Quality management

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Quality management ( QM ) designates a function ( management ) in the economy and all organizational measures that serve to improve process quality , work quality and thus product and service quality .


In QM, the term services includes services , but goes beyond the usual term and primarily relates to internal organizational services . Quality management is a core task of management . In industries like the air - and space travel , automotive , medical , parts of the health care , the medical rehabilitation or drug - and food production one is quality management system prescribed.

Various models for standardizing quality management have been developed since around 1900 .


The economics see quality management as part of the functional area management , with the aim of the effectiveness and efficiency of work ( quality of work ) or business processes to increase. Material and time requirements must be taken into account and the quality of the product or service must be maintained or further developed.

Contents are, for example, the optimization of communication structures , professional solution strategies, maintaining or increasing the satisfaction of customers or clients as well as the motivation of the workforce, the standardization of certain action and work processes, standards for products or services, documentation , professional training , equipment and design of Workspaces.

When designing work processes in organizations , quality management should ensure that quality issues take their assigned place. Quality refers to the marketed products and services as well as to the internal processes of the organization and is defined as the extent to which the product or process under consideration meets the requirements. These requirements can be defined explicitly, but they can also be implicitly assumed (expectations).

Quality management does not necessarily lead to a higher-quality result, but aims to ensure the specified quality. The manufacturing process of a cheap product can also be subject to complete quality management. Quality certifications according to ISO say nothing about the product quality, as sometimes suggested by advertising, but only about the quality management in the manufacturing process.

Historical development

time Catchphrase description Pioneer
around 1900 Quality control Sorting out defective products Ford , Taylor
around 1930 Quality inspection Control based on statistics Walter A. Shewhart e.g. B. Control charts
around 1960 Quality measures throughout the company Preventive measures Genichi Taguchi , WE Deming
around 1964 Department of Defense Zero Defect Program Goal of perfection Philip B. Crosby
around 1985 Zero defect strategy Six Sigma General Electric , Motorola
1988 EFQM model nine holistic criteria EFQM
around 1990 comprehensive quality concept Integration of sub-concepts Ishikawa 5-Why Six-Sigma
1995 Total quality management Quality as a system goal WE Deming , Malcolm Baldrige CIP continuous improvement process

Models and Standards

There are a number of quality management standards that are used as a framework or as a mandatory specification for the establishment of a quality management system. The use of the various quality standards shows strong regional and industry-specific differences. Above all, Asian and Anglo-Saxon manufacturers, especially in industry , have introduced quality management methods .

EFQM and ISO 9001

The best-known quality management models are the EFQM model ( European Foundation for Quality Management model) and ISO 9001 , both of which overlap in terms of process orientation.

The EFQM model has a European orientation and also enables a certificate from an auditor - like that of EN ISO 9001. In contrast to ISO 9001: 2015, it is a competitive model that does not focus on the fulfillment of specifications, but on personal responsibility in the assessment aims. The central concern of the EFQM model is continuous improvement through innovation and learning in all parts of the company and in cooperation with other EFQM users. It is constantly based on the world's best implementations, so that it is never possible for a company to achieve the maximum number of points. There is therefore greater motivation for further improvements compared to ISO 9001: 2008. EFQM can be applied not only to commercial enterprises, but also to service and social institutions. The ISO 9001: 2015 revision follows the approach of the EFQM model with regard to continuous improvement and risk management on both an operational and a strategic level.

Special models

  • Newer quality standards such as IATF 16949 : 2016 are based more on the well-known and well-founded methods of the founders of the industrial quality concept ( W. Edwards Deming , Walter A. Shewhart ).
  • The CAF ( Common Assessment Framework ) model based on EFQM was developed for the public sector in Europe .
  • For organizations with development tasks (internal IT departments, car development, machine development) there is the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) as a specialized process model. Due to the specific focus on development organizations, CMMI can go into more detail on individual process aspects.
  • Statistical means are used in production to monitor the manufacturing process. Six Sigma is one of the quality strategies based on this .
  • In project management own quality management procedures are also used, see quality management in project management .
  • The QualityCertificate for Planners in Construction (“QZ Planners in Construction” is a registered word mark at the German Patent and Trademark Office) was developed especially for architecture and engineering offices in cooperation with TÜV Rheinland in 2007.
  • The strictest certifications are those of the automotive industry, such as IATF16949: 2016 or its predecessor QS-9000 and VDA 6.1.
  • Separate standards are provided in medicine and medical technology, as described under Quality Management in Medicine , as well
    • in further education,
    • in aerospace and
    • in nuclear power plants.


Many quality management models attempt to make the processes objectively assessable. There are two fundamentally different approaches:

a) Certifiable standards with defined minimum requirements for an effective quality management system , for example EN ISO 9001, which are assessed by audits .

b) Self-assessment of one's own quality management system and benchmarking between competitors for a quality award , for example the EFQM Excellence Award from the European Foundation for Quality Management (economy), the Speyer quality competition (for the public sector) or the Ludwig-Erhard-Preis , the German award after the rules of the EFQM with a high political reputation, within which the effectiveness of the competitive quality management systems are compared with each other.


It is often criticized that only externally audited and certified quality management models can withstand objective criteria, as self-assessment is often assessed in favor of one's own situation. Certificates issued by auditors, for example the three possible EFQM certificates, therefore focus on external audits instead of self-assessments.

The social scientist Bettina Warzecha takes the position that complex work processes cannot be represented by key figures: It is a myth that industrial processes can be controlled by means of quality management.

The social and economic scientist Paul Reinbacher qualifies quality management as kitsch , since it creates comfort zones in which expectations are met but no new impulses are generated. In this sense, quality management tends to be conservative rather than innovative. Even a functioning QM system does not provide any information about whether the products or services correspond to the general understanding of quality and are therefore of high quality.


Quality management is a self-referential process, which means that the procedures for improving the respective object can also be applied to the quality management process itself.


In QM as a management task are defined:

  • Quality policy
  • aims
  • Responsibilities

It is in the interest of management to provide clear descriptions, otherwise it can be held personally responsible for the damage caused by the product.

DIN EN ISO 9001 : 2015 provides for an evaluation of the quality management system to be carried out at regular intervals by top management, i.e. the management. No individual persons are evaluated, only the system. Furthermore, it is not advisable to carry out the assessment of the QMS by your own quality management representative , because a self-assessment makes little sense.

In the specifications of the standard, it is required that the assessment should take place at “regular intervals”; in practice, the assessment is carried out on an annual basis. In the assessment of the quality management system, the question is investigated whether the QMS meets current requirements in terms of performance and effectiveness or whether an adaptation according to Section 9.3.2 of the ISO standard is recommended. In terms of content, it is important to draw conclusions about customer satisfaction, or whether changes in the internal and external stakeholder groups are required for the company, as well as a summary of the services of external providers and the results of monitoring and measurements. The results of the assessment flow into the current and subsequent audit reports.

Quality management control loop

Great emphasis is placed on the continuous improvement of processes. Experiences from this flow back into the planning, so that a control circuit ( Deming circuit ) is created:

  • Quality planning - an actual state is determined and the framework conditions for quality management are specified. Then concepts and processes are developed.
  • Quality control - the results obtained in the planning phase are implemented ( QFD , FMEA ).
  • Quality assurance - evaluation of qualitative and quantitative quality information (cost-benefit considerations, checking of assumptions made).
  • Quality gain - information obtained from the previous phase is used for structural improvement measures and process optimization . Successes and results are communicated.


Individual evidence

  1. http://www.brandeins.de/archiv/2010/qualitaet/ungesunde-ordnung/ Interview with the social scientist Bettina Warzecha: Ungesundeordnung , brand eins (business magazine ) 12 . Volume 10, October 2010, pp. 120–124.
  2. Bettina Warzecha: The problem of quality management - process orientation, controllability and zero-error processes as modern myths , publishing house for planning and organization, 2009, 163 pages, ISBN 978-3-00-028012-2 .
  3. ^ Paul Reinbacher: Quality Management? Kitsch! In: The European. The debates magazine. October 12, 2015.
  4. The management evaluation in quality management. concept-pro.de, accessed on November 15, 2018 .
  5. Schmitt, Robert; Pfeifer, Tilo; Reissiger, Wolf: Quality-oriented organizational structures . In: Schmitt, Robert; Pfeifer, Tilo (Hrsg.): Masing handbook quality management . 5th edition. Hanser, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-446-40752-7 , pp. 54 .