One year anniversary of the quality management system of myStandards GmbH

One year ago, we officially introduced our quality management system and appointed Lena Stölting, responsible for Analytics & Quality Assurance, as our Quality Management Representative.

To mark the one-year anniversary of our quality management system, we are launching a series of news articles on the topic of quality management & reference materials. To kick things off, the first article is about the introduction of the system and the nomination of our quality management representative. A lot happened before our quality management system (QMS) could be presented in an online meeting on 30.04.2020 and the quality management manual could be officially released with the signature of the management.

[A] management system [is a] set of interacting elements of an organization to establish policies and objectives, and processes to achieve those objectives […] A management system can address a single discipline or several disciplines, e.g. quality management, financial management or environmental management. […] The management system elements establish the organization’s structure, roles and responsibilities, planning, operation, policies, practices, rules, beliefs, objectives and processes to achieve those objectives. […] The scope of a management system can include the whole of the organization, specific and identified functions of the organization, specific and identified sections of the organization, or one or more functions across a group of organizations. […] [A] quality management system [is] part of a management system with regard to quality.

ISO 9000:2015(E), Quality management systems – Fundamentals and vocabulary (ISO 9000:2015-09)

myStandards: Why did we, the myStandards GmbH, introduce a quality management system?

Lena Stölting: Since it was already clear at the time of foundation that the company would like to be accredited as a reference material producer, it was immediately clear that we needed a quality management system. In addition to the usual advantages that a QMS implicates, it is also a requirement of the standard for reference material producers.

What specifically are the benefits of a quality management system?

The system standardizes work processes, which leads to ensuring a consistently high quality of our products and services. In addition, a continuous improvement process is introduced, which means that we can maintain our performance level on a permanent basis, respond to changes and seize new opportunities.

Continuous improvement process, also referred to as PDCA cycle.

How did you become our quality management representative?

In addition to the management system, a central prerequisite for accreditation is also the characterization of the reference materials. For this purpose, analyses have to be planned and evaluated according to scientific standards. That is why the founders wanted to hire a scientist who has experience in the field of analytics and is also interested in dealing with standards and quality management. Since I have attended many lectures and seminars on the subject of analytics in my materials science studies and I enjoy familiarizing myself with new topics, I meet these requirements.

Did you already have prior knowledge and did you get support with the introduction of the QMS?

Unfortunately, I had no contact with the subject of quality management during my studies, but my boss, Ms. Wittke, had already worked as a quality management representative, or QMR for short, at another company. She cannot perform this task at our company due to the scope of her work. However, she was often able to help me and accompanied and supported me in setting up the system. In addition, this project was funded with an innovation assistant position.

What skills do you bring with you?

My scientific university studies trained me to think analytically, which helps me to analyze and thus understand processes and issues. This is especially true for our central process, the production of the nano pellets. I have the knowledge and technical comprehension to understand the physical processes involved. In addition, I learned how to deal with papers and other scientific texts during my studies, which helps me to deal with the ISO and other standards. Nevertheless, I attended a training course of several days to acquire the qualification of a quality management representative, and I regularly take further training with online courses.

How was the system set up?

We started by performing an actual state analysis. To do this, we systematically identified, structured and summarized the ongoing processes and, for the first time, also thought about resources, input, output and interfaces. With this information we then started to create documents, define optimal processes and introduce extensive quality assurance. Since then, the quality of our nano pellets has also been a central point in our quality policy. Most recently, our quality assurance was further optimized through innovative technology.

Our QMR, Lena Stölting, explains the scrum method to us.

What are your tasks as a quality management representative?

As QMR, I make sure that our documents are up to date, be it when there are new standard requirements or when processes in the company change. This ensures that every employee can work with the system without any problems. We check this through internal audits, which I also plan and accompany.

Are there differences to other companies?

A big advantage is the fact that we are a small, innovative team. As the QMR, I have the full support of the top management and, in contrast to what is often the case in long-established companies, all employees understand the benefits that a QMS brings and cooperate in its further development. I clearly notice this when I exchange ideas with other professional representatives at networking events.

What events in the field of quality management have you participated in so far?

I regularly take part in various networking events. Unfortunately, this is currently only possible in the form of webinars or other online events. This also includes a lecture at the University of Kiel, at which companies from the region presented their QMS. In order to share experiences with other young professionals, I attend the DGQ Youngsters meetings.

What does the future hold for our quality management system?

We are currently preparing for accreditation as a reference material producer. To this end, we also want to show the topic of quality more prominently on our homepage. The series of articles is the first step in this direction. Internally, we are in the process of integrating the QMS and its documents into our own intranet to further facilitate agility and collaboration.

The original interview was conducted in german.

More articles from our series on the quality management system:

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