ISO 9001 – Quality Management System is an international standard that contains requirements for a quality management system in a business organization that an organization must fulfill in order to harmonize its operations with internationally recognized standards. The quality system is a management system, which leads to the achievement of set goals in terms of quality of business and service provision. This system consists of the organizational structure, the responsibility of the entity in the organization, the processes and resources needed to manage the system. This standard is part of the most famous series of ISO 9000 standards, which besides it also contains standards:
- ISO 9000: 2015 – Fundamentals and Vocabulary: represents the concept of management system as well as the terminology used;
- ISO 9004: 2009 – Management with the goal of achieving sustainable organization success – Access through quality management.
- ISO 19011: 2011 – manual for verifying the management system
ISO 9001 is underpinned by the 8 Principles of Quality Management. They’ve been the guiding principles for the most popular quality standard; ISO 9001. But they’re also useful resources for any management professionals who want to implement or improve their existing quality management programme.
PRINCIPLE 1: CUSTOMER FOCUS
Just as you’d expect, customer focus is the first principle: just where it should be. It covers both customer needs and customer service. It stresses that a business should understand their customers, what they need and when, whilst trying to meet, but preferably exceed customers’ expectations.
As a result, customer loyalty increases, revenue rises and waste reduces as the businesses ability to spot new customer opportunities and satisfy them improves. More effective processes result in improved customer satisfaction.
PRINCIPLE 2: LEADERSHIP
Without clear and strong leadership, a business flounders. Principle 2, is concerned with the direction of the organisation. The business should have clear goals & objectives, and its employees actively involved in achieving those targets.
The benefits are better employee engagement and increased motivation to satisfy customer needs. Research shows, if employees are kept ‘in the loop’ and understand the business vision they’ll be more productive. This principle seeks to rectify employees complaints about ‘lack of communication’.
PRINCIPLE 3: PEOPLE INVOLVEMENT
An organisation is nothing without its staff whether part-time, full-time in house or out-sourced. It’s their abilities that maximised to achieve business success.
Employee motivation and increased innovation and the benefits here. When people feel valued, they’ll work to their maximum potential and contribute ideas. Principle 3 emphasises the importance of making employees responsible and accountable for their actions.
PRINCIPLE 4: PROCESS APPROACH
The process approach is all about efficiency and effectiveness. It’s also about consistency and understanding that good processes also speeds up activities.
Great processes reduce costs, improve consistency, eliminate waste and promotes continuous improvement.
PRINCIPLE 5: SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO MANAGEMENT
ISO define this principle as:
A business focuses their efforts on the key processes as well as aligning complementary processes to get better efficiency. This means that multiple processes are managed together as a system which should lead to greater efficiency.
PRINCIPLE 6: CONTINUAL IMPROVEMENT
This principle is very straight forward: continual improvement should be an active business objective.
The benefits of this are clear: increased ability to embrace new opportunities, organisational flexibility and improved performance. Especially in difficult economic times, the businesses that thrive are those that can adapt to new market situations.
PRINCIPLE 7: FACTUAL APPROACH TO DECISION MAKING
A logical approach, based on data and analysis, is good business sense. Unfortunately, in a fast paced workplace, decisions can often be made rashly, without proper thought. The efficiency that will have been imbued in the organisation after the implementation of prior principles will allow decisions to be made with clarity.
Informed decisions lead to improved understanding of the marketplace as data is collated and analysed, and the ability to defend past decisions.
PRINCIPLE 8: MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL SUPPLIER RELATIONS
This principle deals with supply chains. It promotes the relationship between the company and its suppliers; recognising it is interdependent. A strong relationship enhances productivity and encourages seamless working practices.
The result is optimisation of costs and resources, fostering long term relationships and the ‘flexibility of joint responses to changing market or customer needs and expectations’.
ISO 9001 is suitable for all organizations that want to improve their management, regardless of the size or activity of the organization. In addition, ISO 9001 is compatible with other management system standards such as the OHSAS 18001 Health and Safety Management System and ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems. They share many principles so that it is common practice to integrate standards on an occasion implementation and certification.
Compliance with requirements of ISO 9001: 2015 will:
- Increase your customers’ satisfaction
- Inclusion of all employees and clear delegation of responsibilities at all levels
- Better use of time and work space
- Providing confidence that the desired level of quality has been achieved and maintained
- Creating opportunities for conquering new markets and increasing share in the existing market
- Improving organizational capacity and productivity
- Establishing product and process traceability
- Greater focus on achieving business goals and client expectations Implementation of the quality management system is of strategic importance to all organizations doing business on the market
- By certification of the established quality management system you ensure continuous monitoring of your processes by internationally accredited bodies that are specialized in checking and controlling standards.