Quality Improvement and Quality Management: Complementary or Contradictory?
- Michael B. Calhoun (Halliburton Energy Services)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- September 1993
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 863 - 865
- 1993. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 6.1 HSSE & Social Responsibility Management, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment
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Quality improvement processes (QIP's) and quality management systems (QMS's)are becoming part of manufacturing and service company language. In some cases,there are perceived differences between the concepts of continuous improvementand documented systems to ensure quality. I have seen examples of QIP's andQMS's working in a complementary fashion to improve existing manufacturing andadministrative processes. These examples show that quality improvementactivities are compatible with and can enhance the effectiveness of QMS's ifthe two are integrated property.
Many organizations talk about quality. Some use the word in the traditionalframework of quality assurance and quality control. Others consider the word tobe a part of the QIP or total quality management (TQM). Still others see thesituation as an "either/ or" choice. This paper discusses QMS's and theQIP and reviews their complementary and contradictory traits.
What Is OMS?
In this paper, QMS means the system of formal, documented practices used byan organization to measure, report. and control the quality of its goods andservices. QMS's are common features of manufacturing companies, especiallythose involved in the manufacture of highly regulated products. Less common areQMS's that manage the quality of services.
Today the ISO 9000 series of international quality standards, arguably thebest-known QMS, and related standards [such as British Standard (BS) 5750] arebeing used far beyond the traditional realm of manufacturing companies. Thesestandards are sets of requirements for critical elements in documented businesssystems that touch on topics from management review and design control tostatistical techniques.
The following are operational definitions of QMS. 1. QMS provides a methodthat allows a company to "... organize itself in such a way that thetechnical, administrative and human factors affecting the quality of itsproducts and services will be under control ..." 2. QMS is "... aimedprimarily at preventing nonconformity ..." 3. QMS acts to "... assurecompliance with the requirements of the contract." QMS is ". . anetwork of planned and systematic actions necessary to provide confidence thata product is produced or a service is performed in accordance with specifiedrequirements."
QMS thus establishes a way to meet the stated requirements. It provides theminimum (the floor or foundation, if you will) of customer expectations. Thisdoes not imply that customer satisfaction follows when a QMS is in place.
These standards are beginning to have an impact on commercial matters aswell. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Europe. The European Community (EC)has adopted the ISO 9000 series as part of its efforts to establish a systemfor product certification and testing and quality system registration.Publicity surrounding the coming of a more well-defined EC has focusedattention on this aspect of barrier-free trade within the EC.
What Is QIP?
QIP is a management philosophy aimed at continuously improving products andservices through a formal system that recognizes suppliers and customers(internal and external), identifies processes, and provides methods of meetingcustomer needs. Many acronyms and phrases are used to express this samephilosophy, including TQM and process improvement. Although each practitionerbrings something unique to the format, this paper deals with such changeprograms as a whole (QIP) with no comment on the effectiveness of a particulartechnique or element.
QIP is often described as a series of repeating cycles that give it acontinuous, ongoing characteristic. QIP is a philosophy that is applicable toall areas of business, from floor-sweeping to sales to executive decisions. Itfocuses on envisioning the company as a linkage of processes, rather thansimply giving desired outcomes or rules of administration.
Are OMS and QIP Contradictory?
Basically, the two concepts are not contradictory. Crawford and Puri havemade point-by-point comparisons of BS 5750 and the ISO 9000 series with theDeming philosophy to answer this question. This is something of an "applesto oranges" comparison because the two concepts were not designed to answerthe same sets of needs. Although the recommended methods for achieving qualityimprovement may contradict certain provisions of QMS in a given setting, theseconflicts can be resolved. It has been my experience. however, that QMSprovides a framework and a discipline that make implementation of QIP easier,not harder.
For example, internal quality audits mandated by QMS initially were seen asconfrontations by most department managers. Gradually, as QIP developed,managers became less adversarial in their approach to such audits and began touse them as one benchmark of their department's quality improvement. A key tothis transition is the use of professionally trained auditors and an insistenceon clear, concise, objectively written reports that are reviewed personallywith the manager involved.
Are QMS and QIP Complementary?
Yes, the two concepts are complementary! QMS and QIP can work in harmony toprovide a commercial basis for product and service quality and a method forcontinuous improvement. QMS can be likened to traffic laws. When I drove my carto work this morning, I stayed below the speed limit, I obeyed the trafficsigns, and yielded to other traffic as required. I operated within the laws(QMS). On the other hand, I also stopped to aid a driver whose car had stalledon the road. I went beyond the QMS requirements to improve the traffic flow byassisting another driver (QIP). The benefits of QIP for existing managementsystems become apparent when specific projects are tackled.
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