What is a Quality Management System (QMS)?

Saro Loucks
Saro Loucks

Last updated: February 26, 2024

Managing product quality is challenging in the rapidly changing and highly regulated food and beverage industry. Here comes the QMS to facilitate and boost quality management. But what is a quality management system? Let’s answer this question.

In this blog, we will discuss the meaning of QMS, its benefits, how it works, how you can implement it, and other essential details.

What is a QMS?

QMS stands for Quality Management System, and it is an established framework to document various processes and procedures to ensure product quality and compliance with regulatory standards. In other words, it helps boost quality management in your company. 

Quality Management System in the food and beverage business is as crucial as in life sciences, where it’s widely used. Incorporated quality management system helps food and beverage companies achieve their business and production goals and enhance communication, productivity, and product quality.

Benefits of using a Quality Management System

Needless to say, QMS has more benefits for the food and drink industry than drawbacks. Let’s briefly review them and see how quality management systems can positively impact your business.

  • Quality and compliance. First and foremost, implementing a quality management system has one significant benefit: it helps achieve food product quality, safety, and regulatory compliance faster and easier. 
  • Streamlined manufacturing process. Obviously, with a quality management system, you will boost the manufacturing process as it will become more structured, controlled, and efficient. Overall, you will guarantee more operational efficiency.
  • Continuous improvement is another advantage, as it will be easier to encourage it through regular audits, reviews, and feedback.
  • Cost reduction.  A Quality Management System allows you to save money. You will minimize the risks of recalls and related costs and reduce waste, rework, and anything else that impacts spending.
  • Brand reputation and leadership. It will make you a stronger competitor on the market, and you will win the trust of your customers, so they will be even more eager to continue buying your products. 

Types of Quality Management Systems for the Food and Beverage Industry

Let’s see which quality management system standards apply to the food and beverage industry.

  • ISO 9001. This is the most widespread and universal standard presented by the International Standards Organization. The standard establishes the requirements for quality management systems in different industries. It describes building quality management systems and designing and testing products.
  • ISO 22000. The standard covers food safety and traceability throughout the supply chain worldwide. It has several sections that cover different areas of food safety.
  • Six Sigma. Six Sigma methodology is used in the food and beverage industry to increase quality and effectiveness and minimize defects. It helps food and beverage companies comply with regulations, mitigate food contamination sources, improve customer satisfaction, etc.
  • CMMI. Capability Maturity Model Integration is a framework with five maturity levels describing a company’s quality capabilities.

These standards are widely used in the food and beverage industry, and with one of them, you can guarantee quality and constantly improve your business and product.

Key elements of a Quality Management System

You won’t find two identical quality management systems, as each has to be configured according to a company’s goals and needs. However, there are established components that are core to any QMS. Once you have them, you can add other elements.

Here are the critical facets of a quality management system:

  • Quality Policy and Objectives – clearly describe what QMS means to your business and what priorities and strategic goals you have. 
  • Quality Manual – describe the QMS scope, requirements, structure, and any other significant aspects to consider.
  • Described Instructions and Procedures they must be clearly communicated to personnel.
  • Data Management – organize information to make data-driven decisions.
  • Document Control and Management– all the documents must be controlled, updated, and organized.
  • Customer Satisfaction with Product Quality – this is what you must achieve with a successful QMS.
  • Improvement Strategies – QMS has to run smoothly, as well as enable the company to improve consistently.
  • Quality Instruments – control and maintain the tools needed to measure quality.
  • Processes – describe and document any required standardized processes 

Once you have implemented these, you can tailor the QMS based on your business, objectives, and preferred ways of quality improvement.

QMS Principles

Apart from QMS elements, ISO 9001 includes principles applicable to any industry and company of any size. Here they are:

  • Customer Focus – consider customers’ needs, opinions, and feedback and react to it.
  • Leadership – correct guidance is pivotal in successful quality management.
  • People Engagement – involve employees or suppliers and familiarize them with the quality standards you follow.
  • Process Approach – streamline the processes to keep the workflow steady and smooth to ensure consistent quality.
  • Continuous Improvement – systematically enhance overall performance by identifying areas for improvement and incorporating the changes.
  • Evidence-based Decision Making – analyze the information and always make data-driven decisions.
  • Relationship Management – communicate and collaborate with people throughout the whole supply chain.

These values play a pivotal role in any QMS, and you must accept and follow them to ensure proper QMS realization.

When and how to implement a QMS?

Building and implementing a quality management system is a complex procedure requiring different steps.

You know there are key components of the QMS, but remember that you need to customize the program.

First, you must analyze your business, its objectives, size, etc. This is required to make the system efficient and successful.

Once you have completed this step, you can create your QMS. You develop the system’s structure and processes. Make sure, you follow the QMS principles and include its major elements.

Launch the system. Once it’s built, deploy a QMS and monitor the performance.

That wasn’t the final step. Probably, there’s no final step at all. You need to constantly monitor, review, and improve your QMS to keep it practical and up-to-date.

Overall, QMS implementation needs a complex approach. You can feel perplexed about developing and maintaining it and think about how to facilitate the process. But are there any ways to simplify QMS implementation and running? Sure, there are.

You can use the help of QMS software.

Discover FoodReady QMS Software

Using digital software to successfully work with quality management systems is always better.

FoodReady Quality Management System software is a digital solution for effective quality management. It will help you streamline and enhance the implementation and management of QMS.

FoodReady will provide a centralized platform for robust quality and food safety management, document control, supplier management, etc. It’s way better than confusing paperwork, multiple databases, and tools. 

Imagine having a single platform that will guide you through the operations, and you will feel confident because your processes are organized and accessible in one app.

Digitize your quality management system and get professional help with FoodReady QMS software. Contact us or start your free trial now. No credit card is needed!

QMS Summary

The quality management system is a framework to ensure product quality, safety, and customer satisfaction. Quality management system is a complex notion that requires a comprehensive approach.

If you are a food manufacturer, distributor, processor, or anyone who deals with food, you will need a QMS for your business.

Dealing with quality management systems demands effort, but it’s definitely worth it as you gain a lot of privileges with it, from enhanced food quality to streamlined business development.

To build and implement a QMS, consider its elements and principles, your business objectives and vision. It’s a challenge, but you can make it easier with the quality management software.

FoodReady can be tailored according to your quality management goals. Check out our features and book a demo to learn even more!

FAQs

Risk management helps identify, assess, and mitigate potential food safety and quality risks. A risk-based approach enables food and beverage companies to predict and prevent any issue from influencing product quality.
Trained employees significantly contribute to the effectiveness of a QMS. They must be well aware of quality standards, food safety protocols, and regulatory requirements.
You can measure effectiveness by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) like customer satisfaction, regulation compliance, and the successful CAPA resolution. In addition, it’s also effective to run surveys and conduct audits and reviews to monitor the results.
There can be obstacles like the complexity of supply chain management, rapidly changing industry regulations, or lack of continuous improvement. To run the QMS effectively, the company has to overcome the challenges that arise.

In this article

Saro Loucks

Saro Loucks

HACCP Certified, food safety enthusiast.

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