An ISO 9001 implementation (Quality management systems – requirements) is not really possible unless one understands the eight principles behind the Standard. These are the keys to a successful Quality Management System, but more than that, to a successful Business Management Philosophy.
Here are the 8 principles:
- Customer-Focused Organisation – It is necessary for the organisation to understand that it exists to satisfy the customer. The customer’s requirements must always be the first consideration
- Leadership – A Quality Management System must be led from the top. Everyone in the business hierarchy must understand that the business is not there to pay lip service to quality. It must company policy and the chief executive must lead by example. There has to be a clear direction and focus on achievement of the objectives
- Involvement of People – Everyone in the organisation should be involved. Employees must have an understanding of how critical their QMS is to the business and the part they play in it. The best systems delegate authority to all levels and have position descriptions which clearly show an employees’ responsibility to quality. People work within a system but outcomes are improved if people work on the system
- Process Approach – For an organisation to function effectively, it must identify and manage numerous linked activities. The activities which manage the various inputs and outputs describe the business process. A business and its management must fully understand the internal processes and their interaction with customers and suppliers, i.e., take a Process Approach
- Systems Approach to Management – Identifying and understanding the business processes and their interaction allows a business to implement actions necessary to continually improve the effectiveness and efficiency of these processes. The business management system consists of numerous individual processes
- Continual Improvement – Continual improvement depends upon continual learning. A business must improve continually in order to go forward. Standing still is going backwards. The QMS must be monitored with respect to its policies and objectives and through review of data, management can ensure continual improvement
- Factual Approach to Decision Making – Effective decisions can only be made on the basis of data and information analysis. Measurement of the quality system processes will indicate whether the business is able to achieve planned results. Where planned results are not achieved, corrective action can be implemented based upon the results of the data analysed
- Mutually Beneficial Supplier Relationships – An organisation and its suppliers are interdependent and they have to work together to create value. The business must evaluate and select its suppliers based upon their ability to supply in accordance with the businesses’ requirements
If your business follows the above principles you are on the way to establishing an effective Quality Management System.
“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing.” – W Edwards Deming