What Does ISO9001 Help Achieve?

Companies who produce products? or deliver services that are supplied to customers, whether countrywide, or worldwide need to have standards by which they measure their products? oe services in order to ensure that quality is maintained at a level that is acceptable. Products and services need to consistently meet the requirements of the customers, and standards should be ever-improving. The ISO9001 standard addresses many important factors relating to quality management.

ISO 9001 is a guideline by which organisations can measure their quality standards. This is a standard which companies can obtain a certification in, although this is not really required. This standard can be implemented by any company, regardless of size or field of activity or industry.

This particular standard is based on various quality management principles. The focus lies predominantly on customer focus, the role of top management in motivating and implementing the standards, the actual process, as well as a need for continual improvement of standards.

By implementing the standard set out in ISO9001, companies can ensure that their customers receive consistently high standards and good products and services. By doing so, the company will reap the many business benefits on offer.

The Principles

The principles of ISO9001 are well-defined guidelines which assist any company in meeting the criteria and surpassing expectations. There are seven basic principles that should be adhered to. Customer focus, leadership, engagement of people, process of approach, improvement, evidence based decision making, and relationship management. Each of these principle carries with it benefits that are invaluable for any business.

Customer focus – The main aim of the standard is to meet and exceed customer expectations. By achieving this, your business will reap the rewards. Increased customer value, increased customer satisfaction, increased customer loyalty, enhanced repeat business, growth and enhancement of reputation of the business or organization, grow your customer base, and benefit from the increased revenue and market share.

Leadership – In order for any process to work in an organization, there needs to be direction and purpose. Good leadership will create unity, and conditions where the people involved are all motivated to achieve the company?s quality goals and objectives. A good leadership structure will ensure that there is an increased efficiency and effectiveness at achieving the quality objectives of the company, better co-ordination of the processes involved, improved communication between all levels within the business and a better understanding of the function of each, as well as increased development and improvement in the capability of the business and the staff to deliver the results that are desired.

Engagement of the people – The staff, as well as the management of an organisation are all required to work together in order to reach the desired quality standard results. An environment conducive to the enhancement of the company?s capability to produce and deliver quality and value. A company who has a staff and managment who are all geared towards the same end result will always perform more efficienctly, and reach objectives with effectiveness. Good communication will ensure that there is a better understanding of the company?s quality objectives as well as motivation to reach the goals set, a well-oiled machine headed in the same direction will ensure that involvement of all the staff to improve, each member of the team will have a desire to achieve and develop on a personal level, and trust will become a mutual factor between all members of staff regardless of designation. Team work is required to achieve the standards set out.

Process of Approach – Results will always be best achieved and with greater effectiveness and efficiency when the tasks being carried out are fully understood by all involved. Each activity needs to work together as a coherent system rather than individual tasks. Inter-related process is what the ISO 9001 quality management system is built around. By completely understanding how results can be achieved through the system is what gives the company the edge. Efforts are better directed at areas which are key to the process and where there is possibibility to improve on performance. Once implemented effectively and managed efficiently, resultscan become more easily predicted and consistent. This approach achieves best results when the objectives and goals of the process in clearly defined. Authority, responsibility and accountability for managing process must be established from the start. The necessary information required to properly operate the processes, monitor, analyse and evaluate them overall system must be readily available. Risk management is key to ISO 9001. Risks that can affect the process output and the results of the quality management system must be assessed and managed effectively.

Improvement – A company that is headed for success is one that is always focused on where improvement can be made. In order to maintain current levels of performance it is vital that a company focus on improvement at all times. Being prepared to adjust and react to change, whether internal or external, is a fundamental factor.

Evidence-based decision making – Decisions made on solid analysis and evaluation of all the information on hand are the decisions most likely to produce results that are desired by the company. This principle benefits the company in many ways and in doing so allows ISO 9001 to become the useful asset that it is meant to be. Decision making processes are improved, assessment of process information and the ability to achieve objectives is enhanced. Operation effectiveness and efficiency shows vast improvement. In order to ensure that this principle is effective the company needs to determine and monitor the performance of the company, make all the relevant data and information accessible to the relevant people and it must be accurate, reliable and secure. Suitable methods should always be used to evaluate and analyse data. Decisions and actions must be based on evidence, experience and intuition.

Relationship Management – A company must manage its relationships with all interested parties at all times in order to maintain and sustain success. Interested parties such as suppliers influence the performance of any company. Maintaining these relationships ensures that the impact of said parties on performance is optimized. The interested parties must understand the goals and values of your organization so that they can better cater to the requirements. A chain of supply that is well-managed will always provide a stable influx of goods and services.

It becomes apparent that there is far more to a successful operation than simply putting out good products or services. Each and every link in the process in imperative to success and improvement. ISO 9001 certification allows every company the opporutnity to take advantage of what is right in front of them, and reaching for the top.



Core Principles of Systems Thinking as per ISO9001

Systems Thinking is at the base of the ISO 9001 Quality Management System. A system has been defined as ?A collection of interrelated, interdependent components or processes that act in concert to turn inputs into some kind of output in pursuit of some goals. Systems influence and are influenced by their external environment?

A single process is defined as actions on inputs in a controlled manner which are transformed into outputs. The organization is a collection or system of interrelating processes which are glued by many input ?output relationships.

ISO 9001

ISO 9001 states that ?Identifying, understanding and managing interrelated processes as a system contributes to the organization?s effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its objectives.?

System thinking is opposite to the normal form of analysis. Analyze comes from the root ?to break into constituent parts? Instead of isolating smaller and smaller parts of the system being studied, in systems thinking the view is expanded to look at larger and larger interactions. It focuses on how the thing being studied interacts with other constituents of the system. A system is a set of elements that interact to produce behavior, of which it is a part. The systems thinking results in sometimes different conclusions from the traditional form of analysis.

Examples of situations in which systems thinking has proved its use are

  • Complex problems that require helping many actors see the big picture and not their part in it.
  • Recurring problems or those problems that have been made worse by past attempts.
  • Where the action influences the environment surrounding the issue.
  • Problems in which the solution is not obvious.

Systems have been organized into four categories:

  • The whole
  • The goals
  • The internal workings
  • The long term results

Once we observe and understand the relationship between the system and behavior, we can understand how the system works. What makes it deliver poor results and how to shift it into better behavior patterns? Processes that cover the organization are managed and results are the outputs or outcomes of the organization which must satisfy all stakeholders and should lead to sustained success.

Feedback is an important element of the systems thinking. In the case of a quality management system, feedback is received from interested parties like vendors, customers, regulators, employees.

External boundary of the system may be set and the interaction with outside parties noted and how it effects the organization also understood.

A quality management system is made up of three sub systems, a social, a technical and a management sub-system.

  • Social Subsystem

Requires a change in organizational culture (values, attitudes, norms and role expectations, communications (level of relationship between individual s and groups, symbols of power and reward structure) and behavioral attributes. It encapsulates customer satisfaction, respect for people, continuous improvement and management based on facts.

  • Technical Subsystem

Includes a transformation process as an interaction among inputs, resources and outputs and all the tools, techniques, machinery and quantitative aspects of quality.

  • Managerial Subsystem

Includes the framework for policies, practices, procedures and leadership in the organization. Includes the organizational structure, mission, vision, and goals of the organization as well as administrative activities like planning, directing, organizing, coordinating and controlling activities

The System approach enables the organization to meet customer requirements and achieve continual improvement by finding a cause and effect relationship in its processes and their interrelationship.