Quality management: Optimal control of all elements of the supply chain
In many industries, value creation is increasingly moving to complex, fragmented supply chains. This means that manufacturing companies need to examine their quality management throughout the supply chain. They need a comprehensive, sustainable quality policy with focused networking, including appropriate strategies, processes, tools, and responsibilities. In times of digitization, vertical and horizontal networking between companies is becoming more important. This allows them to establish a deep awareness of quality in their organization – with the aim of controlling all elements of the supply chain in optimal fashion, benefiting from excellent quality results and competitive advantages.
Rules, processes and responsibilities of quality management
Quality management (QM) encompasses all the strategies and measures that help a company to achieve its quality goals. It follows that a quality management system shows how quality is created within an organization. Decision-makers need to define the associated rules, processes, and responsibilities, taking external (and possibly internal) influences into consideration. Only in this way is it possible to create a quality management system that ensures the quality of products and/or services in line with the needs of all stakeholders while keeping pace with the latest developments in digitization.
Challenges in quality management
As simple as this may sound in theory, unfortunately it is not straightforward in practice. Due to external influences and the increasing complexity of value creation, quality management today is a complex task that companies should not neglect.
In addition to statutory and official rules and customer requirements, international QM standards in particular have a strong influence on quality management. The best known of these is ISO 9001, a catalog of standards that summarizes the minimum requirements for the QM system of companies of all types and sizes. Beyond this, there are numerous industry-specific QM standards, such as IATF 16949 (automotive industry) and the European standard EN 9100 (aerospace and defense industry) – both of which contain rules that have a strong impact on quality management. Companies cannot ignore these rules, as to do so would cause them to run the risk of suffering serious financial disadvantages.
Most companies today use an integrated management system with all the necessary methods and tools to meet requirements in a variety of areas (e.g. environmental protection and occupational safety). Integrating quality management into this system is no easy task.
- On the one hand, complex issues such as risk management, supplier management, and IT security (take, for example, ISO 27001 or TISAX) are becoming more and more important in QM standards. QM managers therefore need to look beyond the internal perspective and ensure that all requirements are met throughout the supply chain.
- On the other hand, it is difficult without experience to define robust company processes that not only exist on paper, but can also be lived out in practice by all employees.
Companies need to incorporate the resulting areas of activity in their business processes. Their goal must be to create clear responsibilities and powers, ensuring that everyone involved follows the defined procedures. The result should be a process framework that helps to secure or improve the quality of products and services as well as customer satisfaction and the competitiveness of an organization.
Drawing on the latest developments in digitization, we offer you the expertise to make your company fit for the future
Fields of activity
- Developing and introducing globally integrated management systems
- Performing structured assessments and audits, evaluating potential, e.g. IATF 16949, VDA 6.3, ISO 9001, EN 9100, EN 1090
- Designing company-wide quality programs
- Developing qualification and learning modules as well as providing training
- Coaching and developing the organization to meet specific client requirements in the areas of automotive technology, aviation, medicine, etc.
- Transparent, preventive risk management based on intelligent networking of the supplier structure