A Quality Management System (QMS) is the framework your manufacturing provider develops to ensure they can meet your (and your customers’) expectations consistently. The QMS offers principles to create a successful business relationship with you, including a strong customer focus, strengthening leadership, allowing for continuous improvement, and now, with the ISO 9001:2015, stipulating a process-based approach. Choosing a manufacturing partner with an effective QMS is one giant step towards a successful venture.
Benefits of a QMS
By engaging all members of a manufacturing team, from CEO to part time worker, a culture of quality is promoted throughout the organization. Other positives are:
- Proof that customer, statutory, and regulatory requirements are met consistently;
- Workforce is provided with complete training, so all members understand company standards;
- Processes are clearly indicated, leaving no gaps in rules;
- Measurable results so inefficiencies are easy to spot and improvements can be made;
- Auditing can be performed quickly and effectively, and errors can be quickly solved.
Any size company will benefit from a QMS, which can assist them in creating sound business practices with clear processes. In fact, over one million organizations worldwide are certified to ISO 9001. However, there are some industries with very precise manufacturing needs; these industries require specific adaptations due to their unique properties (i.e. medical and petroleum manufacturing). When choosing a manufacturer in these industries, it is even more crucial that you ensure the company has an effective and updated QMS in place.
Questions to Ask a Potential Manufacturing Partner Regarding a QMS
Without coming right out and demanding a manufacturing firm’s QMS, there are some questions you may want to ask to ensure the right fit.
- What is your company’s overall strategy?
- Have you defined the context of your organization and identified stakeholders?
- When did you last update your QMS?
- What are your quality policy and objectives? Are they spelled out in your QMS?
- What is your leadership role under your QMS?
- Do you have documented best practices?
- Does your team follow risk-based thinking and assessments?
- How much do you focus on quality control, and how often do you perform internal audits?
- How often do you review your QMS for effectiveness?
- Do you have a detailed design and development process?
- How do you manage outside inputs (products and services)?
- What types of metrics do you measure and analyze?
Effective QMS=Customer Satisfaction
Outside of the procedures involved in a quality management system, the bottom line is customer satisfaction, and ISO 9001:2015 makes that clearer than ever. This “policy” is designed to ensure that your manufacturing partner is not simply meeting the bare minimum of production; there is more to a great relationship than the other member providing only what you ask for in basic terms. This is a competitive industry and you can choose from a vast selection of manufacturing firms. Why not choose one which truly has your customer’s best interest in mind?
Look for manufacturing firms whose leadership is fully committed to creating and utilizing a QMS which enables their team to provide superior products and services to its customers, who engage their customers regularly, asking questions and making changes based on metrics and feedback. Partner with an organization which has clear processes, has a mindset for risk-based thinking, and is looking for options when failures occur.
However, before you drop your manufacturer based on their slow adoption to ISO 9001:2015, find out if they have plans to analyze their current QMS and implement an updated version. The process often takes 12-18 months; if their intentions and a well-organized plan are in place, it is likely that you are already on the road to success with an effective partner.
Quality Through Leadership: SMC is Committed to Customer Satisfaction with an Updated QMS
SMC, a print circuit board assembly manufacturer, custom cable assembly provider, system integration/box build manufacturer, is committed to customer satisfaction and superior quality. SMC leadership understands the strong relationship between an effective QMS and customer satisfaction, and focuses on the consistency needed to provide both in today’s electronics manufacturing industry. SMC has historically had an involved approach to their manufacturing relationships, spending countless hours in quality planning, quality assurance, quality control and continuous improvement, which helps SMC stand out in the industry. With a head start in the transition to ISO 9001:2015, SMC is fully prepared to meet your manufacturing needs.