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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...