ISO 9001 is an internationally recognized and adopted quality management system. Before adopting it, it is essential to have a good grasp of its basics.
To start with, a quality management system refers to the way of doing things in a company to achieve a desired outcome that aligns well with the organization’s goals. Generally, it entails people, processes, machines and several other resources that work together to realize quality standards. ISO 9001 is an international standard set for quality management systems in all industries, and especially manufacturing.
ISO 9001 enables organizations to perform quality management consistently. The end result is satisfied customers, happy employees and perpetual improvement. Customers need an assurance that the products they buy meet the best practices of quality management, and ISO 9001 offers such assurance.
Top 8 ISO 9001 Basic Principles
These principles are founded on quality management principles that companies use to make quality products consistently and offer value to their customers. The principles are founded on an array of norms, values, and rules that are embraced globally.
1. The customer is the main focus
The main objective of quality management systems is to not only to meet, but also to surpass customer expectations. You know ISO 9001 is working when you notice loyal customers are showing up for repeat business, and new customers are adding up as well. Organizations should use their ISO 9001 in planning, developing and delivering products and services that meet the quality needs of customers.
2. Leaders should lead by example
Leaders shouldn’t order or tell their employees to carry out certain duties. Instead, true leadership involves the development of work culture where everyone knows and does what they’re required to do in a united way. The best work mantra is to lead by example as it encourages employees to nurture work ethics without necessarily being prodded. Besides, leaders should improve communication and coordination systems within an organization to meet the required quality objectives.
3. Engaging employees makes them productive
People are an important asset in any organization, and when they’re engaged, they become more dependable, competent and empowered to deliver value. To engage people means to accord them the respect they deserve as individuals, recognizing their achievements, communicating with them constantly, and enhancing their professional and personal development. Besides, engaging employees creates a safe working environment.
4. Embrace the Process Approach
Leaders should make their subjects know that the individual part they play is part of several other processes that should join together to create one cohesive system. Therefore, the management, staff, processes, and machines don’t work independently. There’s need to manage their activities as interrelated processes to meet a common objective. The process approach helps to more consistent and predictable results.
5. Constant Improvement
Successful organizations focus on constant improvement. This enables them to respond to possible changes in the external and internal environments. For instance, technologies on which many processes operate evolve so fast or become obsolete. To ensure this doesn’t happen, employees at different levels should be trained on how they can apply new methodologies and technologies. In the same breath, leaders should allow improvements on new services, products and processes.
6. Back Decision making with Evidence
Decision making is complex as in entails different inputs and interpretations. The data used by decision makers should be reliable, accurate, and secure. Competent people should evaluate the data using suitable methods. Using correct data analysis and accurate facts results to better and effective decision making.
7. Develop Relationships with Relevant Partners
Fostering relationships with relevant partners is a common practice among successful organizations. Such partners can influence the way these organizations perform. The partners may include employees, investors, suppliers, customers, resellers, and the community.
8. Implement the System Approach
The system approach works in tandem with the process approach. In fact the process approach is part of the system approach. What this means is that understanding, managing, and analyzing integrated processes helps to create a coherent system that enables an organization to meet its objectives.
How ISO 9001 Adds Significant Value to an Organization
Many studies have been conducted to show how quality systems like ISO 9001 add value to companies. A guest blogger on CMTC cites one of these studies that Harvard Business School carried out to show what value ISO standards add to organizations.
The study concluded that organizations that adopt ISO standards have increased sales, provide higher wage increments than their non-adopting counterparts, and have higher rates of corporate survival. The implication here is that as the quality and sales of a company increase, that company becomes able to provide wage increases to its staff.
Most importantly, being ISO-certified eases the customers’ minds. For example, if a customer wants to manufacture new parts for their company and need to choose from several suppliers, the customer simply needs to check which of the suppliers is ISO-certified. This saves the customer the headaches of sifting through many suppliers whose management practices and production processes aren’t well known.