e-Qualifácil: Preparing Small Businesses for a Quality Management System

Abstract More than 95 percent of all the businesses around the globe are small- and medium-sized (International Organization for Standardization [ISO], 2016). However, the limited resources of small businesses represent a difficulty in implementing a quality management system (QMS) complied with ISO 9001:2015, which is many times demanded by the supply chain of these companies. The object of this research was to develop an artifact, named e-Qualifácil, to access the current stage of the small business’ QMS. Using the Design Science Research method, the artifact was built considering the seven guidelines of the Design Science and the five phases of research applied to development cycles of artifacts. e-Qualifácil was tested in three small businesses of discrete manufacturing. For each business, the artifact generated a prioritized list of activities that together represent an action plan for the adequacy of business’ process to the requirements of the ISO 9001 standard. In addition, the application process of the artifact pointed out the lack of leadership in planning, formalization and control of quality processes, and technical processes in general. Design Science Research showed up as a good option to include rigor in organizational interventions and a practical tool to strengthening knowledge dissemination.