It could be hardly doubted that nearly every company strives to please as many customers as possible. It is also apparent that managers of different businesses, companies, and organizations have to implement specific frameworks to achieve their goals.
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One of the most prominent management approaches is a quality management system (QMS). QMS is a complex set of various processes, and its primary purpose is to enhance the customer’s satisfaction while increasing the company’s profitability. This paper aims to overview the concept of QMS, its significance, and principal varieties (including ISO9000, Lean Sigma, Six Sigma, and several others). Also, the research will dwell upon the benefits of using QMS methodology, differences between QMS approaches, and implications for meeting the customer’s demand.
Overview of the Concept
The Significance of Quality Systems and Their Role in Organizations
First of all, it is essential to overview the concept of quality systems to provide further reasoning with a proper context. The significance of QMS could hardly be overlooked since various organizations successfully implement this approach across the world (Lukichev & Romanovich, 2016). It is also argued that “sustainable development of the company and its competitiveness are directly dependent” on the implementation of quality systems within the organization (Lukichev & Romanovich, 2016, p. 1717).
One of the primary advantages of using QMS is that it is a holistic approach, which can be employed on every level of the company’s hierarchy. As is mentioned by Prabhakar (2017), QMS “equips project team with documented approach that helps in maintaining the quality of work, reduction of rework and cost effective project execution” (p. 2015). Thus, using different quality management systems, the organization’s top management can significantly improve their overall performance, fix the deficiencies on internal and external levels, and take a leading position in the market.
Additionally, it should be noted that there are distinct varieties of QMS. Firstly, it is important to mention the ISO9001 model, deriving from the ISO9000 standard, which was developed by International Organization for Standardization (also referred to as ISO) (Bacoup, Michel, Habchi, & Pralus, 2018). Another very prominent QMS is Six Sigma. According to Buell (2016), Six Sigma is “a process-improvement methodology,” which is focused on delivering products at lower costs, minimizing expenses, improving the production quality, and decreasing cycle time (p. 201).
Thirdly, it is critical to mention the Lean methodology, which originally emerged in the middle of the 20th century in Toyota company (Buell, 2016). This methodology was conceptualized at the end of the 20th century, and, according to Bacoup et al. (2018), the principal aspects of this method are the following: waste reduction, “just-in-time” principle, constant improvement, the perfection of quality, visual management, and human resources management (p. 22).
Additionally, Jaďuďová, Zelený, Marková, Tomaškinová, and Vicianová (2015) argue that the following management systems exist: Integrated Management System (IMS), Environmental Management System ISO14001 (EMS), Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSAS). Each of the mentioned systems is highly applicable to various working circumstances. It could also be noted that in the past two decades, the active integration and interosculation between different QMS are observed.
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Quality Systems’ Contribution to Successful Quality Management
As Carey (2018) states, the implementation of various management methodologies (most notably, quality management systems) has helped numerous organizations to improve their performance quality, speed, and efficiency in the recent decades. Therefore, it would be appropriate to suggest that QMS contributes considerably to successful quality management. Many researchers state the overall positive effect of QMS implementation in various working environments, including gas and oil projects, construction management, environmental sustainability projects, and many others (Prabhakar, 2017; Lukichev & Romanovich, 2016; Jaďuďová et al., 2015).
For example, Lukichev and Romanovich (2016) argue that the development of appropriate guidelines for the implementation of QMS alongside the choice of suitable certification bodies within the construction companies results in fewer managerial problems. Accordingly, other researchers point out various specific recommendations for the employment of quality systems.
Benefits of Using The Methodology for Organizations
The Difference between Six Sigma and Lean Management
Further, it is essential to dwelling on the differences between Six Sigma and Lean management models since they are traditionally considered to be distinct approaches with unique characteristics (Carey, 2018). According to Buell (2016), Six Sigma is a quality-statistical system, which is based on the theorization and research by Deming, Ishikawa, Juran, and others. This model includes the following quality initiatives: leadership-directed strategic alignment, a well-structured model for project execution and organizational deployment, and also “strong emphasis on business results and verification of financial benefits” (Buell, 2016, p. 201).
Considering Lean management, it was already noted that this approach originated in the automobile industry. The primary focus of this process-oriented methodology is on the elimination of insufficient and nonvalue-added activities and concisely following customer requirements (Buell, 2016). There always was a competition between the proponent of these approaches. Six Sigma advocates only recognized Lean’s contribution to decreasing the cycle time while Lean proponents considered Six Sigma to be a measuring tool for process capability.
Six Sigma and Lean Sigma Integration: Possible Advantages
Even though Six Sigma and Lean management approaches are traditionally seen as opponents, there is considerable potential in combining them into one holistic approach. For example, Salah, Rahim, and Carretero (2010) conducted research, in which they proposed that Lean and Six Sigma, being among the most importantly continuous improvement methodologies, should be integrated to provide an approach for advancing operational and service excellence of any organization.
Based on evidence from scholarly literature and personal experience, the authors analyzed the contemporary concepts of Lean and Six Sigma and concluded that the integration of these two methods would result in a higher quality of continuous improvement management (Salah et al., 2010). Other researchers, including Buell (2016), Carey (2018), Bacoup et al. (2018), also indicate that merging these two approaches to quality management can significantly advance the overall performance of any company on every organizational level.
The Quality Management’s Decision in the Selecting Process for One or a Combination of the Quality Systems
The Difference between ISO and Lean Six Sigma
The differences between ISO9000 and Lean Six Sigma (the merged approach based on Six Sigma and Lean systems) are discussed by Carey (2018). In his article, he overviews these two approaches to develop possible insights and guidelines for their integration. International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, is considered to be the most popular and useful QMS (Bacoup et al., 2018). ISO9000 is an analytical tool that allows companies to monitor the fulfillment of the standard requirements, maintain proper documentation, and perform regular quality audits (Carey, 2018).
It is used to improve the staff’s understanding of quality-affecting factors within their responsibilities and to facilitate the exchange of practical information within the company (Carey, 2018). Thus, it is possible to observe that ISO9000 is primarily preoccupied with following standards, documentation of central processes, and it is data-oriented. Therefore, there is considerable potential in combining this approach with Lean Six Sigma, which is more process-oriented.
The Relation between the Customer Satisfaction and the Need for Quality Management Systems
Customer satisfaction is one of the ultimate goals of any organization. Therefore, the connection between the implementation of quality management systems and the customer satisfaction outcome is undeniable. For example, one of Lean’s primary goals is to eliminate the aspects of the product, for which the customer is not willing to pay (Bacoup et al., 2018). Also, as Jaďuďová et al. (2015) point out, the customers are the most identified stakeholders by companies, making 12.01 % of the overall number of organizations participated in the research (p. 131). Lukichev and Romanovich (2016) argue that one of the primary objectives of the implementation of QMS is to meet the customer’s highest expectations. Thus, it is evident that quality management systems are needed to increase customer satisfaction.
How Managers’ Strategies Try to Match to Customer’s Expectations
How Quality Requirements and the Customer’s Demand Can Change the Order Winner’s Characteristics
Further, it is essential to discuss how the customer’s demand and industry quality requirements can change the order-winning characteristics. According to the study by Roh, Hong, and Min (2014), one of the most evident order-winning factors is the excellence of the company’s supply chain performance. The authors develop the order winner and order qualifier framework, which aims to elaborate on the concept of responsive supply change management (Roh et al., 2014). In the context of this research, one of the most suitable quality management approaches to this framework is the Lean method (or Lean Six Sigma) since it is preoccupied with decreasing the number of insufficient activities. Thus, it is argued that building a sustainable supply chain requires the reduction of the risk of the chain’s disruptions.
The Quality Evolution Chart
The quality evolution chart also referred to as the Six Sigma quality control chart and Shewhart control chart is an efficient tool for detecting “relatively large shifts” in the quality characteristics’ sphere (Linna, 2015, p. 109). It is used in statistical process control, and various companies employ it to investigate different measures. The chart is useful in the Six Sigma approach since it fits in the overall philosophy, strategy, and operational processes of Six Sigma (Buell, 2016). The continuous monitoring of the company’s quality level is highly important for any organization, and thus the Shewhart control chart is widely used.
Based on the conducted research, it is possible to come to several principal conclusions. First of all, the significance of QMS employment for companies and organizations is undeniable. Secondly, there are several distinct approaches to conducting quality management, including Lean, Six Sigma, ISO9000, ISO14000, IMS, and several others. This paper also discussed the significantly positive potential for merging some of these approaches into a more holistic method. Thirdly, it is argued that customer satisfaction is one of the most evident driving factors of companies’ improvement efforts. Further, it is argued that advanced supply chain management is an important winning-order factor, which could be improved by implementing the Six Sigma approach. Overall, it should be noted that the topic is considerably broad, and further investigation is needed.
Bacoup, P., Michel, C., Habchi, G., & Pralus, M. (2018). From a Quality Management System (QMS) to a Lean Quality Management System (LQMS). The TQM Journal, 30(1), 20-42.
Buell, R.S. (2016). Application of Lean Six Sigma in Oilfield operations. Web.
Carey, B. (2018). Comparing and blending ISO9000 and Lean Six Sigma. Web.
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Jaďuďová, J., Zelený, J., Marková, I., Tomaškinová, J., & Vicianová, J. H. (2015). Stakeholder management as part of integrated management system in the furniture industry. Procedia: Economics and Finance, 34, 129-133.
Linna, K. W. (2015). Improving Shewhart Control Chart performance using two-stage sampling. In V. Bhargava (Ed.), Proceedings of the Society of Business, Industry and Economics (SOBIE) Annual Meetings (pp. 109-116). Destin, FL: Alcorn State University.
Lukichev, S., & Romanovich, M. (2016). The quality management system as a key factor for sustainable development of the construction companies. Procedia Engineering, 165, 1717-1721.
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