As CFO, understanding the ins and outs of your organization is important in achieving strategic success in your business. One of the things that you have to understand is how you can achieve continual improvement, meet regulatory requirements, and satisfy your customers and stakeholders. In this regard, having a quality management system in place is crucial. But what is quality management? Read on to learn more.
The history of the concept of quality can be traced to the guilds formed by workers and craftsmen in Western countries. During the Industrial Revolution, quality management systems were implemented to control production outcomes.
In time, as manufacturing and production grew in scale exponentially, best practices for controlling production outcomes and processes had to be documented to ensure consistent, quality results. Eventually, these best practices became standardized.
In the latter half of the 2oth century, Japanese manufacturers were at the forefront of a quality revolution. They embraced ideas by thinkers from America such as W. Edwards Deming and Joseph M. Juran, shifting from having a product-oriented focus to implementing process-wide improvements to ensure quality. By the 1970s, Japan’s industrial sectors have gained a better reputation, having only been known for its shoddy products.
What is Quality Management?
Quality management refers to the activity of overseeing all processes in an organization to maintain a degree of consistency in the quality of its output, may it be a service or a product. It entails the establishment of a quality policy; creation and implementation of quality assurance; and implementation of quality control and quality improvement.
On a related note, a quality management system (QMS) is defined by the American Society for Quality (ASQ) as a “formalized system that documents processes, procedures, and responsibilities for achieving quality policies and objectives.” A QMS is developed to organize processes, improve the efficiency of processes, and continually improve the service levels of an organization.
Seven Quality Management Principles
The Organisation Internationale de Normalisation (ISO) defined seven quality management principles (QMPs) that serve as the bases of ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and other related ISO quality management standards.
The ISO defines quality management principles as a “set of fundamental beliefs, norms, rules, and values that are accepted as true and can be used as a basis for quality management. The seven quality management principles are as follows:
1. Customer Focus
The primary purpose of quality management is to meet customer requirements and deliver a product or service that exceeds expectations. When you focus on retaining the confidence of your customers and other stakeholders, success can be achieved.
The leaders of an organization at all levels should be united by a common purpose and direction. They should set up the framework for business operations wherein every member adheres to the group’s quality objectives. This enables the entire organization to engage in a concerted effort to achieve its goals.
3. Engagement of People
To create and deliver value, each individual comprising an organization should be recognized, engaged, and empowered to help them in performing their roles, which are crucial in achieving the group’s quality objectives.
4. Process Approach
Achieving consistent and predictable results can be possible when business activities and functions are regarded and managed as a vital part of an organic whole. The QMS is thus composed of interrelated processes that form a coherent system.
Continuous improvement is vital for an organization’s success, as it helps maintain current performance levels, identify opportunities for improvement, and addressing any challenges that may arise.
6. Evidence-Based Decision Making
Decision making should be informed by facts, evidence, and data analysis to ensure greater objectivity and confidence. Through analysis and evaluation of available data and information, an organization is more likely to achieve their desired results.
7. Relationship Management
Managing its relationship with suppliers and partners is crucial for an organization’s sustained success, as this has a significant impact on how an organization performs.
There are many ways to apply these quality management principles depending on the nature and culture of your organization, as well as the specific challenges that you are facing. It may be beneficial for your organization to establish a quality management system that adheres to the above principles.
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