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Quality knowledge base - article QA-0002
Updated on 01-08-2016

Quality Management (QM)

Over the past century, mass production became the ruling method over job- and batch production. This process brought new challenges to the management and assurance of quality.
In the past decades, Quality Management (QM) has been replacing old-school quality assurance and quality control principles, by approaching the needs and requirements of quality from many different directions (e.g. leadership, customer satisfaction, suppliers, etc.). In the frame of Total Quality Management (TQM), the continuous improvement of the product, processes, people and the whole system is a key element. Nowadays quality management means the planning and implementation of full-scale quality strategy with the intention to reach zero defect (also called zero defect strategy).
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Key Features
QM is a comprehensive approach towards reaching maximal customer satisfaction by providing quality products and services to the clients. QM has four major elements: Quality Planning (QP), Quality Assurance (QA), Quality Control (QC), and Quality Improvement (QI). In the past two decades the proactive and preventive quality planning mindset became the ruling principle after decades of reactive quality control.
Quality Management
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According to the ISO 9000 quality standard series, seven principles have been defined to effectively manage quality:
  • Customer focus
  • Leadership
  • Engagement of people
  • Process approach
  • Improvement
  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Relationship management
In order to manage quality in an optimal and efficient way, not only direct quality processes must work together, but all support functions, and key players must interact. This interaction between processes, departments, and people is the key essence of sustaining quality and continual improvement.
By describing the quality policy, and elaborating the Quality Management System (QMS), the organization must understand the following aspects:
  • Managers must know their role, and responsibilities.
  • Decisions must be made based on persistent information sharing and precise data analysis.
  • The competence of people must be developed continuously.
  • The innovation factor (technology level of equipment, new methods, etc.) must correlate to the all-time quality requirements.
  • Resources must be allocated optimally (human resources, equipment, money, etc.).
  • The whole system must be audited and revised frequently and intervention points must be found to correct failure potentials.
  • "A chain is as strong as its weakest link".
  • Quality Management focuses on quality from many different directions (e.g. leadership, customer satisfaction, etc.).
  • QM has four major elements: Quality Planning (QP), Quality Assurance (QA), Quality Control (QC), and Quality Improvement (QI).
  • A wholesome Quality Management System (QMS) is inevitable for the effective quality management.
  • The ISO 9000 series defined and summarized seven QM principles.
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