By implementing a renowned quality management system such as ISO 9001, businesses can improve the reputation of their companies, attracting both new business and the best talent

Why is quality management more important in manufacturing than ever before? Claire Price, from QMS International, explains...

sectors, but after the turmoil of COVID-19 they have become even more crucial. Many businesses within these sectors had


to temporarily down tools; at the height of lockdown, the Engineering Insights Dashboard from Engineering UK revealed that nearly a quarter (24%) of engineering businesses paused their work. This means that many businesses have faced, or are now facing, the reality of re-starting production on machinery that has been out of use with workforces that may still be limited due to social distancing. Supply chains have also been badly

damaged. According to Engineering UK, one- fifth of engineering businesses who normally export and import products have ceased to do so. This means that many businesses are having to establish new supply chains, which are struggling with demand. This has resulted in higher prices and longer delivery times. Temporary closures and supply issues are

also affecting contractors for both sectors. A backlog of work means contractors are stretched thin and projects are suffering with ongoing delays. These issues are being compounded by a recent uptick in activity. According to the latest HIS Markit/CIPS

Purchasing Managers’ Index for April 2021, the UK’s manufacturing activity grew at its fastest rate since 1994, when the index hit a

uality and consistency have always been benchmarks of good business in the manufacturing and engineering

record high. The results of the latest Manufacturing

Barometer carried out by SWMAS and the MGP also shows that two-thirds of SME manufacturers expect to increase sales between now and October, while 48% of respondents believe that they will return to, or even exceed, their pre-COVID position within the next three months. With supply chains under pressure, the cost

of materials rising, ongoing COVID restrictions in the workplace and a desperate need for more trained staff, ensuring that quality and consistency is maintained is even more important – and even more difficult. This means manufacturers and engineering companies need the right processes in place to ensure they get it right first time, every time. These processes can ensure a business’s

output remains at a consistent quality, that their suppliers are carefully chosen based on suitability and availability, and that the most talented candidates are attracted to their company to work. It can even put businesses in the right place to explore new markets and attract new business in the post-COVID world. One way of ensuring that quality is

maintained throughout the business, in every operation, is by implementing a quality management system such as ISO 9001. Quality management systems create a

robust framework of processes for leadership, planning, support, operation, and monitoring


and improvement to maintain and develop quality and customer satisfaction. This helps businesses to: • Reduce errors • Improve customer retention • Increase efficiency for lower costs • Improve supplier relations • Create a more factual approach to

decision-making • Boost employee morale The management system can also help to

keep your staff safe in a COVID-secure workplace. One of ISO 9001’s requirements focuses on the environment for operations in order to keep your staff safe and productive. Quality management systems also develop

risk-based thinking, which can help businesses to cope with uncertainty – something that has become increasingly important in the wake of the pandemic. ISO 9001’s Plan, Do, Check, Act Cycle can help manufacturers identify risks, develop strategies to deal with them, monitor and evaluate the results, and create improvements for even stronger performance. During the pandemic, Efinity Labs

recognised the importance of implementing best practice processes to produce quality products and enter the new market of alcohol sanitiser. They therefore went on to implement ISO 9001. By doing this, they have gained traction in other previously unexplored markets, such as the cosmetics sector. The Efinity Labs’ operations director said: “All the new markets we are looking at will ensure that we will be busy.” Indeed, the company estimates that their new business will increase their turnover by three or four-fold.

QMS International

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