ISO 9001 is the international standard that provides the framework for design, implementation and maintenance of Quality Management Systems. The main advantages of implementing an ISO 9001 compliant Quality Management System (QMS) are:
- On-going improvement of service and product quality.
- Improved customer service.
- Increase in customer satisfaction level.
- Reduced wastage.
- Reduced costs associated with returned goods and correcting of mistakes.
- Higher employee morale.
- More accountability on every level of the enterprise.
Certification for the Implementation of ISO 9001-compliant Quality Management Systems Holds the Following Benefits:
- Documented proof of the company’s commitment to quality.
- Increased customer confidence in the company’s ability to provide quality services and products.
- Competitive edge over companies that are not ISO 9001-certified.
- On-going improvement of processes.
- Ability to trade internationally with partners that require certification.
- Increased business partner confidence in the quality of the services and products of the certified company.
The Implementation Process of ISO 9001-compliant Quality Management Systems are Dependent upon the Following Factors:
- Enterprise size.
- Current quality programmes in place.
- Complexity of the enterprise processes.
- Employee commitment to on-going improvement.
Steps Towards Successful Implementation of such a QMS Include:
- Commitment by executive management to implement and maintain an ISO 9001-compliant management system.
- Determining and appointing the team responsible for implementation.
- Initiating and implementing the ISO 9001 QMS awareness programme in the enterprise.
- Providing relevant employee training including awareness, internal auditing, and internal audit lead and quality management courses, in addition to ensuring competence of employees in the tasks that they must complete.
- Doing an initial GAP analysis to determine shortcomings and thus areas where improvements must be made.
- Setting up and documenting the implementation plan.
- Developing the full documentation for the QMS.
- Initiating document control.
- Actual implementation of the QMS.
- Conducting the internal audit.
- Doing the management review after the audit.
- Conducting a GAP analysis audit.
- Making improvements.
- Having the certification audit done by an external auditing body.
- Getting certification.
- Registering the QMS as ISO 9001-compliant.
- Setting up the on-going improvement maintenance plan.
- Maintenance programme, which includes management reviews.
- Making improvements on a continuing basis.
- Integration with the other existing ISO management systems.
Why Top Management Commitment is Important
To ensure successful implementation, the executive management should commit to implementation of the QMS throughout the entire organisation. Without such a commitment from them, the mid-level managers will not initialise the QMS, as they will not have the power of decision-making. The executive management must provide documented proof of the commitment to development, implementation and maintenance of the QMS. Once the top management realises the benefits of the QMS, such as improved efficiency throughout the enterprise, higher levels of customer service, and reduction in costs, they must communicate the benefits to the employees.
The top management must define the organisation policies regarding quality and communicate them to the employees. They should ensure that the objectives regarding this are well understood and implemented on all levels of the enterprise. They should see to it that all the required resources for implementation of the QMS are made available throughout the enterprise, appoint the relevant representatives, and conduct the necessary management reviews.
With more focus on leadership in the revised ISO 9001, the executive management should lead by example and become involved in the improvement initiatives. Goals of the QMS must be set such as:
- Higher levels of efficiency.
- Reduction of costs.
- Reduced liabilities.
- Increased profitability.
- Development of products and services to meet and exceed customer requirements.
- Improved confidence in the products and services.
Why Training Forms and Integral Part of Quality Management Systems Development
The ISO 9001 QMS affects every level of the enterprise. As such, the relevant training programmes must be identified to ensure that the employees according to their job levels understand the basics of the QMS, the goals of the enterprise and the changes in the way that tasks are completed. Training should be scheduled according to management level as well. Additional training may be needed for quality manual writing, internal auditing processes, testing of products, laboratory management and procedures manuals writing. Where the enterprise does not have the expertise and capacity in-house to offer the training programmes, an external company competent in such should be approached.
WWISE can assist on every level of QMS development, implementation, maintenance, integration, training, auditing, and certification preparation.