Core Principles of ISO Quality Management
ISO quality management is measured against the ISO 9001:2015 standard. It is the most widely accepted and used international standard, and forms part of the ISO 9000 family of standards that are related to quality management. Compliance with the standard helps organisations meet the quality and consistency requirements of their clients.
What Exactly is ISO Quality Management?
ISO 9001:2015 is the international standard for the design, setup, and maintenance of a quality management system. The standard has been implemented across all industries. With over a million companies that are already compliant in more than 168 countries, one can understand why international trading partners often only want to buy from suppliers that have implemented the ISO quality management standard.
The main purpose of the standard is to provide a framework for the implementation of a quality management system that enables the organisation to improve the consistency and quality of products and services delivered. With such, the organisation is able to develop a culture of excellence, and thereby improve its performance, reduce costs related to returned products, and ensure client satisfaction.
Main Principles of Quality Management Related to ISO 9001
Leadership plays an integral role in the success of an organisation-wide quality management system. As such, top-level management is involved from the beginning, right through to the ongoing monitoring and improvement of the quality management system.
Such a quality management system is focussed on customer satisfaction. This means that products and services must be of such a standard that it reduces and eliminates complaints, returns, and dissatisfaction with products.
Everyone in the organisation is involved in the quality management system. All employees must be trained to understand the value of an ISO quality management system. In addition, employees receive training in their particular fields of service, in order to ensure that they have the required competencies to complete their tasks with absolute confidence. Relevant employees are trained in the internal auditing processes to lead internal auditing teams. Everyone is accountable for their performance. This helps to improve performance in terms of quality throughout the organisation.
The process approach entails the documentation of implemented processes, resources, and controls. Processes are properly defined, ensuring quality principles are supported. With defined processes in place, together with guidelines about following procedures, companies provide their employees with adequate support to ensure consistency and improvement in quality.
Continual Improvement in Quality
An ISO 9001 certification is recommended, but it is not the end of the quality management process. Indeed, once certified, the organisation must maintain the QMS, which entails regular management reviews. Controls, regarding quality management and corrective actions, must be in place and documented. With ongoing improvement in quality, the company’s performance is also improved.
Decision Making Support
ISO 9001:2015 focuses on factual evidence to support decision-making. This means that all decisions must be based on the analysis of information to ensure the best results. Companies should adapt and change their quality management systems to ensure optimal evidence collection by means of measurements, tests, feedback systems, audits, regular quality inspections, and observations. Accurate and factual data must be collected and must be accessible for the decision makers.
Supplier Relationship Management
Organisations must manage their third-party relationships with sustainability in mind. This entails sharing knowledge and collaborating with organisations that have the same vision regarding quality management. As such, organisations must identify relevant suppliers and work together to improve products and services. In this regard, the scorecard system becomes important to help measure performance of suppliers and partners.
Systematic Approach to Risk
An integral part of ISO 9001 quality management is following a systematic approach to manage risks. The purpose is to bring in seamless processes to guarantee customer satisfaction with products and services. With the systematic approach, organisations develop a culture of preventative action against risk. This means that risk is managed as part of the daily business operation. Corrective action processes, in addition to preventative action processes, must be followed to reduce, manage, and eliminate risks related to quality.
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