What is QMS? Why should businesses implement it? How can a company gain the ISO 9001 certification? These are important things that organizations should know.
This article details the basic aspects of IS0 9001 such as establishing a Quality Management System and the benefits of ISO 9001.
Introduction to ISO 9001
ISO 9001 is the international standard that sets out the requirements and best processes for a Quality Management System to help organizations achieve improved operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Over a million organizations across all industries use ISO 9001:2015, which is the latest version of the standard. Being ISO 9001 certified means an organization has the capacity to consistently produce goods and services that meet or exceed customer and regulatory expectations.
Developing a Quality Management System (QMS)
A Quality Management System is a documented structure that outlines the practices and responsibilities for achieving an organization’s quality objectives and continuous improvement. It should be internally designed and tailored to the organization’s goals and client needs.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) suggests that an effective QMS should be generated to achieve the following seven quality management principles:
1. Customer Focus
Understanding and taking action on customers’ needs contribute to an organization’s success. As a result, clients are retained and new customers get attracted. Organizations must strive to exceed customer expectations by connecting their objectives to customers’ needs to enhance repeat business and customer base.
An organization must form an internal environment where employees and the management unite in achieving goals, purpose, and direction. This encourages a company-wide commitment to quality services.
Leaders at all levels initiate and sustain shared values to develop their organization’s ability to deliver desired results. They must enable employees to be aligned with the organization’s policies, strategies, resources, and processes.
3. Engagement of People
Involving people at all levels aids in managing an organization effectively. Recognizing employees’ individual creativity and contribution leads to an empowered workforce, which allows an organization to accomplish tasks properly.
Building a culture of trust and collaboration makes employees open to sharing experiences and discussing ideas. This allows all those involved to practice initiative and become productive people.
4. Process Approach
An organization must have well understood internal processes to improve efficiency. Desired outputs can be acquired when activities and resources are effectively managed as an interrelated process. A coherent system allows an organization to reduce cross-functional barriers and optimize its overall performance.
There should be a proactive approach to welcoming improvement and adapting to changing conditions. An organization’s openness to improvement lets them maintain current levels of performance while being able to work on new opportunities.
Improvement is an essential lesson in driving innovation and continuously train people. It ensures employees are competent to successfully accomplish their tasks.
6. Evidence-based decision making
Decision-makers must have the capability to analyze data and establish quality metrics first. When accurate and reliable information is used as a basis, organizations can have more confidence in making objective choices.
Decision-making also involves taking action based on evidence– including past decisions, data, and opinions– to interpret cause-and-effect situations and potential consequences.
7. Relationship Management
An organization must effectively manage its relationships with key stakeholders, clients, partners, suppliers, resellers through their expertise and resources. This leads to a well-managed supply chain that maintains the flow of products and services. Sustained success is driven by an organization’s capacity to create value for all affected parties by sharing information and resources.
However, keep in mind that a documented Quality Management System does not have to be certified nor uniformed with ISO 9001 to attain a company’s improvement and quality goals. For this reason, organizations should look into the benefits and setbacks of going through an ISO 9001 certification process.
Five Main Benefits of Having an ISO 9001 Certified Quality Management System
Securing an ISO 9001 certification can be a substantial investment in time and resources. Organizations that are ISO 9001 certified often hold a competitive marketing advantage within their industries.
1. Improved Quality of Goods and Services
An independent third party auditing body assures an organization’s processes are well scrutinized. ISO 9001 certification requires evaluating the processes involved in the provision of products and services, which allows organizations to take control and ensure a consistent quality offering.
2. Drive Overall Customer Satisfaction
An organization’s ISO 9001 certified QMS guarantees great quality products and services. This assurance leads to customer satisfaction and the attraction of new clients.
3. Meeting the Requirements of Potential Business Partners
Some vendors, who are likely ISO 9001 certified themselves, require ISO 9001 certification before engaging with possible business partners. Getting certified means meeting ISO 9001 requirements, which attracts more business partners. This gives your organization the chance to expand into bigger markets.
4. Leadership Engagement
Leaders must be proactive and involved in improving their organization’s quality and processes. It is the goal of ISO 9001:2015 to create leaders who are enterprising and systematic.
5. Elevate an Organization’s Culture
Identifying clear expectations, roles, objectives, and company direction encourages staff to perform better and be more professional at work.
How Can an Organization Attain ISO 9001 Certification?
Here are six steps to help you build a Quality Management System and become ISO 9001 certified:
1. Get Buy-In
Gather your employees and ensure there’s an agreement at both management and staff levels on implementing a QMS. The key is to clearly explain the purpose of the Quality Management System and the certification benefits. All employees should understand the objectives, such as customer satisfaction, improving overall efficiency, and the opportunity to enter new markets.
2. Devise a Project Plan
A gap analysis is necessary in order to check to what extent an organization is already meeting ISO 9001 requirements. Conducting a gap analysis requires a checklist to determine where the emphasis of your implementation efforts should be. Identifying the gaps assists you in preparing and carrying out a project plan with key timelines, responsibilities, parties, and deliverables.
3. Prepare Required Documents
It should include all documentation information and records like the scope of the QMS, organizational chart, review of products and services, process descriptions, and strategic plans, among others. Your organization could then draft a quality policy that is aligned with ISO 9001:2015 standards.
The awareness of your employees in implementing your ISO-aligned QMS is crucial. Ensure that it is clear to the staff why there’s a need for a Quality Management System and how ISO 9001:2015 certification will benefit everyone.
5. Conduct an Internal Audit
Internal audits can assess whether the implemented Quality Management System is effective and achieves quality objectives. A digital auditing application could be used to gather the information that can help sustain compliance with the implemented QMS.
6. Get Certified
Enlist a credible independent certification body to visit and perform site audits. The certification body will determine if your company can be ISO 9001:2015 certified.
As you can see, businesses of all sizes will benefit operationally and financially from an ISO 9001:2015 certification. Use this checklist when creating a Quality Management System and to guide you on your path of becoming a globally recognized organization.