Quality Management Dos and Don’ts – Don’t be Guilty of Being in the Red
When it comes to Quality Management dos and don’ts, simpleQuE’s quality experts provide some tips for staying out of the red and keeping ISO 9001 systems robust and sustainable.
1. Meet Customer Requirements
Surprisingly, some companies seek ISO 9001 certification just to satisfy one customer requirement. When a customer will only do business with vendors that are ISO 9001 certified – companies are incentivised to become certified in order to get (or keep) the business. The problem with that approach is that those companies are only looking looking at the short-term payoff and an end to the journey with a certificate. They see only that one benefit, and ignore the long-term benefits a robust quality management system will provide, like:
- Less firefighting;
- Fewer repeat problems when you perform better root cause analysis and systemic corrective actions;
- Increased performance because you’re monitoring trends against goals;
- More efficient and effective business processes;
- Less scrap, rework, rejects, warranty; and
- Increase customer satisfaction leading to more business opportunities.
Some organizations don’t embrace the concept of quality linked with the business systems and tied into the strategic direction of the company, to drive continual improvement and continued customer satisfaction. In other words, they haven’t bought into the program or the true intent of the standard. Focusing only on that one benefit — your immediate gain — without putting the customer in front will end up costing you much more in the long run.
2. Increase Revenue and Business from New Customers
Once you earn your ISO 9001 certification, you can advertise your quality certification and respond to Requests for Quotes (RFQ) from companies that make ISO 9001 certification a “must-have”. ISO 9001 certification can open up new markets you were virtually unable to do business with before your certification.
Yet, companies are not advertising their ISO certification enough, costing them potential business. Transition or implementation of a new standard is the perfect time to share that the company has achieved this important recognition with your potential customers, current customers, and stakeholders. Consider a link to a copy of your ISO certificate right on your website.
3. Improve Company and Product Quality
A quality management system standard is all about quality so, of course, one result of adopting a QMS should be an improved level of quality for the entire organization — every process, and every product. Organizations should use the ISO series of standards to develop a QMS that is integrated into the way they do business, and assist in achieving their strategic business objectives – adding value.
Unfortunately, some organizations may have missed the mark and created a bureaucratic set of procedures and records that don’t reflect the reality of the way the organization actually works and simply add unnecessary costs, without adding value. When the business system is the same as the quality system processes, the value of ISO and certification become more logical and value-added for the business.
4. Describe, Understand, and Communicate Your Company Processes
The ISO 9001 QMS standard requires that you identify and describe your processes using business metrics, the purpose of which is to better manage and control your business processes. Quality objectives or your business process goals form the center of your system. Metrics are used to understand and communicate your system’s performance and trends relative to your quality objectives. The level of monitoring, measurement and improvement of each process will depend on the organization’s context, strategic intent and determined risks and opportunities.
Companies may identify too many processes. So it is important to understand the differences between a process, a procedure and an activity. We recommend less than 10 core processes, and fewer is commonly better. Looking at your business from a 50,000 foot view to understand the high level business processes needed to deliver the products or services you provide your customers are the core processes ISO wants you to define. Everything from sales, to new product development, to production planning, to production or providing a service, and finally delivery are the processes to identify for your business. A flow diagram is most commonly used with the linkages and interactions between each. Each of these core processes needs to have at least one objective that is measured to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of that process. Problems can also occur when companies don’t have set metrics on which to evaluate processes and manage the control of their business processes.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has created a useful whitepaper to explain the Process Approach. Contact simpleQuE to see how our consultants can assist your company with these problems or other areas of concern.
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