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ISO 9001 – The Seven Quality Management Principles (QMP)

Customer focus is what the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System standard is all about. An effectively implemented quality management system (QMS) is the really just the starting point for realizing true high-level customer satisfaction. But, let’s take a look at some of the main requirements of the ISO 9001 standard and how they will, in-tern, if properly implemented, improve an organization reputation with their customer base.

We begin our discussion with the first of the seven quality management principles (QMP).

1. Customer focus

2. Leadership

3. Engagement of people

4. Process approach

5. Improvement

6. Evidence based decision making

7. Relationship management

1. Customer Focus

One of the primary tenants of the QMS is to understand your customers’ needs and expectations. Once you truly match your customers’ needs and expectations then customer satisfaction will naturally improve. The power of the QMS as we will see really will be derived from developing and understand some key metrics regarding customer satisfaction. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be different based on their operations, product and services. The most critical thing is to collect data so that you will be able to have eyes on any issues that could potential arise that are important to your customers perceptions of your business ability to provide value to them.

Here are some key performance indicators centered around quality:

· Cost of Poor Quality

· Scrap or waste rate

· Process efficiency metrics

· Cost of rework

· Customer Satisfaction Ratings

How do you know if your customers are really satisfied if you aren’t collecting feedback in some way? If you are using your gut and feel that your customers are satisfied, then it’s likely that you are missing something and not utilizing your QMS as intended. It is very common for our consulting clients to state that all is good with our customers – “All is good because people are ordering from us without complaints”. A lack of complaints could be due to any number of things.

2. Leadership

Leadership is vital to the success of the company and quality of services provided to customers. Establishing a collective goal for the organization to work towards is key. This will provide the team with a clear vision and support the team in their drive towards success. Those in leadership roles must ensure they are acting as positive examples and moving the team forwards through the process.

With a strong leadership team, and relevant goals, there are numerous benefits that arise. Communication within the company is improved. Those with a collective goal are working in the same direction fostering connections. There is greater efficiency. Not only is the team’s capability enhanced, but so is the quality of that being produced. Finally, it fosters an environment of positivity, trust and commitment. With those in leadership roles providing a quality environment and centering the focus of the team, the team will be driven to succeed and evolve to achieve great things.

3. Engagement of People

Engagement with your employees and the ability to continuously motivate them to strive for continuous improvement of the company is essential. Employees are an important cornerstone of the organization’s success; they are the foundation to any successful company. Those that feel supported and inspired will contribute to innovation, improved processes, and the overall excellence of the organization. This can be done through empowerment of people to reach performance goals, and recognition of people’s contribution to the organization.

Key takeaways:

Intentional Communication

Production Collaboration

Employee Empowerment

Recognition and Acknowledgement

Cohesive Organizational Goals and Targets

Cultivation of Positive Culture

4. Process Approach

The QMS believes that if we understand the process that leads to the products and services, there is a consistency in what is produced. If we are able to create an efficient and effective set of steps, then we can ensure a quality and consistent outcome each time. Ensuring proper resources and information are provided is critical to the success of the process.

It is essential to monitor the process and make improvements as necessary. This can be executed through periodic review of the most appropriate and relevant steps towards an outcome. Assessment of the risks impacting the process and products will ensure that the proper measures are taken to mitigate them. With proactive monitoring and combat against risks, you can create a process that allows a consistent, and quality product every time.

5. Improvement

Consistent review of company processes and implementation of improvements is essential to the development of a company and their results. As both internal and external factors evolve, it is important to make updates necessary to account for these changes. A company can review their processes and outputs, to determine improvements that could be made to create more efficient and quality products and services. When a company remains proactive to changes, and attentive to new risks, they can enhance not only their process effectiveness and efficiency, but also the contentment of customers.

6. Evidence-Based Decision Making

Decision making is a complex process with numerous variables that can impact the quality and outcome of the decision. One way to reduce the array of options and outcomes when making a decision, is using evidence as a guide. When choosing and reviewing data, we must ensure it consists of all information relating to the current decision at hand, and we are thorough with the data we are selecting to review. Not only do we need to ensure all data is relevant to our choice, but we need to confirm that all relevant data is included in the review. If the necessary steps are taken to ensure the data analyzed is accurate and relevant, we can use it to simplify our options, and ultimately use it to make the decision. Analyzing evidence from previous circumstances and outcomes, can instill confidence and give direction to the choices at hand.

7. Relationship Management

Relationship Management is more than just management within the organization. It also includes relationships with its partners, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Insuring there is a good understanding and relationship between the two is crucial. Making sure needs and goals are understood and the continuous improvement of quality and customer service are being met.

All those involved must be aware of desired outcomes and goals. This will create cohesion within the company, and also customers and other businesses that may be involved. With a collective understanding of information, process and objectives, a positive relationship is fostered and the foundation for future partnerships can be established.

Other related blog posts:

4 Steps to Achieving ISO 9001 Quality Management System Certification

How long does it take to get ISO 9001:2015 Certified?

ISO 9001: Quality Management System – Equipment Maintenance


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