costs and employee resources.

If you are unsure about your quality management or are faced with one of the following questions, just contact us. We would like to help you, for instance with the following:

  • Does my company even need a QM system?
  • How can I implement a quality management system?
  • What tools do I need for this?
  • How do I get ISO 9001 certification?
  • What benefits does this certification bring me?
  • etc.