Quality management system (QMS) is a formalized system that documents processes, procedures, and responsibilities for achieving quality policies and objectives. A QMS helps coordinate and direct an organization’s activities to meet customer and regulatory requirements and improve its effectiveness and efficiency on a continuous basis.
Eventually, best practices for controlling product and process outcomes were established and documented. These documented best practices turned into standard practices for quality management systems.
Quality became increasingly important during World War II, for example, when bullets made in one state had to work with rifles made in another. The armed forces initially inspected virtually every unit of product. To simplify the process without sacrificing safety, the military began to use quality techniques of sampling for inspection, aided by the publication of military-specification standards and training courses in Walter Shewhart’s statistical process control techniques.
The importance of quality only grew after the war. The Japanese enjoyed a quality revolution, improving their reputation for shoddy exports by fully embracing the input of American thinkers like Joseph M. Juran and W. Edwards Deming and shifting focus from inspection to improving all organization processes through the people who used them. By the 1970s the U.S. industrial sectors such as electronics and automobiles had been broadsided by Japan’s high-quality competition.