Building of Quality Management System (QMS) in Contemporary Organizations
In the article: “Comparative Analysis of Modern Approaches to Quality Management“, I carried out an analysis of the modern approaches to quality management. Now I will show you what building of the quality management system in an organization is like.
The building of the quality management system begins in the format of a project. When such project is completed, development of the built QMS turns into a continuous process which is a process of continual improvement. That is why the implementation of the conceptual framework of quality management in an organization from the very beginning depends on how effectively the project for the building of the QMS is implemented.
As a matter of clarification, a building of the QMS in an enterprise usually consists of 5 milestones, and it is in line with the phases of implementation of any projects as follows:
Table 1. Five Milestones of QMS Building Project concerning Logic of 4 Phases of Project Implementation
|Milestones of QMS Building||Phases of Project Implementation in Broad Terms|
|1.Making a managerial decision on the development of QMS
2.Initial design of QMS
|1.Project definition phase|
|3.Disseminating of information and training of personnel||2.Project planning phase|
|4.Design and development of QMS||3. Project carrying out phase|
|5.Implementation of QMS||4.Project completion phase|
Let us consider each of the identified success factors and the risk factors intrinsic to every milestone of the QMS building projects.Besides, the works on post-project support and continual improvement of the created QMS shall be taken into consideration.
Milestone 1: Making a managerial decision on the development of QMS (project definition phase)
The important thing at this phase is to explain to all the top managers that the current state of the organization is not in line with their personal vision of the ideal and to help them to understand what changes are needed for.
Next, the course and the object of the required changes should be identified by the management team. Besides, it is very important that members of the management team should have more or less common understanding of the adverse traits of the current state and of the traits of the desired state. Having achieved such understanding, the management team shall discuss and review in details all the ideas related to the ways of the transit of the organization from the current state to the desired state.
Having made a decision on the development of the QMS, the management team shall clearly define the objectives of changes. Simplicity, apprehensibility and, the relevance of the defined objective and, above all, its fullness with some greater meaning which inspires people, are the very factors on which the companywide literal perception of the objective of changes will depend.
When the main objective of implementation of the QMS is defined, it is possible to make a decision with respect to the resources which can be allocated for design and development of the system and for training of the personnel, to who will be engaged in development of the system and to what timelines are advisable for putting the system into operation.
One important thing should be mentioned: decisions of the management on implementation of the QMS shall be in line with the strategic objectives of the company.
Firstly, availability of strategy and its containing the objectives related to quality assurance shall be the guarantee of the long-term perspective of the managerial decision on the development of the QMS in this particular enterprise. That is, spinning off of the quality assurance issues into a task of the strategic level shall reduce the probability of risk that the management is no longer interested in the QMS. Secondly, the status of a strategic task increases the priority of all the tasks related to the project for implementation of the quality management system in the enterprise.
Before even planning of works related to the QMS project, it is necessary to assess the company state at the moment of time and to carry out a preliminary internal audit of the company management system.
Milestone 2: initial design of QMS (project definition and project planning phases)
During this milestone, the most important managerial decisions are made concerning the project for development of the QMS. A representative of the management team is assigned to be in charge of quality assurance, and the project manager is appointed. When found, an appropriate consultant is involved; membership of the project team is determined, and the quality assurance department is established. Training of the top management and members of the project team is carried out in the field of quality management. A preliminary audit of the management system is carried out; decision on the necessity of automation of management is made, and the project planning is carried out.
One of the most critical tasks of the project preparation milestone is to make an adequate choice of a consulting company and consultants. When selecting a consulting company, one should be guided not only by the price criterion. Quality of services can be assessed by experience which also implies a number of factors: duration of the activity of a company related to rendering of the services which you are interested in; number of customers who have relied on the company throughout its lifetime; number of customers in the respective branch of industry; number of full-time consultants; whether consultants have the appropriate field experience; availability of published papers (articles and books); quantity of seminars held for personnel of enterprises; referenceability; current and completed projects; offered range of services, etc.
Milestone 3: disseminating of information and training of personnel (project carrying out phase)
The first thing that the top management of an organization should do after making of a decision on a building of the QMS is to set the objective and to bring the critical objective of this work to the notice of all employees. It should be kept in mind that it is people who will work in that new system of rules and conditions which will be built on the model of the QMS. And such system will never operate successfully unless the employees themselves support the ongoing changes or unless there is understanding of the meaning and significance of implementation of the QMS. That is why measures should be taken to raise awareness of personnel that changes are necessary, to bring the objectives of the changes being made in the field of quality assurance to the notice of every employee and to teach the personnel of the main principles of quality management.
Inappropriate organization of the training process is the main risk factor for this milestone which shows up in the following way:
- making a list of the trainee on principle “let those be trained whose absence does not affect the work”;
- organization of training in the enterprise at the end of a month when it is difficult to ensure attendance or at the end of working day when employees cannot absorb information anymore;
- organization of on-the-job training especially for managers when they have no chance to attend classes because of the busy schedule.
Milestone 4: design and development of QMS (project carrying out phase)
The milestone of design and development of the quality management system follows the analysis of the existing quality management system. During this milestone the objectives and quality assurance policy are defined; business processes of the organization are identified and described; persons responsible for quality assurance are assigned; process management performance indicators are developed; all the documents and bylaws required for regulation of the spheres of responsibility and the quality control procedures in this organization are developed.
In general, the QMS documents determine the forms and types of interaction between all business units and departments and establish the information flows, regulations and, procedures which shall ensure and maintain operation of the QMS.
The quality assurance policy is the main document required for development of the QMS since it contains the top priorities and the value orientations of the organization with regard to all the parties concerned (consumers, employees, suppliers, communities, etc.) as well as the approaches to implementation thereof which are exposed to the general knowledge by the management.
The next task of importance after determining of the quality assurance policy is to bring the policy to the notice of every member of the organization for whom the quality assurance policy shall eventually become the benchmark of assessment of any actions related to issues of quality assurance.
Next, the work on designing and implementation of the new vision of management of an organization begins which implies a transition from the function-based principle of management to the process-based principle of management. To make the system of business processes of an organization effective, that is, to make the system capable not only to output the “must-have” products but to improve their quality on a continuing basis with cutting costs, effective management of the system of processes is required. Therefore, the role of a process owner is introduced, and it plays the key role in the new management system. In reality, a process owner is responsible for establishing of cross functional relationships and for optimizing of in-process works, while a business unit manager becomes the owner of resources which he efficiently manages and replenishes the processes on request of the process owner.
The company management shall inform the process owner of the expectations related to the improvement of the respective process. At the same time, the process owner shall be vested with powers and provided with resources in addition to the obligations and duties imposed on the process owner.
It should be also mentioned that as early as at the phase of description of the processes it is required to work with the process owners and with the resource owners as close as possible, defining and determining the processes in coordination with the owners, on the one part, and establishing a framework for understanding of the process-based approach to management, developing the sense of commitment to assume responsibility for these processes and to manage the existing resources proactively, on the other part.
In general, during this milestone a manager of the project for building of the QMS should effect seamless coordination of the works on development of the QMS documents at all the levels, ranging from the top managers who design the policy and objectives in the field of quality assurance to the operating personnel involved in the process of description of the activities carried out by the organization. Special attention should be paid to the interrelation between the QMS documents being developed and updated. Moreover, another most important factor includes regular control of the progress of work on the part of the management of the enterprise, on-going review of the effects of the project at the meetings of the coordination council and on quality days, etc.
Milestone 5: implementation of QMS (project carrying out and project completion phases)
Completion of development of the QMS and approval of the QMS regulatory documents mark the beginning of the implementation of the new workplace policies of the organization. By this time personnel of the enterprise shall be aware of the QMS documents and trained to work in the environment of the QMS.
Personnel of the enterprise are unlikely to walk after the rule at once if previously they did not know how to do it. That is why at this phase one should not melt in expectation of a miracle, in the hope that things will happen on its own. Patience and methodical efforts are required which are aimed at ensuring of vitality of the changes by means of training and explaining the new rules to the personnel, by exercising control of compliance with the new workplace policies, by way of the designer supervision and metrological supervision; and if some rules are not complied with, by means of analysis of causes and identifying and carrying out of the required corrective actions.
To make the created QMS properly operating, the quality assurance department shall carry out internal audits in the course whereof analysis of the level of comprehension and compliance with the requirements of the QMS documents by the personnel of the organization is carried out.
Analysis of functioning of the organization shall be carried by the management on a regular basis with due account for reports prepared by the quality assurance department which, in its turn, is engaged in the acquisition, processing and, analysis of the recorded data on quality submitted by all the business units of the enterprise.
Works on post-project support and continual improvement of the created QMS
It should be mentioned that even the implemented and currently producing results QMS is not capable to hold out for a long time without appropriate support and continual improvement. The implemented initiative in the field of quality assurance shall not be left to sink or swim. It depends to a great extent on adherence of the company management to the concept of quality management. Objectives in the field of quality assurance shall be determined on an annual basis and achievement thereof shall be controlled; the weak point of the existing system shall be identified and eliminated; questions related to quality management shall be brought up at every weekly meeting both in the office of the top management and at the workplaces. The management becomes responsible for establishing the organizational culture oriented towards continual improvement where quality becomes not just a feature of products/ services but a philosophy of work to be adhered by every employee.