QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (QMS) FOR CORPORATES

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1 152 QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (QMS) FOR CORPORATES DR. S. KANCHANA RATNAM*; T.T. RAJKUMAR**; UMA MAHESHWARI*** ABSTRACT *Assistant Professor, **Ph.D. Scholar, ***Ph.D. Scholar, A QMS can be defined as: A set of co-ordinated activities to direct and control an organization in order to continually improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its performance. A QMS enables an organization to achieve the goals and objectives set out in its policy and strategy. It provides consistency and satisfaction in terms of methods, materials, equipment, etc, and interacts with all activities of the organization, beginning with the identification of customer requirements and ending with their satisfaction, at every transaction interface. The adoption of a QMS needs to be a strategic decision of an organization, and is influenced by varying needs, objectives, the products/services provided, the processes employed and the size and structure of the organization. A QMS must ensure that the products/services conform to customer needs and expectations, and the objectives of the organization. Issues to be considered when setting up a QMS include design, build, control, deployment, measurement, review, and improvement. The paper presents the concept of QMS, its benefits to the corporations, improvements in the credibility of organizations and the volumes of business turn out. KEYWORDS: Corporates, Management System, Quality, Total Quality, Quality Management System, ISO. INTRODUCTION Management systems are needed in all areas of activity, whether large or small businesses, manufacturing, service or public sector. Quality is nowadays a famous mantra in all spheres of activities in the world. The organizations and corporations in the world need to implement the Quality Management System (QMS) to derive benefits from modern business concepts. The underlying concept of quality organization is the synergy of working between customer and supplier for mutual benefit.

2 153 Since each functional department has a contribution to make towards quality, it is imperative that the entire quality management effort be properly organized to coordinate the various contributing aspects to quality. Without such coordination, there may be chaotic situation, and although quality is everybody s business, it may become nobody s business. Therefore, quality management should be a separate function headed by a person quite high in the organizational hierarchy so as to facilitate the coordination of the various contributing functions to quality. Quality management, which includes ensuring proper quality for a company s output, is important not only for its survival in the market, but also to expand its market or when it wants to enter into a new product-line and various other marketing ventures. If a country s products are to make an impact in the international market, it is vital that the quality of its exports should be at par with, if not better, than similar products from other nations. Quality management is thus an important long-term marketing strategy as well. For developing countries, such as India, this aspect assumes greater importance since in the international market they have to compete with products of advanced countries with established brand names and brand loyalties. To make a dent on such a market, it might sometimes be necessary for our products to be one step better than the already established products of other advanced countries (Chary, 2004). WHAT IS QUALITY? Quality can be a confusing concept, partly because people view quality in relation to differing criteria based on their individual roles in the production-marketing value chain. In addition, the meaning of quality continues to evolve as the quality profession grows and matures. Neither consultants nor business professionals agree on a universal definition. A study that asked managers of 86 firms in the eastern United States to define quality produced several dozen different responses, including the following (Tamimi and Sebastianelli, 1996): 1. Perfection 2. Consistency 3. Eliminating waste 4. Speed of delivery 5. Compliance with policies and procedures 6. Providing a good, usable product 7. Doing it right the first time 8. Delighting or pleasing customers 9. Total customer service and satisfaction Thus, it is important to understand the various perspectives from which quality is viewed in order to fully appreciate the role it plays in many parts of a business organization (Garvin, 1984; Smith, 1993; Reeves and Bednar, 1994; Seawright and Young, 1996).

3 154 The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society for Quality (ASQ) standardized official definitions of quality terminology in 1978 (ANSI/ASQC, 1978). These groups defined quality as the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears on its ability to satisfy the given needs. This definition draws heavily on the product- and user-based approaches and is driven by the need to contribute value to customers and thus to influence satisfaction and preference. By the end of the 1980s, many companies had begun using a simpler, yet powerful, customer-driven definition of quality that remains popular today: Quality is meeting or exceeding customer expectations. QUALITY AS A MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK In the 1970s a General Electric (GE) task force studied consumer perceptions of the quality of various GE product lines (Utzig, 1980). Lines with relatively poor reputations for quality were found to deemphasize the customer s viewpoint, regard quality as synonymous with tight tolerance and conformance to specifications, tie quality objectives to manufacturing flow, express quality objectives as the number of defects per unit, and use formal quality control systems only in manufacturing. In contrast, product lines that received customer praise were found to emphasize satisfying customer expectations, determine customer needs through market research, use customer-based quality performance measures, and have formalized quality control systems in place for all business functions, not just for manufacturing. The task force concluded that quality must not be viewed solely as a technical discipline, but rather as a management discipline. That is, quality issues permeate all aspects of business enterprise: design, marketing, manufacturing, human resource management, supplier relations, and financial management, to name just a few (Evans and Lindsay, 2005). As companies came to recognize the broad scope of quality, the concept of total quality (TQ) emerged. A definition of total quality was endorsed in 1992 by the chairs and CEOs of nine major U.S. corporations in cooperation with deans of business and engineering departments of major universities, and recognized consultants: (i) Total Quality (TQ) is a people-focused management system that aims at continual increase in customer satisfaction at continually lower real cost. TQ is a total system approach (not a separate area or program) and an integral part of high-level strategy; it works horizontally across functions and departments, involves all employees, top to bottom, and extends backward and forward to include the supply chain and the customer chain. TQ stresses learning and adaptation to continually change as keys to organizational success. (ii) The foundation of total quality is philosophical: the scientific method. TQ includes systems, methods, and tools. The systems permit change; the philosophy says the same. TQ is anchored in values that stress the dignity of the individual and the power of community action (Proctor and Gamble, 1992). QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (QMS) An organisation will benefit from establishing an effective quality management system (QMS). The cornerstone of a quality organisation is the concept of the customer and supplier working together for their mutual benefit. For this to become effective, the customer-supplier interfaces must extend into, and outside of, the organisation, beyond the immediate customers and suppliers.

4 155 A QMS can be defined as: A set of co-ordinated activities to direct and control an organisation in order to continually improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its performance. These activities interact and are affected by being in the system, so the isolation and study of each one in detail will not necessarily lead to an understanding of the system as a whole. The main thrust of a QMS is in defining the processes, which will result in the production of quality products and services, rather than in detecting defective products or services after they have been produced. A QMS enables an organisation to achieve the goals and objectives set out in its policy and strategy. It provides consistency and satisfaction in terms of methods, materials, equipment, etc, and interacts with all activities of the organisation, beginning with the identification of customer requirements and ending with their satisfaction, at every transaction interface. Management systems are needed in all areas of activity, whether large or small businesses, manufacturing, service or public sector. A good QMS will: (i) Set direction and meet customers expectations, (ii) Improve process control, (ii) Reduce wastage, (iv) Lower costs, (v) Increase market share, (vi) Facilitate training, (vii) Involve staff, and (viii) Raise morale. The adoption of a QMS needs to be a strategic decision of an organisation, and is influenced by varying needs, objectives, the products/services provided, the processes employed and the size and structure of the organisation. A QMS must ensure that the products/services conform to customer needs and expectations, and the objectives of the organisation. Issues to be considered when setting up a QMS include its: Design, Build, Control, Deployment, Measurement, Review, and Improvement. ISO 9000 contains eight quality management principles, upon which to base an efficient, effective and adaptable QMS. They are applicable throughout industry, commerce and the service sectors: Customer focus, Leadership, Involving people, Process approach Systems approach, Continual Improvement, Factual decision making, and Mutually beneficial supplier relationships. The ISO Series can form the means by which a holistic management system can be implemented, into which quality, health and safety and environmental responsibility can be integrated, with the audits carried out either separately or in combination. CONCLUDING REMARKS For the survival of corporations in the market and also to expand its market or when it wants to enter into a new product-line and various other marketing ventures quality management is essential. This aspect assumes greater importance for developing countries, such as India, since in the international market they have to compete with products of advanced countries with established brand names and brand loyalties. It is important to understand the various perspectives from which quality is viewed in order to fully appreciate the role it plays in many parts of a business organization. Quality issues permeate all aspects of business enterprise: design, marketing, manufacturing, human resource management, supplier relations, and financial management, to name just a few. An organisation will benefit from establishing an effective quality management system (QMS). A QMS enables an organisation to achieve the goals and objectives set out in its policy and strategy. ISO 9000 contains eight quality management principles, upon which to base an efficient, effective and adaptable QMS. The ISO Series can form the means by which a holistic management system can be implemented, into which quality, health and safety and environmental responsibility can be integrated, with the audits carried out either separately or in combination.

5 156 REFERENCES ANSI/ASQC A (1978), Quality Systems Terminology, American Society for Quality Control, Milwakee, WI. Chary, S.N., (2007), Production and Operations Management, Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Limited, New Delhi. Evans, J.R. and Lindsay, W.M., (2005), The Management Control of Quality, South- Western Cengage Learning, Australia. Garvin, D.A., (1984), What Does product Quality Really Mean?, Sloan Management Review, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp Proctor and Gamble, (1992), Report to the Total Quality Leadership steering Committee and Working Councils, Cincinnati, OH. Reeves, C.A. and Bednar, D.A., (1994), Defining Quality: Alternatives and Implications, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp Seawright, K.W. and Young, S.T., (1996), A Quality Definition Continuum, Interfaces, Vol. 26, No. 3, May-June, pp Smith, G.F., (1993), The Meaning of Quality, Total Quality Management, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp Tamimi, N. and Sebastianelli, R., (1996), How Firms Define and Measure Quality, Production and Inventory Management Journal, Vo. 37, No 3 (Third Quarter), pp Utzig, L., (1980), Quality Reputation Precious Asset, ASQC Technical Conference Transcations, Atlanta, pp

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