Dear all, I'd like to hear your views from knowledge or experience about the fundamental processes of a quality department in a manufacturing organization. I am looking to develop documented processes for my department. My company manufactures and sells construction materials and chemicals.
I'm disappointed that no one answered you, as I recently changed jobs and had a similar question. I attempted to find my answer through a fair bit of googling, but ultimately the answer came in, what does the company expect from me? Largely, organizational management defines what quality means and what responsibilities the quality department has. In my case, the organization doesn't have defined quality department goals, and I get the opportunity to work with management to define them.
To answer your questions more specifically, there are some key functions that likely are within the quality group: Calibration, Continual improvement (or CAPA), document management, customer returns, and warranty management.
However, in my mind, the quality department also has a much higher purpose and needs to be central to the business planning process to help translate the strategic plan into tactical plans, as well as helping to define the overall strategy for continual improvement (or capital reinvestment). The quality department should also have input into the training program both through continual improvement, and measuring the results of and improving training courses. However, your ability to be a part of these conversations depends largely on management's vision for your department.