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Quality Management Systems
Introduction
An organisation will benefit from establishing an effective quality management system (QMS). The cornerstone of a quality organisation is the concept of the customer and supplier working together for their mutual benefit. For this to become effective, the customer-supplier interfaces must extend into, and outside of, the organisation, beyond the immediate customers and suppliers. A QMS can be defined as:

“A set of co-ordinated activities to direct and control an organisation in order to continually improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its performance.” These activities interact and are affected by being in the system, so the isolation and study of each one in detail will not necessarily lead to an understanding of the system as a whole. The main thrust of a QMS is in defining the processes, which will result in the production of quality products and services, rather than in detecting defective products or services after they have been produced.

The benefits of a QMS
A fully documented QMS will ensure that two important requirements are met: • The customers’ requirements – confidence in the ability of the organisation to deliver the desired product and service consistently meeting their needs and expectations. • The organisation’s requirements – both internally and externally, and at an optimum cost with efficient use of the available resources – materials, human, technology and information. These requirements can only be truly met if objective evidence is provided, in the form of information and data, to support the system activities, from the ultimate supplier to the ultimate customer. A QMS enables an organisation to achieve the goals and objectives set out in its policy and strategy. It provides consistency and satisfaction in terms of methods, materials, equipment, etc, and interacts with all activities of the organisation, beginning with the identification of customer requirements and ending with their satisfaction, at every transaction interface. It can be envisaged as a “wedge” that both holds the gains achieved along the quality journey, and prevents good practices from slipping:

Your business QMS Progress

Time

From to

Quality Excellence

www.dti.gov.uk/quality/qms page 1 of 8

Management systems are needed in all areas of activity, whether large or small businesses, manufacturing, service or public sector. A good QMS will: • • • • • • • • Set direction and meet customers’ expectations Improve process control Reduce wastage Lower costs Increase market share Facilitate training Involve staff Raise morale

In a survey conducted by the Defence Evaluation Research Agency (DERA), ca.96% of respondents said they believed their system contributed to meeting the business goals. However, ca.72% responded that their organisation did not measure this contribution.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
ISO is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is carried out through ISO technical committees, in liaison with international organisations, governmental and non-governmental bodies. ISO’s most recent family of standards for quality management systems are currently in their final draft (FDIS) form, and comprises: • • • ISO/FDIS 9000:2000 - Quality management systems – Fundamentals and vocabulary ISO/FDIS 9001:2000 - Quality management systems – Requirements ISO/FDIS 9004:2000 – Guidelines for performance improvement

It is expected that they will be issued as an ISO in December 2000 or January 2001. If these vary from the FDIS version, changes will be made to this website. They are built around business processes, with a strong emphasis on improvement and a focus on meeting the needs of customers. The new standards originated from a regular six year review and are intended to be generic and adaptable to all kinds of organisations. The ISO 9002 and ISO 9003 are to be...
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