QMS: Aspects to Ponder

While you are reading this article, I assume that you are aware of benefits of establishing a QMS in an organization and what are the alarming issues that reflect its need. Refer to article ‘Thinking QMS?’ for more details.

If you have now started planning to build QMS and wondering how and where to start with, hold on.. !! You need some brainstorming before actually starting to build a QMS.

Sounds brilliant? Okay… Let’s go ahead.

This brainstorming is to prepare your team about various aspects that needs to ponder upon.

So let’s discuss them one by one.

  • Management commitment: Establishing QMS needs pretty good efforts by management, people from various departments and groups. Hence, management commitment towards building the QMS is the most critical task to achieve.
  • Convince People: We need to convince people by explaining how QMS will benefit in their activities. Also case studies on other successful organizations can be discussed.
  • Involve People: ‘QMS is for the People by the People.’ Though there may be a dedicated process team, they cannot just prepare QMS, define processes, train people and ask them to implement it. While defining processes, process team must gather inputs (Problem areas, possible solutions, templates, tools for verification, guidelines etc.) from end-users related to processes and try to address them while defining processes.
  • Identify Risks involved: Identify and mitigate risks related to skills, resources, process implementation tools and other organization specific risks.
  • Perform Gap Analysis: Performing gap analysis is a critical activity before defining processes. It forms an input to process definition. Processes must address solutions to these gaps.
  • Communicate effectively: An effective communication is required to introduce the QMS. Later on improvements and new additions in existing QMS also needs to be communicated well. The team must also communicate to collect and share end-user experiences and feedbacks on the processes being implemented.
  • Train people: Impart periodic trainings to people on QMS and its implementation. Handholding sessions using case studies or dummy project may also help users to gauge an understanding on the actual implementation issues.
  • Invite feedbacks: The process team must encourage people to share their implementation feedbacks. These feedbacks form very important inputs to improve the processes further.
  • Appreciate best practices: Best practices across the organization by following the processes must be collected and shared it across the relevant end users. This helps in creating a positive attitude of end-users towards to the QMS.

There may be organization specific aspects that can be added to above points.

So brainstorm on above aspects and plan to address them throughout the QMS development and implementation.

Thinking QMS?

Think over following issues with respect to your organization…..

  • Project success is unpredictable and is highly dependent of manager’s skill and competency.
  • Difficult to identify reasons of project failures due to lack of proper documentation.
  • Even if reasons of failures are identified they are often repetitive.
  • Unable to achieve project timelines or facing delays due to inadequate planning and monitoring.
  • Visible communication gaps.
  • Customer feedbacks are alarming.
  • Employee satisfaction level is decreasing due to lack of morale and recognitions.
  • Organization/Project faces tough time if employee leaves the organization, i.e. high person dependency.
  • Management facing issues to identify root causes of the failures or inconsistency in performances.
  • Resources are not efficiently being used. They are either over allocated under allocated.

If you think your organization is facing some or more related issues mentioned above, then it is a right time to start thinking of a Quality Management System (QMS).

QMS focuses on Customer, People and Process. It is aligned towards organization’s goals and objectives and helps achieving efficiency and effectiveness in the way the organization functions.

QMS is a structured documented framework consisting of a set of policies, processes and tools to achieve organizational goals and objectives.

Still thinking on QMS?

Here are few, but not limited, benefits of building a QMS which might boost your confidence towards it.

  • Organization functions are standardized and well documented. It eliminates possibility of person dependent interpretations.
  • Increased Customer Satisfaction level due to high quality end product.
  • Increased Employee Satisfaction due to project successes and high morale.
  • Increased employee competency level since training needs are identified at right time to right people.
  • Organization functions are people independent and process dependent. Thus organization performs consistently irrespective of people joining or leaving the organization.
  • Consistency in good quality end product because same processes are implemented.
  • Increased level of functional clarity at any point of time because of effective and structured documentations.
  • Lesser rework because reviews are done at appropriate time and defects/errors are identified in early phases, thus reduction in delays.
  • Performance measurements of people, process are quantitative (data based) rather than subjective (People based).
  • Improved company recognition as there is a high level of customer and employee satisfaction levels.

Total Quality Management – Overview

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a structured management approach towards building a process disciplined culture set up by an organization to strive quality and hence customer and employee satisfaction.  TQM revolves around Customer, People and Process and are interrelated.

TQM-PDCA

 

TQM Development Model:

TQM can be developed using PDCA cycle, also known as the Deming Cycle. It is a continuous quality improvement model consisting of a sequence of four iterative steps for continuous improvement: Plan, Do, Check and Act.

First step towards TQM is planning. It needs analyzing and identification of problem areas, suggestions to improve them by finding root causes, collects necessary data, layout approach to address these areas by creating processes. It also involves planning the improvement of the processes identified from the last iteration of the cycle.

In Doing phase where the processes are actually defined and implemented. Measurement data are also collected that help in improving them.

In Checking phase verification and validation of implementation is carried out to ensure that it is done properly in the required way.

In Act phase the data are analyzed and improvement solutions are derived that will result in changing the processes and then again implementing in next phase.

What you would keep in mind while developing and managing TQM…

  • Management Commitment: Senior management’s commitment towards TQM plays a significant role in successful TQM. It boosts confidence level in the customers and employees towards the organization.
  • Stakeholders Involvement: Every person/department in an organization is associated with TQM in one or the other way. So it is critically important to engage employees in each of its phases of development.
  • Model Selection: Appropriate model selection is required to define the processes.
  • Proper Documentation: It needs proper documentation of the processes and its improvements.
  • Trainings and Guidelines: Training must be provided to relevant stakeholders to create awareness towards the processes they need to implement. Remember that TQM failures are often affected by lack of proper trainings. There should be clear guidelines on the usage of the processes. These guidelines can be enhanced by using case studies that brings confidence among the users.
  • Continuous improvement: Processes needs to be improved continuously based on data collected from its implementation experiences. Various tools like Graphs, Statistical charts, pareto diagram, cause and effect diagram can be used to improve processes by analyzing its implementation data.

Quality Concepts

“Improve constantly and forever the system of Production and Service.” – Deming

QA-TQM

Quali­ty, a most generic terminology, is widely defined in different ways by different authors. The most basic notion of quality is ‘Fit for its intended use’. This means conformance to the requirements or if possible exceeding them for value addition beyond customer expectations.

But how to we ensure quality? This can be done with Quality Management System(QMS), set processes and standards defined to ensure desired level of quality in various phases of development/production. These defined processes and standards when implemented help organization to achieve certain goals and objectives.

To help ensuring quality, Quality Assurance (QA) ensures that these standards are defined and followed in the desired way. These set of standards and processes when implemented yields input to analysis of its performance and hence results in quality improvement.

Quality Improvement (QI) is a formal approach to analyze performance and systematic efforts to improve the processes. So, QA and QI activities must go hand in hand where each form inputs to the other one. Continuous quality improvement thus is virtually never ending iterations of QA and QI to make the processes sustainable and consistent.

Total Quality Management (TQM) covers all of above with an integrated and continuous effort to improve processes to meet organizational goals and objectives.