Confidence is key in the world of business. It is the foundation of a functional business relationship; you want confidence in your clients’ continued patronage, and your clients want confidence in the consistent quality of the product or service you provide to them. To foster such mutual trust, you should consider implementing a Quality Management System (QMS).
A good QMS is an exhaustive set of standards you create to best ensure the quality of your product or service. It consists of documents laying down your business’s processes of production in a formulaic and repeatable format, as well as other essential, internal processes. By following the same steps in the same manner repeatedly during the process of production, your company churns out a dependably uniform result for the client every time. Clients like to receive exactly what they expect every time they ask for a given product or service. Adopting a QMS that achieves this goal increases their confidence in your reliability, bolstering a happier working relationship.
Structuring your production processes into a QMS leads to a wealth of benefits beyond the company-client dynamic as well. A clear and visible process checklist can lead to an improved efficiency within the business; a greater productivity and decreasing production costs follow the implementation of a well-made QMS. This efficiency is the result of the expectations of processes being well-established for all employees to observe and follow.
There are even external benefits to having an effective QMS in place. Creating one that is compliant with the internationally respected quality management standards of ISO 9001 will give your business a certain distinction; certain high-profile businesses and government contractors are uninterested in working with companies that are not certified by a recognized third party as being ISO compliant. Having a QMS that abides by the ISO standards signals to competitors that your products or services are held to a certain standard, and displays a commitment to providing quality to satisfied clients. All these benefits can help give your company a leg up in your industry, or make you newly competitive if you were not previously.
Though their benefits are great, the actual task of creating a QMS is often difficult. A company must dedicate time and resources to the development of a robust system — time and resources which will be missed elsewhere. Documenting each of the vital processes that keep your business running can be a laborious undertaking. Approving a new version of an important document is a complicated process: a necessary change is identified, one person makes that change and passes the change on for approval, various edits are suggested, and more approvals are needed for those edits. When the new version finally takes effect, it does so only after days (or even weeks) of changing hands. Accessibility is also a concern since circulating the new document version takes time and coordinated effort. Once that new version is in play, there is no guarantee that the relevant employees will recognize and use the most up-to-date version of that document — they likely have a veritable catalog of old versions of that same document. Any of these problems can lead to compliance issues or product deviation.
This litany of setbacks may sour some on the idea of taking up a QMS, but don’t let it scare you off. If you are feeling intimidated by the prospect of starting your own QMS, or your existing system is not accomplishing the goals you have in mind, let Abel Solutions point your business in the right direction.
We have over 20 years of experience providing comprehensive answers to our clients’ needs by offering any combination of SharePoint-based solutions, building unique applications, and delivering extensive complementary IT services.
Our most potent solution for clients who face quality management or ISO compliance woes is a QMS solution-accelerator called QMS|Share. It is a SharePoint-based software solution that houses your QMS in the Cloud. This affords a greater ease of access for employees to reference process documents.
Your important QMS documents are stored in a library — a localized database with configurable controls — for ease of access. These documents can be tagged with metadata to categorize it according to adjustable values such as the department to which the file pertains. Using metadata empowers users to easily search out individual files from among thousands without even having to know the name of the document. Customizable library views allow you to group documents together based on their shared metadata values. They provide these databases with a system of organization similar to a folder structure but offer a more flexible means of categorizing your data.
Because SharePoint emphasizes collaborative capabilities for its users, it lets every authorized user download, add, edit, and delete files in the library. Site administrators manage security by establishing which users can perform what actions by granting, revoking, and editing permission levels. These permission levels can be applied at the top with site collection level all the way down to the library level, effectively controlling who can interact with your files and how on a basis as general or as specific as you see fit.
The document approval process is made significantly more efficient in QMS|Share. Having two distinct libraries minimizes confusion by separating documents into those awaiting final approval and published policies. Nintex-powered automated workflows move documents through the process phases according to the instructions with which they were programmed: shuffling them forward for approval or backward after an edit, as appropriate. A highly visible Dashboard also gives alerts to relevant parties when they have a pending task or document awaiting their approval. These improvements help streamline the approval process, potentially cutting days off the time from gestation to adoption.
Versioning controls allow administrators to ensure that only the most recent version of a given document is being used on the site. Automatic document number generation means that a new version will be saved by QMS|Share every time the file undergoes a significant edit. These older versions are maintained in SharePoint’s library versioning history, meaning administrators can not only reference past versions for internal audit but also revert the document to those previous incarnations. No matter what the circumstances, there is only one version active at any given time — which helps quell misunderstandings.
Even considering how powerful a tool QMS|Share is, a QMS must be maintained to keep its value to the company. Keeping up with ISO compliance standards and managing the QMS processes is a headache for some, so we at Abel Solutions offer them a more long-term solution. For those clients that decide to participate in an extended contract for our services, we will handle your QMS|Share site beyond installation and basic instruction on its use.
Whatever your quality management concerns, let Abel Solutions help with its versatile QMS solution-accelerator, QMS|Share, and its complementary services. Win that confidence back for your business.