March 28, 2013
What is a Quality Management System?
So your boss has told you that you need a Quality Management System. You also heard the word ISO 9001:2008 and you don’t know where to start. If this sounds like you, then this article should hopefully give you a better understanding of what it all means.
The first thing you need to understand is that ISO 9001:2008 is an international standard and in order to meet this standard, your company needs to have a Quality Management System in place. The aim of having a Quality Management System is to ensure that your company is continually improving to meet and exceed the expectations of not only your customers but also your employees and stakeholders. It is a documented system that contains all of your company’s plans, strategies, processes, procedures, forms and any other necessary documents required to operate efficiently.
The second thing you need to understand is what exactly ISO 9001:2008 is. ISO (the International Organisation for Standardisation) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies that develop a range of international standards. ISO 9001:2008 is a standard that focuses on quality management and provides guidance and tools to assist companies and organisations in operating efficiently and in delivering a quality product or service. To gain ISO 9001:2008 accreditation, your Quality Management System will need to be audited externally by a Conformity Assessment Body who ensures your system complies with the standard.
The benefits of having a Quality Management System and ISO 9001:2008 accreditation include the following;
- Well define operational procedures and documents;
- Greater operational efficiency to support continued growth and that leads to cost savings;
- A higher level of customer satisfaction;
- A better quality product or service suited to your customer’s needs; and
- The ability to compete for larger projects with Government and private companies who often require quality assurance accreditation.
Companies will often engage a consultant to help them establish a Quality Management System that suits their needs and prepares them for ISO 9001:2008 accreditation. You can access the following benefits using a consultant;
- Ensuring the Quality Management System is set up correctly with all the appropriate documentation;
- Assistance in putting together key documents such as the quality manual and quality policy;
- Guidance in conducting an internal audit and management review as required for accreditation; and
- Someone that can train the company’s quality manager to manage the system into the future.
The importance of having a Quality Management System along with accreditation is on the rise as companies seeking to increase efficiency, differentiate themselves from their competitors and tap into new revenue streams and opportunities.