Quality Management is a term becoming more and more popular these days. Though everyone is familiar more or less with quality management regardless of his association with the quality, But, everyone have different idea about quality management depending upon the organization in which one is working, training one has got, formal education one has about quality management. With the time due to more and more modernization in Quality management,
EASY UNDERSTANDING OF QUALITY MANAGEMENT
Quality Management is a term becoming more and more popular these days. Though everyone is familiar more or less with quality management regardless of his association with the quality, But, everyone have different idea about quality management depending upon the organization in which one is working, training one has got, formal education one has about quality management. With the time due to more and more modernization in Quality management, this is becoming more and more difficult for understanding especially for the new comer/students. The purpose of this article is just to give an idea of Quality, Quality Control, Quality Assurance, Quality Management System (QMS) and finally Total Quality Management (TQM) to the students and new comer in the field of Quality Management.
What is Quality?
If we consider quality as an absolute term, then we could define it in the following way. “The product or service with some standards (affordable) having best suitability for intended purpose, resulting into the maximum satisfaction of the customer”, is a quality product or service.
The standard development is very critical to have a right quality product/service. Actually quality starts from standard development. Having the right standards means you have right quality product or service. The standards either may be voluntary developed by organization or developed under the guidance of any enforcing authority or developed as per the requirements of customer (for customized products or services) or developed as per the competitive product or service. Whatever the means or source of standards development is adopted, it should be realistic and with some proven scientific background.
Natural variations are part of any kind of processes, products, raw material, person/employee capabilities. Keeping in view all of these variations, the much better option is to develop the ranges for standards as minimum and maximum acceptable value. While developing these ranges for any specific type of parameter, the focus should be given that the product developed within these range limits should have negligible quality difference.
Sometimes quality becomes the relative term. Means without comparing the quality of two different products/service one could not have the exact idea of the quality of each. The personal choices play a very vital role in this regards. Due to some personal liking and disliking one can consider any product or service inferior to other, but this is not actually an inferior product or services. Within the same category, the product or service having highest degree of customer satisfaction in an affordable way by providing either more numbers of attribute with highest level of every attribute or only few important attributes with highest level is considered as the best product/service in comparison to other.
The efforts, which an organization (manufacturer/service provider) put in the manufacturing of product or development of service to delight the customer in a cost effective way are the quality measures for that organization.
The efforts could be:
1. Plant layout/design/structures.
2. Getting Customer’s feedback (surveys, complaint handling, consumer level testing and etc).
3. Research and development in packaging, product or service development, product or service presentation and etc.
4. Supplier development, to maintain the supply of raw and packaging materials.
5. Adoption of new innovative approaches.
6. Implementation of new systems (ISO).
7. Trainings to staff.
Quality Control and Quality Assurance:
The terms “quality assurance” and “quality control” are often used interchangeably to refer to ways of ensuring the quality of a service or product. The terms, however, have different meanings.
• Quality assurance: The planned and systematic activities implemented in a quality system so that quality requirements for a product or service will be fulfilled.
• Quality control: The observation techniques and activities used to fulfil requirements for quality.(http://www.asq.org/learn-about-quality/quality-assurance-quality-control/overview/overview.html.)
Quality Assurance (QA):
The approaches/activities (mostly long term) that we adopted and implemented to assure that whatever and whenever we produce, it should be as per the requirements by establishing product standards/specifications, establishing analytical procedures, establishing process parameters, establishing and implementation of good manufacturing, hygiene & ware housing practices, trainings last but not least various types of verification procedures.
At the beginning QA starts from
1. Plant lay out finalization.
2. Processing parameters validations and finalization.
3. Supplier finalization.
4. Raw /packaging materials testing procedure identification and finalization.
5. Raw and packaging material specification development.
6. Semi finished and finished product standard development.
7. Establishment of Sampling frequency and protocols.
8. Development of Good Manufacturing practices (GMPs), Good hygiene practices (GHPs) and Good ware housing practices (GWHPs).
9. Establishment of various calibration procedures.
10. Work instruction developments.
11. Safety measures development.
12. System implementation like ISO 9001 and etc.
Ongoing QA activities are following
1. Various types of verifications and validation.
2. Calibration of equipments.
3. Supplier developments
6. Data Analysis by using various types of statistical tools and etc.
Quality Control (QC):
The approaches/techniques (mostly short term) that we adopted to monitor that whatever and whenever we produce, it should be as per the requirements by frequently monitoring, inspecting the raw materials, in-processing monitoring, final product checking, conducting various analysis.
QC is always an ongoing process, which includes
1. Sampling for incoming materials, semi finished and finished product.
2. Inspections of incoming materials.
3. Processing parameters monitoring.
4. Checking of semi finished and finished products.
5. Complaint handling.
6. Data maintaining and etc.
So in short, Quality Assurance makes sure you are doing the right things, in a right way. While Quality Control makes sure the results of what you have done are what you expected.
Quality Management System (QMS):
An effective QMS of any organization includes the right balance of QA and QC activities. And if same organization started include, employee involvement in decision making, started implementing of various quality tools, started focusing on customer needs, started improving every activity within the organization from start to end, started developing and improving the external activities (like supplier development), strengthening their communicating ways, by doing this the organization is actually converting their QMS to Total Quality Management system (TQM). So TQM is an advance version of QMS, which is thinking of quality in terms of all functions of the organization from start to end, direct or indirect. TQM is a systemic approach that considers every activity of the organization. The effectiveness of QMS/TQM can be checked by
1. Continuous improvement of system.
2. Customer Satisfaction
3. Problem Solving.
4. Increase in productivity.
5. Loss control.
6. Employee satisfaction.
Strengthening QA and QC activities ultimately results into strengthening of QMS. This is the dilemma with most of the organization that they don’t understand the exact meaning of QMS, they think that this is something that supersedes QA or QC. But actually QMS included both of these, i.e. both of these are the important part of QMS. So in summary, whether any organization is aware or unaware of fact, all are working for QMS and ultimately for TQM which include all activities (Quality or non-quality) of an organization. Please be sure that there is no non-quality activity for TQM organization, it means every activity directly or indirectly affect the quality of product or service.
Shahid Hafeez Shahid ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
(MS TQM, M.Sc. (Hons) Food Technology)
Quality Assurance & Product Development Manager,
A’Safwah Dairy & Beverage, Subsidiary of Dhofar Cattle Feed Co. Salalah, Sultanate of Oman