Quality Management Systems

With globalization, any machinery may be purchased from any­where. How is the buyer to be assured that it has the required quality,

capable of delivering the client whatever the project requires in the time set out in the terms of a mutually-agreed contract? The client needs a quality management system in which confidence may justifiably be reposed and project risks minimized.

Owner-contractor, engineering, and vendor companies in today’s business environment are multinational. A head office may be in the United States, with branch offices in the Middle East, Asia, or Europe. If current or prospective clients are to be assured of what they’re getting from an office perhaps thousands of miles from a project site, quality management issues have to be addressed so that the company’s reputation is maintained. In these circumstances, there has evolved increasing reliance and insistence on universally accepted standards as the principal objective criteria underpinning a provider’s promise to deliver the quality expected by a client. This is embodied today in the criteria developed and maintained by the International Standards Organization (ISO), a branch of the United Nations.

As recently as a generation following the end of the Second World War, however, there was no widely-accepted third party develop­ing or standing behind objective yet broadly acceptable engineer­ing quality standards criteria. Today this trend has advanced to the stage where universally-accepted specifications have been devel­oped for the building and deployment of manufacturing equip­ment and facilities of all kinds, incorporating the highest possible levels of quality assurance consistent with generally manageable levels of capital investment.

Work on these specifications began in the United Kingdom through the British Standards Institute, which had been publish­ing a number of instructions on how to achieve the BS4891 quality assurance. After some time, a number of acceptable documents were created, designed to meet the needs of the manufacturer or supplier.

Thus did the BS5750 specification begin to emerge, and was pub­lished in 1979 as a series. It provided guidance for internal quality management in a provider company as well as quality assurance of the product for clients of such a manufacturer. Soon this stan­dard came to be accepted as a benchmark throughout the United Kingdom by manufacturers, suppliers and customers. In this same period, the American National Standards Institute began working on something similar, the "ANSI 90" standard, for businesses in the United States, the British specifications are considered to be the base point for any European specifications.