Quality Management

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The term "quality management" can be used in several different contexts but essentially it refers to the process of ensuring a company delivers a product or service in acceptable condition at every stage of production. Quality management helps ensure that an entity, whether an entity is a manufacturing concern, or an entity involved with distribution, delivers its goods or services in a manner acceptable to the customer. It also ensures that the entity has the resources to continually perform its tasks, in a manner deemed acceptable by the customer. In essence quality management ensures that there is a positive relationship between the customer and the entity involved in the supply chain. This facilitates efficient work processes, and ultimately facilitates profits for the organization.

Quality management involves four primary elements: quality assurance, quality planning, quality control and quality evaluation. Quality assurance occurs before the development of a product or service, while quality planning assists in the development of a product or service, and once production has begun. Quality control monitors and checks that all aspects of the production process are operating in a satisfactory manner, both during initial production as well as throughout the production process. Quality evaluation involves looking for errors and faults in process or in product, determining how they can be corrected and evaluating the methods that have been or are being used to correct these faults.

Quality assurance and quality control play an integral role in the creation of quality policies. A quality policy is the blueprint that helps to guide the organization through the process of achieving a specific quality level. While quality assurance and quality management are often considered to be independent of each other, they are often dependent upon each other. A quality policy is dependent upon management assumptions, which in turn are dependent upon a number of events that occur throughout the enterprise. These assumptions can include customer demand, economic conditions, competitive issues and a variety of other factors.

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