Keys to Implementing a Quality Management System
Implementing a quality management system in the most cost-effective manner can be a big challenge, but it is not an insurmountable issue. From my perspective, too many manufacturers rush through the implementation planning process, which inevitably leads to problems in the long run. For the sake of cutting implementation costs, management can inadvertently lock in inefficiencies within the newly deployed quality management system. The most cost-effective strategy to avoid this mistake is to thoroughly plan the implementation process of large quality management systems from conception to fruition.
Corporate Commitment to Quality
During my research into the topic of implementation, I discovered that the most important element of a successful implementation is a genuine commitment by upper management to improve quality. ISO specifically cites the necessity of a commitment to quality from upper levels of management. Too often in the real world, this level of commitment does not extend further down the various levels of company leadership. In this scenario, quality suffers”and cost of quality devours profits.
Establishing a sound implementation team is one way to combat this unintended consequence. In conjunction with implementation experts, such as those at IQS, every department should have a voice in reevaluating and planning quality management from an enterprise-wide perspective. Choosing a skilled management representative is essential in order to communicate company goals and capabilities to employees and registrars alike.
Employee Training and Company Culture
Employee awareness and training also come into the planning equation. Without a commitment from management to foster a culture of quality, this step in the implementation process will likely fall short. People are an invaluable asset of effective quality management, and too many manufacturers neglect to breed a high level of quality awareness. To achieve cost gains from an integrated quality management system, this knowledge of quality needs to go beyond internal email alerts. IQS’ training services can help ensure that employee training remains tightly focused on quality awareness.
A carefully planned implementation of a new quality management solution hinges on establishing a manufacturer’s current baseline level of quality. This assessment phase, another area of IQS’ expertise, is arguably the most critical aspect of implementing a new quality management solution. Based upon my readings into the subject, this step can serve as a golden opportunity for companies to reduce wasteful practices and rethink quality management as a whole. Without a careful assessment of the current state of quality, documenting an implementation plan will not be as effective.
Document Control Issues
Another interesting piece of information I uncovered during my research into the pitfalls of implementation is the consistent inadequacy of document control practices. Inadequate documentation is well known as the main root cause of nonconformance to compliance standards, yet manufacturers repeatedly fail to account for this requirement. Manufacturers must plan to document each quality-related metric appropriately. For example, calibration is ubiquitous in the manufacturing industry, yet companies still fail to plan to document the scheduling and results of routine calibration projects. Once again, the pitfall of complacency surfaces, contributing to failed audits.
Carefully planning the implementation of large quality management systems such as the IQS solution helps companies avoid the danger of missing opportunities to eliminate waste and improve efficiency. In the worst-case scenario, unforeseen problems can become locked into recently deployed software, creating innumerable quality-related issues in the long run. To yield optimal results from IQS’ spectrum of compliance, integration and training services, proper planning is an essential first step when implementing new quality management software.