ISO 9001 is a specification written by the International Standards Organization. It is a blueprint for establishing a Quality Management System that can help your business run efficiently.
To be efficient, such a Quality Management System must not be overly bureaucratic. It must be built via employee engagement. If employees feel that they own the system, then there is more likelihood that it will become the natural way of doing business.
The ISO standard properly implemented creates a self-perpetuating closed loop system for driving continuous improvement. It also ensures that there is traction from employee engagement and that the needs of the customer are paramount. Most importantly an ISO 9001 Quality Management System raises the calibre of quality. Raising the calibre of quality will significantly reduce the cost of failure. Terry McCann, Quality Management Systems Consultant, says that:
“The later in the process that a failure or non-conformance is found, the greater the cost of correcting that failure. Effectively implementing a Quality Management System based on ISO 9001 reduces the cost of failure either by preventing the occurrence of the defective work in the first place or by detecting it earlier in the process. “
ISO 9001 raises the level of quality in an Enterprise by:
- Ensuring the documentation of business processes in a controlled manner and that those methods are subject to scheduled reviews.
- Ensuring the auditing of business processes to check process effectiveness and look for continual improvement opportunities.
- Ensuring the sustainment of continuous improvement initiatives by incorporating those changes into the Quality Management System.
- Providing opportunities for employees to put forward suggestions for preventive actions and improvements using a closed loop controlled manner.
- Locking in the minimum quality standards necessary for continuous improvement to occur.
- Ensuring that the Enterprise is squarely focussed on the needs of the customer.
- Ensuring that the investigation of process failures and corrective actions promptly put into place.
- Ensuring that the changing of business processes to reflect the findings of corrective action investigations and the scheduled reviews of corrective actions to gauge if the changes have been effective.
Other key benefits of using an ISO 9001 based Quality Management System include:
- Managers and Team Leaders are not wasting time explaining to employees how to do things. This is because there are detailed procedures and work instructions available for employees to follow.
- The review of Key Performance Indicators on a regular basis by Senior Management. Business decisions are data driven.
- Your ISO Quality Management system can be accredited by an independent third party. This accreditation can be used for marketing purposes.
An efficient an ISO 9001 Quality Management System is your foundation stone for building business continuity and resilience. From ISO 9001, you can branch into ISO 9004 and begin your journey towards establishing a Lean Enterprise. Your ISO 9001 Quality Management System will absorb all the continuous improvement gains attained through the use of Lean Six Sigma tools.
An ISO 9001 Quality Management System is well worth the initial establishment investment as the system improves over time the benefits gained offset the system maintenance costs.
No system can make an Enterprise immune from the sometimes catastrophic rogue waves of the business cycle, but an Enterprise that is resilient and customer focussed will have a better chance of remaining afloat.
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