Benefits of an Integrated Quality System

The first shift in the packaging department reported for work around 7 a.m.  After a brief meeting to go over the previous shift’s log, they set about the day’s work.  But when the packaging line started running, they knew there was a big problem.  

The bags were filling past their normal capacity and then tearing at the sealing station, dispersing powdered material into the air, covering the equipment.  Before they could stop the line, at least 50 bags had to be scrapped, the material discarded, and production halted for the rest of the day.


The supervisor immediately called the crew together to find the problem.  They found the bags were the wrong size, the equipment’s settings had been changed, and the warning light, which should have signaled a potential problem, was burned out.  Frustrated, the supervisor blamed the crew for the disaster and threatened to dock their pay for the cost of the materials.

This scenario, with variations, is repeated in countless businesses every day.  Things go wrong, and management takes it out on the employees.  W. Edwards Deming, referred to as the “father of quality,” believed that employees were the cause of problems only 15% of the time.  Processes—the ways the work was done—were the culprit 85% of the time.  Quality management makes managers responsible for providing employees with the resources, support and work environment to succeed. 

The packaging fiasco could be the result of many systems

  • purchasing (bags),
  • maintenance (warning light),
  • poor work instructions (equipment settings), and
  • outdated procedures (pre-shift process checklist). 

In an integrated quality management system, a team from these different areas would examine each process to find any variation from standards, take corrective action and make quality improvements. 

An integrated quality management system provides the framework to:

  1. Document, monitor and audit a business’s processes and systems to meet the company’s goals and objectives.  
  2. Identify stakeholders for process improvement teams.
  3. Establish quality standards customized to the particular business to meet and exceed customer expectations.  
  4. Save time and money by reducing down-time, rework, customer complaints, returns and excessive warranty repair costs.
  5. Offer tools for employees to take responsibility for their work processes and participate in the quality improvement process.  
  6. Create and maintain work process and procedure documentation for quality control and employee training.  
  7. Provide a central location for and access to corrective actions for tracking, data analysis and monitoring process improvement.

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