What is a quality management system?

Keen to carry on meeting (or even exceeding!) the expectations of your customers? Why not consider improving or investing in your own quality management system (also referred to in its abbreviated term as a QMS) to ensure you continue to provide high-quality products and services?

With a helping hand from ISO 9001 (the internationally recognised standard for quality management that sets out the key requirements of a QMS), you could increase your efficiency, address risks to your business, and even boost your profits! For more tailored support and advice, we recommend reaching out to a quality management consultant like us.

Here at Candy Management Consultants, we’ve helped all our clients to achieve their ISO 9001 certification by providing expert ISO 9001 guidance. Below, we explore quality management systems in more detail, including the different types of QMS available, and the various businesses that stand to benefit the most from a QMS. Could you be one of them?

What is a quality management system?

A quality management system is a formalised way of documenting all the procedures, responsibilities, processes, functions, and policies that a business implements to achieve its quality targets. Crucially, a QMS is used to help businesses to improve or maintain the quality of their products and/or services.

The most effective quality management systems are designed to promote internal audits and diagnose any issues that can be remedied with the introduction of corrective and preventive actions. While a QMS will also help businesses to react to any problems (should they occur), its primary function is to prevent these issues from occurring in the first place.

What are the four types of quality management systems?

There are many different types of quality management system, each with their own benefits and disadvantages. To help you discover which type of quality management system is right for your business, we explore the four most common quality management systems in more detail below.

Standardised quality management systems

Standardised quality management systems are built upon established standards and regulations. The ISO 9001 standard is a great example of a standardised quality management system because a business must satisfy the criteria before it can achieve ISO 9001 certification. While ISO certification is often voluntary and not a legal requirement for the majority of businesses in the UK, there are some sectors where ISO certification may be legally or contractually required.

Total quality management systems

A total quality management system (also referred to as a TQM) is a long-term customer-focused approach that involves all employees striving for continual improvement. This quality management framework is designed to improve customer loyalty and satisfaction using a combination of controls and measures that target organisation-wide improvement.

Continuous quality improvement systems

A continuous quality improvement system (also known as a CQI), is very similar to a total quality management system, as it aims to maintain quality through progressive continual incremental improvements. Both teams and individuals will be required to help uphold the quality if their products/services. Often, these systems use the four-step quality model, the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model to help employees implement this system.

Six Sigma quality management systems

You may have heard of the term ‘Six Sigma quality’ being used to describe a process that is well-controlled. This is because a Six Sigma quality management system uses a methodical, data-led approach to achieve the best quality products/service. This system’s tools and methods ensure any changes that are made to the business’ processes can be easily measured and analysed, allowing their procedures to be improved and controlled where necessary.

Which quality management system is right for your business?

Having read through the four most common quality management systems above, you’re probably wondering which is best. However, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Often, the right QMS for your business will depend on your company’s QMS objectives. For example, you may want to focus on improving customer satisfaction or you may decide that your QMS should be targeted towards maintaining the quality of your products.

Whichever QMS goals you decide to focus on will naturally inform which quality management system is the best choice for your business. Similarly, you’ll also need to consider any practical limitations, such as your budget or the way that your business currently operates, that might affect the type of QMS that you can feasibly maintain.

Who needs a quality management system?

Put simply, every business could stand to benefit from implementing a QMS. However, there are some common industries that use quality management systems, such as the construction, engineering, manufacturing, technology services, hospitality, and healthcare businesses. Below, we explore how a QMS can benefit each one of these core industries in more detail.


Due to the complex nature of the construction sector and the various parties that construction companies need to work alongside, the construction industry has plenty of health and safety regulations to contend with. To help constructors make the right supplier and sub-contractor decisions, ISO 9001 accreditation or any other kind of QMS certification can highlight which companies take quality and safety as seriously as they do.

In terms of the benefits of adopting a QMS for a construction company, there are plenty. First and foremost, an effective QMS will help to predict any issues with a project before the business has committed to a set figure or timeframe for the work. This ensures the company doesn’t incur any unforeseen additional costs and can maintain high levels of customer satisfaction by producing work on time.


Known for working on everything from the design of roads and buildings to land and even vehicles, it’s crucial that any engineering company is seen as reliable and as an industry expert by their customers. This is where a QMS or ISO 9001 certificate can help them to stand out from the crowd by building trust and a reputation as a knowledgeable and skillful business.

To help spot and reduce potential hazards early on in the process, a QMS is vital. Once these issues have been identified, efforts can be made to prevent them from occurring and reduce the likelihood of mistakes cropping up later down the line. Quality assurance, customer satisfaction, and client trust are just some of the fantastic benefits that engineering firms could stand to benefit from by introducing a QMS.


Within the manufacturing industry, quality control is a vital part of product production. It’s for this reason that many manufacturing companies will voluntarily choose to introduce a QMS and obtain certification, like the ISO 9001 standard certification. ISO 9001 is actually one of the most recognised management standards in the manufacturing industry as it helps to reduce and mitigate risks which ultimately reduces costs.

By way of illustrating, without the help of a QMS, a certain manufacturing process with an unidentified issue may cause product defects. Without the right quality control procedures in place, these faulty products may go unnoticed, creating a stockpile of products that cannot be sold, require replacement parts, or even need to be recalled. This is an incredibly expensive process that affects profitability.

Technology services

If you’ve ever forgotten to back up your computer and have been subject to a virus or scam that’s damaged or lost your data, you’ll know exactly why technology services need to invest in a quality management system. A QMS can help technology businesses to create a reliable disaster recovery plan while simultaneously providing their customers with sought-after reassurance.

Adopting a QMS from one of the standardised quality management systems can also support smaller technology firms that want to expand their services to the global market. This system ensures these tech-based businesses meet the international standards for their industry, allowing them to make plans to do business with customers across the world.


Customer-facing industries, like those within the hospitality sector, must provide exceptional customer service in order to remain competitive. As quality management systems are designed to improve the customer experience, it makes sense that hotels and restaurants would adopt a QMS. A QMS will help to streamline and improve the services they have on offer, creating a more enjoyable customer experience and ultimately, increasing customer satisfaction, too!

Quality management systems like the continuous quality improvement system are particularly prevalent within these industries as it focuses on helping teams and individuals to improve the quality of their service. From the daily running of the place to any emergency procedures and legal processes, a solid QMS can make all these hospitality operations run smoothly and more efficiently.


Within the healthcare industry, quality management systems are designed to help reduce, or even eliminate completely, harm to patient care and outcomes. Ideal for minimising medical errors and ensuring resources are distributed efficiently, a QMS covers a wide range of areas including the administration, policies, and procedures of the healthcare provider.

The ultimate aim of introducing a QMS into a healthcare environment is to provide better quality care for the patients. However, quality management systems can also help healthcare providers to save money by improving their cost-effectiveness. This approach can help to create more funds for essential healthcare equipment, the latest treatments, qualified staff, and even training – all of which can significantly improve the quality of patient care.

Why do you need a quality management system?

While there are certain industries that stand to benefit significantly from introducing a QMS, it’s well worth bearing in mind that it really doesn’t matter what industry you are in. As a QMS is designed to improve processes and not just products, it can be a useful tool for everything from Government facilities and schools to restaurants and much more.

Have you noticed a slip in standards lately? Or maybe you’ve received more customer complaints in recent months. Regardless of whether you’re struggling to maintain quality across your business or need a helping hand reaching those higher standards or even taking your products/services to the international market, implementing an effective QMS could be the key to your success.

Contact Candy Management Consultants

Have you been struggling to improve or effectively implement your QMS? For a helping hand from experienced and highly knowledgeable quality management consultants, look no further than Candy management Consultants. With a 100% success rate to date and a team of consultants with at least ten years of experience in the ISO and health and safety industries, you can rest assured that you’ll be in safe hands.

Alongside being dedicated to getting your business your ISO 9001 certification, we’re just as dedicated to delivering unmatched customer service. To achieve this, we ensure the timeframes and prices of all our services are transparent and easy to understand. We use a combination of set day rates and payment plans to keep our service affordable and maintain customer satisfaction. To find out more about how our quality management consultants can support the growth of your business, please feel free to reach out to our team. You can either give us a call on 0161 470 7929, email us at info@candymc.co.uk, or fill out our handy online contact form. Once we’ve received your enquiry, we’ll make sure a friendly and knowledgeable member of our team gets in touch shortly to find out more about your QMS requirements

Scroll to Top