Quality management audit: a systematic review for improvement

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For many businesses, quality management is essential. It leads to an increase in revenue, productivity, and customer loyalty. A quality management system is meant to impact areas of the organization that deals with meeting customer requirements. A good quality management system will greatly improve your ability to meet customer requirements most cost-effectively and efficiently as possible.

Good quality management helps cut costs. However, It is not just about pleasing customers, and it is not primarily about documentation but about process control and risk reduction. And, when done well, about process improvement.

Simply put, quality management ensures that customer expectations and the company’s output match. It is a system of rules, responsibilities and processes within the company that serves to align all aspects (products, services, internal processes) with the needs of internal and external stakeholders.

Quality management is like a big puzzle, where different pieces make up the big picture

Whether an organisation has a documented, undocumented, or no quality management system at all, LAW can help to implement, develop & maintain the highest possible levels of customer satisfaction in the long term, provided the organisation is committed and willing to achieve continual improvement.

The first step in the process is to conduct a gap analysis through an initial quality management audit, or quality assessment if you like, to identify things such as:

  • Any gaps in existing processes & procedures
  • How to enhance quality management, take control of processes, quality documentation, training, preventative actions to reduce risk, and ultimately, achieve continual improvement
  • Opportunities to plan, implement and further develop quality management
  • Improving monitoring & measuring of processes, quality & customer satisfaction

Law At Work will be offering this new service to existing and new customers in Q1 2023.

The word ‘audit’ tends to scare people. LAW audits, or ‘reviews & assessments’ will be conducted with a practical, pragmatic approach to quality management, with all guidance and advice tailored to the needs and requirements of the customer.

What is a quality management audit & what does it consist of?

A quality management system audit (assessment) evaluates an organisation’s existing method(s) of quality management, whether formal or informal, to ascertain the conformance with company policies, standards, contract commitments, and regulatory requirements.

As well as being an integral part of compliance and regulatory requirements, audits are essential for assessing the success of processes, products, and systems whether existing or newly implemented. In addition to highlighting examples of good practice and ultimately facilitating continual improvement.

The role of the Auditor – An auditor can either be an employee who understands but is not directly involved in the process, product, or system being audited, or somebody from outside the organization who understands the business and industry standards. In essence, they are the individual (or individuals) who perform the audit on behalf of an organization, customer, or supplier.

LAW professionals who conduct these audits are qualified to CQI & IRCA Certified ISO 9001:2015 standards. Audits and assessments are also an essential part of achieving ISO 9001 certification if that is the longer-term goal of an organisation.

The quality audit process consists of:

  • Determining the audit scope – It is important to establish the criteria and scope of an audit—The criteria should focus on risk areas in the business or process lifecycle and remain consistent over time wherever possible.
  • Planning and preparation – Some preparation is required ahead of an audit. Together with the auditor, the organization can establish the format of the audit, ensuring it aligns with its objectives and that all employees have time to prepare.
  • Audit execution – Consists of various activities including informal discussions with interested parties, on-site audit management, assessing process and system controls, and regular communication with all relevant people within the organization.
  • Reporting – The audit report outlines the results of an auditor’s findings, providing accurate data to management along with recommendations on any ‘corrective actions’ that need to be taken. It should also enable an organization to effectively track quality and performance over time, identify areas for improvement, and highlight any successes or achievements.
  • Follow up action – Any areas of ‘non-compliance’ uncovered with industry or company standards; action may be required on the findings, which will be supported with effective and practical assistance to resolve any areas of concern, including review of quality templates & forms, policies, process, and plans.
  • The cost for a Quality Management System Audit, aligned to ISO 9001:2015 – conducted over two full days, including report preparation, write up and delivery is £2,178.00 – with a promotional 25% discount for audits conducted in January 2023.
  • In consultation with the client, ongoing service requirements can be agreed to include guidance on Quality Improvement (QI), using a systematic approach involving specific methods and tools to continuously improve quality in the organisation; at either standard hourly rate, fixed fee (reduced rates) or rolling contract, subject to client requirements, goals, and objectives.

To find out more about quality management system audits and how they can benefit your business, please contact Eddie Palmer at eddie.palmer@lawatworkci.com or give us a call on 01534 887088 to discuss your circumstances.

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