Research into Quality Management Systems

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Goal 1To Research Quality Management System, QMS, as a process for improving the effectiveness of small-medium enterprise, (SME), operations

Objectives

  1. Investigate the history of the development of QMS
  2. Understand the structures and features of a number of recognized QMS’s.
  3. Identify the characteristics of QMS which would increase the smooth operations of SME’s.

Research Methods

  1. Conduct Internet searches
  2. Conduct Internet searches and phone calls using both closed and open ended questions with a number of different companies and persons engaged with QMS use to determine what makes their offering of ISO 9001 different to other companies
  3. Analyse data compiled in research method 1.2 to identify a set of the most valuable characteristics

Background:

Prior to starting this goal and commencing this inquiry, I attended an information session at Netco Pumps provided by the General Manager of Global Compliance, Andrew Sneddon. I acquired a high level of knowledge in that session and my research and learning since then has made the information very useful.

Previous to commencing this study, I had no knowledge of how the QMS standards were developed and what period of time the standards took to get the ISO 9001 standard to where it is today. Learning the history of QMS in Objective 1.1 was to pave the way to providing some background knowledge when completing Objective 1.2. Although I had some idea as to the features and characteristics of the ISO 9001 standard, the purpose of Objective 1.2 was to establish the framework to complete Objective 1.3.

Findings

Objective 1.1

The history of Quality Management can be traced as far back as the Middle Ages. Work completed by travelling men and apprentices was evaluated and inspected by workers skilled in the area to ensure that the quality standards were met in all aspects of the finished product, ensuring buyer satisfaction. Although the history of quality management has undergone a number of changes, the end result is still the same.

During the 1920’s quality management systems as we know them today, started to surface. The focus of quality management was still on the end product; however, it was the first time that theory had been applied to product quality control.

Some of the first Quality Management System (QMS) standards were applied to companies which were supplying the USA military during World War II. One of the main reasons for the development of the QMS standards was that the military discovered many of their suppliers were manufacturing poor quality products. The main cause for development of poor quality products was due to the absence of a management system, lack of identification and traceability, insufficient record keeping and document control.

After the QMS Standards were compiled, the military gave their suppliers between two and three years to obtain certification. The suppliers that the military were using were also producing products not of a military nature to other manufacturers. The users of the non-military products saw the benefits of these standards and pressured for a national standard. This brought the launch in the mid to late 1970’s of BS 5157 and then BS 5750. Companies saw the benefits of obtaining certification. Companies which enforced and supported the QMS standards boomed from the 1970’s to the 1990’s.

The year 2000 saw the rewrite of the ISO 9001 standard. This standard focused on the ongoing improvement of business processes and presented new features such as measurable objectives, and customer satisfaction etc. One major difference between the new standard and the old standard was that the new standard required limited documented quality procedures compared to procedures written to address all clauses of the standards.

Today, companies across the world compete for the hundreds of Excellence Awards which can be received. The purpose of Quality Management remains the same as it always has all throughout history – ensuring customers receive an excellent, quality product.

Objective 1.2

There is only one recognised Quality Management System, which is the Australian ISO 9001 standard. The ISO 9001 is a generic standard. The ISO 9001 is the Australian Standard which gives the requirements for a QMS. The latest version, (2008), of the ISO 9001 is the ISO 9001:2008. It is the only standard in the ISO 9000 family which can be used for certification by businesses. There are sixteen other standards in the ISO 9000 family which can help an organisation with specific aspects such as performance improvement, auditing and training.

The ISO 9001 Quality Management System’s standard is a scheme which is operated within itself. There are other standards which come under the heading of an Integrated Management System (IMS). An IMS combines all related components of a business into one system for easier management and operations. Quality (QMS), Environmental (EMS) and Safety (WHS) management systems are often combined and managed as an IMS.

JAS-ANZ is the government – appointed accreditation body for Australia and New Zealand, responsible for providing accreditation of conformity assessment bodies (CABS) in the fields of certification and inspection. JAS-ANZ defines the ISO 9001 QMS as the world’s leading business improvement tool. I contacted a spokesman from JAS-ANZ. Accreditation by JAS-ANZ conveys the competence and independence of these CABS.

I contacted representatives of a number of companies to investigate the value and pertinent features that they believed gave them a competitive advantage in the marketplace against other companies which offer the ISO 9001 standard certification.

BSI Group

BSI Group is the business standards company which helps organizations all over the world make excellence a habit. For more than a century, BSI has been challenging mediocrity and complacency to help embed excellence into the way people and products work - that means working with businesses on how to improve performance, reduce risk and achieve sustainable growth.

BSI Group in May of 2013 acquired NCS International. The acquisition means that they are a genuine Australian and global market leader. This enables BSI Group to offer clients a greater range of integrated services and for those clients with international needs, access to a Global network across 150 countries worldwide.

BSI Group clients choose them because of their:

  • Unique client management structure
  • Expertise
  • Integrity
  • Prioritising business performance
  • Expert Auditors/Assessors:BSI employs an extensive team of auditors who have a large amount of industry experience from various industries.

The sales representative, Leah Rigon, at BSI said that the features of the ISO 9001 included saving business money, increases profit, wins more business and satisfies more customers. Ms Rigon made it clear that the ISO 9001 boosts staff morale, as it only requires one set of objectives which are in line with the organisation’s policies and customer feedback. Another feature of the ISO 9001 is that all regulatory requirements are met that are applicable to the products and services of the organisation.

SAI Global

SAI Global provides organizations around the world with information services and solutions for managing risk, achieving compliance and driving business improvement.

SAI Global access services to Standards, Handbooks, Legislative and Property publications; they audit, certify and register a product, system or supply chain; they facilitate good governance and awareness of compliance, ethics and policy issues and provide training and improvement solutions to help individuals and organizations succeed.

SAI Global prides themselves on being a largely customer-based company. They have a large pool of auditors who are trained in-house. Statistically, 80% of people recognise SAI Global’s logo; this is due to the global advantage they hold from having offices all over the world. SAI Global has a home base in every state in Australia.

The sales representative at SAI Global stated that ISO 9001 standard:

  • Streamlines business processes
  • Has documentation and visual documentation,
  • Ensures every employee knows what his/her task is
  • Ensures the business is more efficient
  • Is very customer based
  • Requires the business to have a customer register
  • Requires the business to have an internal auditor

TQCSI International

TQCSI Internationalis a fully accredited, third party certification body providing certification of Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001), Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14001), Food Safety Management Systems (ISO 22000 and HACCP) and Safety Management Systems (OHSAS 18001).

TQCSIwas developed following a demand from the business community for alocal, customer focussedcompany to assist in third party certification. Total Quality Certification Services Pty Ltd was developed and the Company commenced operations in mid-1995. The Company was formally accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) in 1996. In March 2001 the company established its first international branch office and commenced auditing activities internationally. Shortly after, 'International' was added to TQCS in recognition of the Company's expanded area of operations. TQCSIservices a broad cross section of business clients from all sectors of industry andcan provide certification to companies and organisations anywhere in the world.

The TQCSI Head Office is based in South Australia. The General Manager informed me that the South Australian branch offered six major standards and that is their niche market. It is the only company in South Australia which offers the ISO 9001 certification. He clearly stated that it is the price, service and quality of auditors that differentiates each company from the other. He also stated that TQCSI has four people dedicated to attending to their customers and their needs only.

He spoke of the importance of the logo of not only TQCSI, but SAI Global and SCI QUAL. He drew attention to the fact they have a globe with a tick through it, SAI Global has a circle with 5 ticks and SCI QUAL have a tick with 5 stars. He also stated that these drew attention to the quality of service and how it branded their company in the global marketplace.

He explained that the features of the ISO 9001 standard included the uniformity of business operations; the fact that it was the most internationally recognised management standard made business operations more efficient and effective and the business system improved so that the customer receives what has been set out in a contract. Finally, he made very clear that JAS-ANZ is the overarching body and ensures that organisations comply with the government management systems standard as this gives them an international state-of-the-art model to follow.

Objective 1.3

With the information researched, collected and synthesised in Objective 1.2, it is clear to me that the following are the most valuable features/characteristics of a QMS.

Features/Characteristics of a QMS

Focus on the Customer/More Customers

A planned approach to running an organisation

Changes are easier to manage

Marketing opportunities

Leadership

Involvement of People (Employees, Trainers, Auditors)

Process Approach/Efficiency

Systematic Approach to Management

Continual Improvement

A factual approach to decision making

Companies can have a mutually beneficial supplier relationship

Enhances brand reputation

Increases Customer Satisfaction

Ensures issues are identified and addressed

FIGURE ? Features/Characteristics of a QMS which are most valuable.

1.4 Preliminary Conclusion

Throughout the completion of this goal, I have identified the relevant information which I set out to gather. I began my inquiry by investigating the history of Quality Management. It became clear the origins of Quality Management were rooted deeper in the past than I had first thought; not WWII, but in the Middle Ages.

With an understanding of the history, the next logical step was to research and understand the structures and features of a number of recognised QMS’s. Findings of my research through structured interviews determined there is only one recognised Quality Management System: the Australian ISO 9001 standard. The ISO 9001 is a generic standard; it gives the requirements for a QMS. It is the only standard in the ISO 9000 family which can be used for certification by businesses. The ISO 9001 Quality Management System’s standard is a scheme which is operated within itself. There are other standards which come under the heading of an Integrated Management System (IMS).

In order to draw an answer to Goal 1, I identified a number of companies and interviewed representatives to investigate the value and pertinent features of the ISO 9001:2008 standard. With the assistance of BSI Group, SAI Global and TQCSI International, research conducted showed that a QMS was not only a process, but a system to improve the effectiveness and performance of a business. I concluded my goal by documenting my findings in a table to show which characteristics of a QMS are most valuable.

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