The quality system is a set of procedures and activities designed to ensure that the organization's products or services meet customer requirements. The quality system can be defined as "the set of all processes, systems, people, and other resources used by an organization to produce its product or service ."
The quality system includes the following elements:
• A quality policy statement
• A quality manual
• An organizational structure for implementing the quality system
• Procedures and guidelines for conducting inspections
• Training programs for employees
• Documentation of results of audits
• Monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the quality system
Quality System Effectiveness
To measure the effectiveness of the quality management system, it is necessary to define what constitutes effective performance in terms of meeting the organization's overall mission.
To determine whether the quality system is working effectively, one must first identify the purpose of the quality system. This requires defining the goals and objectives of the quality system. These should include both short-term and long-term goals.
Once the goals have been identified, they need to be translated into measurable criteria. In general, these are called indicators. Indicators are statements about the current status of the goal. They can also serve as a basis for future planning.
Once the goals and indicators have been established, the next step is to develop a plan to measure the quality system's success. For example, if the goal is to improve customer satisfaction, the indicators might include measures such as how many complaints were received from customers during the previous year.
Tools to Measure Quality System Effectiveness
There are several tools available to help organizations assess their quality system. Some of them are listed below:
- Balanced scorecard
- Internal audits
- Feedback from internal and external stakeholders (including stakeholder complaints)
- Warranty/ return data analytics
- Product traceability and recall reports
- Management reviews
Let's briefly look at each of these briefly:
1. Balanced Scorecard
A balanced scorecard is a tool that helps companies evaluate their performance by using metrics. It was developed by Dr. Robert Kaplan and Dr. David Norton and has since become widely accepted as a way to monitor corporate performance.
The Balanced Scorecard provides a framework for evaluating company performance based on four perspectives: Finance, Customers, Internal Business Processes, and Learning and Growth.
2. Internal Audits
An audit is conducted internally to ensure compliance with internal policies and regulations. Internal audits are performed to verify that the planned processes are being followed and are actually improving the quality of the organization's product or service.
Auditors check to see if the processes are being properly implemented, documented, and controlled. During internal audits, auditors may test samples of finished products and inspect work areas for evidence of noncompliance.
3. Feedback from internal and external stakeholders (including stakeholder complaints)
Stakeholders may be employees, customers, suppliers, or other parties. Feedback from stakeholders is important because it gives you insight into your organization's strengths and weaknesses.
This feedback can come in many forms, including surveys, interviews, questionnaires, and complaint records.
4. Warranty/ Return Data Analytics
Return data analytics refers to the analysis of warranty claims and returns. This information can be used to track trends over time and identify problems associated with specific items.
For example, a manufacturer of automobiles uses return data analytics to analyze warranty issues related to windshield cracks. The results of this analysis will indicate which models are most prone to cracking so that the manufacturer can take action to prevent further damage to its vehicles.
5. Product Traceability and Recall Reports
Traceability refers to the ability to link components or sub-components of an item back to the original source. A product traceability report shows where all parts of an item come from and whether they meet specifications.
Recall refers to identifying defective products and the removal of those products from sale. A recall report identifies the number of products recalled and the reasons why they were recalled.
6. Management Reviews
Management reviews occur when senior management meets formally to discuss organizational goals and objectives. Management reviews help ensure that the organization is achieving its stated objectives and that there aren't any significant issues that need addressing.
In addition, management reviews allow executives to review the progress made toward meeting strategic goals and make adjustments to improve future performance.
Conclusion: Measuring Quality System Effectiveness
Quality systems are designed to produce high-quality products and services. They are intended to ensure that organizations consistently deliver products and services that meet desired standards. It helps an organization achieve its goal of providing consistent, high-quality products and services.