Implementing an ISO System
Having an effective Quality Management System (QMS) has proven to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and lead to a more profitable organization. ISO 9001 outlines the requirements for an effective QMS for you to follow to build your own system. These requirements were identified by an international group of technical experts, and used throughout the world. By following the ISO 9001 requirements, you will build a system based on this wealth of international experience and knowledge.
The standard requires that processes that affect product and service quality are planned, and then approved by appropriate functions in your organization. How many processes in your organization have slowly evolved over time, with small changes taking place without appropriate approval? The QMS “captures” all of your processes and gets control of them by setting up a method of planning and approval, ensuring that the process is being performed correctly, consistently and that management is aware and approves of the process. Problems caused by the continual small evolutions of processes going on without planning, and without careful consideration of what effect the change has on related processes are eliminated. You start to operate under “Process Management”, which is managing your processes as a series of interconnected processes, aware of how one process affects another.
The improvement continues as you start looking for root cause for problems that arise. When a problem with a product or process arises in an organization, a “remedial action” is taken. A remedial action takes care of the immediate problem, for example getting the bad product out of the production line, or getting a customer what they need to be satisfied after a problem occurs. But then what happens with the problem. If the immediate problem is taken care of, is it back to business as usual? If you have an ISO QMS in place you will take another step, investigation and elimination of the root cause of the problem. You are no longer just eliminating the immediate problem; you are finding out why it happened and eliminating the cause. The problem will not reoccur.
More organizational improvements result from the internal audits, management review, and from measuring process performance against quality goals and objectives set by management. Your company will also learn from customer feedback, and continue to improve on meeting customer expectations.
All of these improvements lead to one very important benefit, an increased profit margin. A study conducted by researchers from UCLA results showed that U.S. publicly held companies traded on the New York Stock Exchange that receive certification under the ISO Quality Standard show significant improvement in financial performance compared to those companies that have not pursued the standard.