The Value of Your QMS: How Serious Are You?

I’m always curious why organizations spend the money to implement a quality management system and then don’t use it.  We see this on occasion when working with clients that spend considerable money and human resources implementing a QMS and then they let it go in the years that follow.  This is unfortunate because quality management systems can bring cost reduction and measurable customer satisfaction to a company.  It’s even more unfortunate because they are highly front loaded, as it takes a great deal to get a QMS going, but once in place they’re relatively easy to maintain.

There are different reasons why this happens, but I believe that the root cause lies with management and corporate leadership, in the same way many business successes and failures do.  Management only has to look in the mirror to understand why their quality management system is a failure.  Maybe management never intended to take the QMS seriously once it was implemented.  Perhaps their original intentions were good, but management grew tired or bored with the whole thing.  In either case, the result will be the same.  If the quality system isn’t important to the organization’s leaders, it won’t be important to the company’s employees. So before you decide to implement TL 9000 or ISO 9001, you might ask yourself, “Am I really serious?”  If your answer is “no”, our advice is save your money!

Here are some tips for “getting serious” with your QMS:

First, make sure you’re committed for a good reason.  Become convinced that a quality system will help you change behaviors to systematically improve customer satisfaction and product quality. Understand that if you do this, you will lower the cost of customer acquisition, product development, marketing and customer satisfaction.  Commit to calculating these performance indicators when you start and also commit to measuring the improvements.

Then, communicate these benefits to your employees.  Lead the way by conducting personal communication and information sessions.  Nothing has a greater impact on the message of “quality”, than when the company’s top executives deliver it-repeatedly.  Drive a “no-blame” corporate culture where all of your employees can work together in a common direction to correct process defects without putting themselves in harms way.  If you make your QMS a culture, your journey will be very successful.  For more information on TL 9000 and ISO 9001 QMS maintenance, contact