My first question to my clients is ‘Do you have a Quality Management system?’ This does not have to be an accredited system I am talking about the structure of the business. You do not necessarily need to have an accreditation to prove that you are producing a quality product or service; your customers will verify that. In my experience many people have ISO9001 without really understanding the full potential that it can deliver. It then becomes more of a chore with only costs attributed to it rather that cost savings; hence it is not looked upon favourably. I am so pleased that the message between my clients is taking hold which is “Focus on improving your business process and Quality Management System to achieve your goals”. The process improvements will be done being mindful of the ISO9001 standard if this is what you want to achieve but it has to be designed to fit in with your culture and work/process flow.
An effective Quality Management system can provide clear purpose for the business and consistency in the way processes are run / actions are carried out. It can also help when you have specific instructions / specifications for different customers / industry sectors. My advice is to set up an approach to Quality that is suitable for your business; a bespoke system leads to more successful results for you and your customers.
I like to keep things simple, refer to the Tigers Roar diagram!
We make decisions constantly about our business and what we want to do; which then impacts on the employees around us and the culture that grows from that. We take responsibility for the planning of our business and the ethics we follow ensuring we meet both our legal obligations and society expectations. We control our processes and people to deliver our service / product to meet the customer / market needs. I believe we just need to focus on our vision, communicate this well, ensure our wishes are being consistently carried out, measure our performance and review our position regularly. Then always take the appropriate action on what we find in a controlled manner. All I ask is that you invest in and take your QMS seriously, adopt it on a holistic approach and not just a necessary documentation process for accreditation.
Forthcoming topics: ISO9001:2015 the changes; Leadership for the culture you desire; Documenting your business, where to start!