Quality Management is focused not only on product quality, but also the means to achieve it. Quality Management therefore uses quality assurance and control of processes as well as products to achieve more consistent quality.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) created the Quality Management System (QMS) standards in 1987.
Quality Management has three main components:
Quality Control is the ongoing effort to maintain the integrity of a process to maintain the reliability of achieving an outcome.
The company wide quality approach places an emphasis on three aspects:
- Elements such as controls, job management, defined and well managed processes performance and integrity criteria and identification of records.
- Competence such as knowledge, skills, experience and qualification.
- Soft elements such as personnel integrity, confidence, organizational culture, motivation, team spirit and quality relationship.
The quality of the outputs is at risk if any of these three aspects is deficient in any way.
Quality Assurance is the planned or systematic actions necessary to provide enough confidence so that a product or service will satisfy the given requirements.
Quality Assurance refers to a program for the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the various aspects of a project, service or facility to ensure that standards of quality are being met. It is important to realize that the quality is determined by the program sponsor.
Quality Assurance cannot guarantee the production of quality products, unfortunately, but makes this more likely.
Two key principle characteristic of Quality Assurance:
- “fit for purpose” (the product should be suitable for the intended purpose) and
- “right first time” (mistakes should be eliminated).
Quality Improvement is the purposeful change of a process to improve the reliability of achieving an outcome.