ISO 9000 / QMS

A quality management system (QMS) is a set of policies, processes and procedures required for the design and implementation (production / development / service) of the main activity of an enterprise.  ISO 90001:2008 for example is quality management system. Some may say that in general such a system is a set of documents (which increase bureaucracy), however these documents are simply describe the system. A quality management system is nothing more than good business sense.

Can you explain to me in simple words what does a quality management system is?

It is a way, a management system  (ISO 9001, ISO22000, ISO 14001, κ.α.) with which a business defines how it works, gathers information from its activities and analyzes it in order to improve its processes and finally its profitability.

The basic elements of such systems are the following:

  • Quality policy.
  • Measurable objectives at all levels of the organization taking in consideration customers’ requirements.
  • Processes’ audits.
  • Management review (of processes, programs και information).
  • Based in all the above, business applies preventative and corrective actions aiming to continuous improvement.

What a quality management system does?

  • Identifies the “external” quality connected to commerce, customers, law and standards requirements.
  • Ensures that all requirements are documented in the proper place inside the system.
  • Confirms that all employees are having the proper training according to requirements.
  • Produces data and proofs all requirements have been met.
  • Measures, monitors  and reports the level of conformance according to business objectives.
  • Continuously monitors and analyzes changes in requirements and confirms that these changes are always according to the requirements.
  • Performs audits, makes processes analysis and correct them when necessary.
  • Includes procedures that help continuously improve the system.

What is the most important in the implementation of a system;

Management. As simple as that. Without management commitment the system is doomed to fail sooner or later. Real life experience and examples shows that the quality is never directed from the workforce towards top management. It’s the opposite instead. Quality flows from the top management towards the rest of the company.

I have a small business. Can I go for ISO certification?

Sure. Size is not a problem. What is of most importance and should be under consideration from both sides (the consultant and the top management) is the fact that the system should be tailored to better fit business’s needs while at the same time to meet the requirements of the standard.

What is ISO?

ISO is an international standard-setting body (International Organization for Standardization) composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. It was founded on 23-02-1947 and the organization promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards (e.g. ISO 9000, ISO 22000, ISO 14000 etc.). It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and as of 2013 works in 164 countries.

 

What are 'standards'?

A standard is a document giving requirements, specifications, guidelines or information that can be used with consistency in order to ensure that materials, products, procedures and services serve their purpose. To get an idea how many standards ISO has publishes you can see this list or you can check ISO’s catalogue (official page).

 

Which are the benefits of such a system eventually?

  • Increased Efficiency. Once a business is certified for Quality Management System, guidelines are put in place that can be followed easily by all your employees. Factors within the company such as trouble-shooting, transitions, and training are also dealt with easier.
  • Increased Revenue. Companies which are ISO Quality Management System certified experiences improved financial performance and increased productivity when compared to uncertified companies.
  • Better Employee Morale. There are some factors in your company that plays a role in motivating and satisfying your staff. These include accountability of management, having clearly defined roles and responsibilities, establishing training systems, as well as painting a clear picture of how their roles not only affect the quality, but also the overall success of the company.
  • Achieve International Recognition. ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) is recognised worldwide as the authority on quality management.
  • Factual Approach to Decision Making. The ISO 9001: 2000 Quality Management System standard comes with a set of clear instructions regarding process reviews and audits. These instructions facilitate decision making and information gathering based on the data.
  • Improves Supplier Relationships. One of the key attractions to ISO certification is the mutually beneficial supplier relationships. In order to ensure that quality raw materials go into your production system, the processes concerning documentation and testing should be followed carefully. Thorough evaluation of new suppliers before changes are made is also part of the process.
  • Effective and Structured Documentation. Documentation of all processes, as well as any discrepancies, errors, and changes is an important requirement of the ISO Quality Management System standard. Accountability of all staff and consistency throughout production are hereby ensured. Traceable records are thus also available in cases of raw materials and non-compliant products.
  • Consistency within all Processes of your Company. Consistency is one of the foundations on which ISO is build. All processes operating within a business, from the research and development stage, to production and ultimately shipping, are defined, outlined, and documented. This consistency minimises the room for error. Even the process of making changes is well planned and implemented; it is done in the best possible way to maximise efficiency.
  • Building Customer Satisfaction. The universal acceptance of the ISO standards is responsible for building client confidence. Customer satisfaction is ensured through the benefits ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management System holds for company efficiency, consistency, and dedication to quality service.
  • Improvement Processes based on Facts. Audit processes, management review, and improvement processes based on collected data are outlined by ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System. Improvements based on facts are carefully planned and implemented; this is done through the use of a system of documentation and analysis. This in turn will ensure the best decisions for your company are made.

How can Virtuous Triad help you?

If you decide to go for ISO certification then a discussion with the top management is the first thing we will ask for. In this discussion we will show you the methodology we follow in order to help a company getting the certificate. In this discussion any query for the certification process will be answered. – At this point it is worth noting that the company is certified after having successfuly passed the audit from a certification body which has nothing to do with Virtuous Triad.