It is a known fact that failing business performance can affect your profitability and whether you will be in business tomorrow.
The mindset of Quality has proven to make internal changes that affect failing business performance. In fact, studies conducted more than eighteen years ago among companies going through Quality Systems implementation have demonstrated improvements to business performance.
The 1996 survey of 1,880 companies by Irwin Publishers (see the Dun and Bradstreet summary of this earlier ISO 9000 study) showed greater internal benefits, including greater quality awareness, positive cultural change, and increased operational efficiency/production.
Now, there are many additional benefits to be derived from ISO 9001 compliance that I would like to share with you. Are better internal communications, enhanced relations with customers and suppliers, and better quality of products and services important to you?
Think of ISO 9001 as the key to unlocking business performance (read also my post on 5 Keys to Build Quality). These five principles provided a common thread in many methods of quality and business improvement:
- A continuous improvement philosophy
- Consistency in everything you do
- Teamwork in the workplace
- Measurement and analysis of business processes
- Training and education for all
Let’s examine these Quality principles from our ISO 9001 perspective.
A continuous improvement philosophy
ISO 9001 provides a framework for continual improvement through:
- Establishing a Quality Policy and Quality objectives to demonstrate management commitment and set the direction for the organization.
- Conducting internal audits to check that the direction is being followed.
- Creating and maintaining effective Corrective and Preventive Action Systems to continue on the path to improvement.
- Conducting periodical Management Reviews to confirm the effectiveness of the system and reset the direction when necessary.
Consistency in everything you do
ISO 9001 provides the structure necessary to maintain consistency of results by:
- Establishing clear lines of responsibility, authority and communications.
- Ensuring clear understanding and communication of customer requirements.
- Requiring documentation of key processes and control of the documents used to describe these processes and control of the records generated.
- Controlling changes, such as changes in design, in processes and in documentation.
- By requiring controls on purchased products and services, as well as, internal processes.
Teamwork in the workplace
- ISO 9001 requires that everyone in the organization work to satisfy customer requirements and expectations.
- Internal communications need to be designed so that everyone understands these requirements and their role in satisfying them.
Measurement and analysis of business processes
It has been said in many ways that you can’t control what you don’t measure. ISO provides the framework for measuring and analyzing the key processes of the business.
- ISO 9001 requires that company wide Quality Goals are established and that these goals be drilled down to the department level so that all key process goals are measured and analyzed for effectiveness.
- Measuring, Monitoring and Analyzing process and product and service characteristics are required
- During the Management Review meetings the effectiveness of the Quality Management System and its components are analyzed and actions required for improvement are planned.
Training and education for all
- ISO 9001 requires that all employees that could affect the quality of the product or service be qualified and competent in the jobs they perform to prevent delivery of nonconforming products or services.
- Records of training need to be maintained.
Sharing your ISO 9001 experiences can help others understand the rationale for attaining compliance and registration.
Have you experienced any incidents where ISO certification helped you to improve your business that you would not have been able to obtain without it? Please share your experiences in the comments section.
QMA specializes in leading companies in the implementation of Quality and Safety Systems, such as, ISO 9001, AS9100, ISO13485, FDA GMPs and OSHA compliance. If you have a question or would like our assistance in your ISO 9001 implementation, contact us.