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The Impact of the Quality Management System on Supply Chain Management and Sustainability

In current environment of substantial economic recession triggered by the COVID-19, the agility and ...

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Posted by Leticia Hermoso on Jul 6, 2020 9:05:00 AM
Leticia Hermoso
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In current environment of substantial economic recession triggered by the COVID-19, the agility and speed of response of the supply chain to meet the customer needs became of outmost importance. To remain competitive, the supply chain must continue developing the integration of its business functions ensuring that “right- first-time” manufacturing operations are able to ship products just in time according to fluctuating and increasing supply demands. This “new normal” required-response leaves absolutely no-room for quality issues blocking the release of goods to the trade, the robustness of a Quality Management system perfectly integrated to the Supply Chain Management has been identified as key to success.


Evolution of Traditional Quality Systems

For several decades, the Quality Management system (TQM) was focussed on intraorganizational objectives which although linked in most of the cases to the business needs, have kept them working on “silos” and not fully integrated to the supply chain. Although traditional quality management practices are still required and will continue to do so, it is especially important to identify the common ground to develop a more interorganisational and integrated structure, hence Supply Chain Quality Management is a more appropriate approach to support current environment.


Supply Chain Quality Management ( SCQM ) as described by Foster, 2008 and  Robinson & Malhotra, 2005,  is a systems-based approach which seeks to integrate the different supply chain partners , including Quality as a function, closing inter-functional gaps, leveraging functional opportunities on an end-to-end basis whilst creating value, meeting every customer needs and delivering consumer satisfaction .

This integrated approach requires though, a thorough understanding and alignment to the business goals to be able to identify the areas of opportunity / common ground.

Developing Internal and External Collaborative relationships

One of the most important achievements of the Integrated Supply chain management is the ability to integrate its key partners. Suppliers, Manufacturing Operations ( including Quality ) , External Contract Manufacturers, Distributors and Retailers, all perfectly aligned with one single objective in common, to deliver the goods up to the customer/consumer with the right expectation (Quality) , at the right cost (Value) and at the right time (Service) .

The sooner all partners work in synchrony towards achieving the same objective the better and faster response to the supply demands.

The Quality function plays an important role developing positive and collaborative relationships with Material Suppliers, Internal and External Manufacturers and Distributors, ensuring all company’s processes, specifications and standards are strictly followed ensuring a flawless process through the supply chain.

Quality management, supply chain management and sustainability integration.

One of the roles of the Quality function as a key e2e contributor to the Integrated Supply Chain is to support the R&D organisation develop and validate meaningful-to-the-consumer specifications and standards. This effort will establish a very solid foundation to a synchronised supply chain. It will also facilitate the transition of those standards to the suppliers, manufacturing operations, either internal or external, in what we can call a validated TT&T – Technical Training and Transference process. These efforts shall be performed under a solid and mature Quality Systems and Tools Management.

Whilst this integrated Supply Chain Quality Management (SCQM) is still being developed and materialised in most of the sectors of the industry, we cannot leave aside an emerging need for incorporating a sustainable source of materials and developing a sustainable operation all along the e2e supply chain for a Sustainable Supply Chain Quality Management (SSCQM). The incorporation of sustainability into the SCQM has important ecological, social, and even financial implications which need to be incorporated at early stages of the short- and long-term company objectives and strategies.


There is a proven benefit on developing an integrated Supply Chain Quality Management with direct, positive impact on inventory levels, value creation, service and customer and consumer satisfaction.

Quality is a key contributor on developing strong and collaborative internal and external partner relationships.

Sustainability needs to be incorporated into the Supply Chain Management for a Sustainable Supply Chain Quality Management.

Has your organisation moved into a Sustainable Supply Chain Quality Management ?


Leticia Hermoso

Prophetic Technology

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