ISO/DIS 9001 - Quality Management Principles
Keshav Ram Singhal
A quality management principle is a comprehensive and fundamental belief, for leading and operating an organization, aimed at improving performance on a long-term by focusing on customers while addressing needs of all other stakeholders. The revision and development of ISO 9001 and ISO 9004 standards in the year 2000 had been on the basis of eight quality management principles, namely - (i) Customer focus, (ii) Leadership, (iii) Involvement of people, (iv) Process approach, (v) System approach to management, (vi) Continual improvement, (vii) Factual approach to decision making, and (viii) Mutually beneficial supplier relationship. ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 9004:2009 standards were also revised, updated and developed on the basis of these eight quality management principles.
The development of forthcoming ISO 9001:2015 standard is being carried out on the basis of seven quality management principles. We observe that quality management principles have been reduced from eight to seven, namely - (i) Customer focus, (ii) Leadership, (iii) Engagement of people, (iv) Process approach, (v) Improvement, (vi) Evidence-based decision making, and (vii) Relationship management.
From the change, we find the following:
- The principle 'involvement of people' is now 'engagement of people'. It is an editorial change, no change in the concept or belief.
- The word 'continual' is dropped and the principle 'continual improvement' is now 'improvement'. The new term has the wider meaning and 'improvement' now includes all types of improvement, such as, continual improvement, continuous improvement, constant improvement.
- The principle 'system approach to management' does not appear. 'Process approach' in fact includes the system approach. Quality management system of an organization is composed of interrelated processes and interrelated processes function as a coherent system.
- The principle 'factual approach to decision making' is now 'evidence-based decision making'. It is also an editorial change, no change in the concept or belief.
- The principle 'mutually beneficial supplier relationship' is changed to 'relationship management'. Earlier principle values relationship between the organization and its suppliers. Now the scope of the principle is widened by 'relationship management' that now covers relationship of the organization with all interested parties including its suppliers.
The seven quality management principles are described below.
1st Principle - Customer focus
An organization always depends on its customers. The primary focus of the quality management system is to meet customer requirements and to strive to exceed customer expectations.
Quality is a moving target that is defined and judged by customers of the organization. Sustained success of an organization depends on attracting and retaining the confidence of customers and other interested parties. Customer interaction and customer feedback provide opportunity to an organization to create more value for the customer. Therefore an organization should:
- understand current and future needs (and expectations) for products and services including delivery, price, dependability etc.
- ensure a balanced approach, create awareness and communicate customer requirements throughout the organization
- meet customer requirements
- strive to exceed customer expectations
- monitor customer perceptions and obtain information relating to customer views and opinions
By understanding current and future needs (and expectations), meeting customer requirements, exceeding customer expectations, monitoring customer perceptions and obtaining information relating to customer views and opinions, an organization becomes a customer focused organization. By monitoring customer perceptions and listening to the 'voice of the customer', the organization gets valuable information and inputs to drive improvement initiatives.
Benefits that may be derived from the use of 'customer focus' principle include:
- Increased business
- Increased market share
- enhanced customer satisfaction
- repeat business
2nd Principle - Leadership
Leaders establish unity of purpose, direction and engagement of people in the organization that align organization's strategies, policies, processes in achieving quality objectives. Leaders focus on communication by listening to the people and defines a strategic plan or direction of the organization. Leaders help people to work in a team.
Leaders in an organization should create and maintain the internal environment in which people can fully engage themselves to achieve organization's quality objectives. For this top management of the organization needs to play leadership role through its commitment, action and communication. They should communicate to the people in the organization the importance of meeting requirements. They need to establish quality policy, ensure ensuring establishing quality objectives at relevant functions, levels and processes, ensure availability of resources and conduct management reviews.
The leaders of the organization should:
- be proactive,
- understand and respect to changes that are visible in the industry environment,
- establish clear vision of the organization,
- build trust, eliminate fear and motivate people.
Benefits that may be derived from the use of 'leadership' principle include:
- Employee's motivation towards organization's goals and objectives
- Better understanding of organization's objectives
- Better communication within the organization
3rd Principle - Engagement of people
There are various activities in an organization that are performed by the people. People at all levels are essence of an organization. Without engagement of people, nothing can be achieved. People of the organization need to be competent. They should be empowered and engaged in delivering value. Their engagement at all levels in the organization enable their abilities to be used for the organization's benefits.
Top management of the organization should make sincere efforts to maximize engagement of people in the organization by taking steps to empower and motivate them and by providing ways to increase their skills and knowledge. If people of the organization are competent, empowered and engaged throughout, it will enhance organization's capability to create value and achieve its objectives.
Benefits that may be derived from the use of 'engagement of people' principle include:
- Motivation and commitment of people
- Involvement and engagement of people at all levels
- Innovation and creativity of employees
- Employee's participation and contribution for improvement
4th Principle - Process Approach
A desired output (consistent and predictable result) can be achieved more efficiently when all related resources and activities are understood and managed as a coherent system that functions as interrelated processes.
ISO/DIS 9001 promotes the adoption of a process approach. It is the intention of ISO/DIS 9001 that the organization must adopt process approach when developing, implementing and improving the effectiveness of its quality management system. The main objective behind adoption of process approach is to enhance customer satisfaction by meeting customer requirements.
To function effectively and efficiently, an organization has to determine and manage numerous linked activities. What is a process? An activity that comprises set of interrelated or interacting activities which transform inputs into outputs can be termed as a process. In organization's activities, output from one process can form the input to the next process. The application of a system of processes within an organization can be said the 'process approach'. Process approach requires determination of processes, interaction of determined processes and their management. Management of determined processes and the system as a whole can be achieved using a PDCA methodology with an overall focus on 'risk based thinking'. Risk based thinking helps at preventing undesirable outputs.
Process approach is helpful in ensuring: understanding and consistently meeting requirements, consideration of processes in terms of added value, the achievement of effective process performance, and improvement of processes based on evaluation of data and information.
Benefits that may be derived from use of 'process approach' principle include:
- Effective use of resources
- Lower cost
- Shorter cycle times
- Improved, consistent and desired outputs
5th Principle - Improvement
Improvement is the process of a thing or system changing or moving from one state to another state considered to be better from the first state, usually through some action intended to bring about that better state. The concept of improvement is important to organizations as well as to individuals.
Successful organizations have all time continual focus on improvement. Improvement is essential for every organization to be successful to maintain its level of performance, to react to changes in its conditions (internal and external) and to create new opportunities.
Improvement is necessary for growth and success of an organization. Clause 10 of ISO/DIS 9001 specifically mentions requirements for improvement.
Benefits that may be derived from use of 'improvement' principle include:
- Performance advantage
- Alignment of improvement activities
- Consistent growth
6th Principle - Evidence-based Decision Making
Desired results or intended outputs are likely to be obtained when decisions based on analysis and evaluation of data and information are taken. Decision making becomes easier if there is analysis and evaluation of data and information.
Decision making always involves some uncertainty, so it can be termed as a complex process. There are multiple sources of information, multiple sources of inputs and a number of interpretations that can lead to a subjective decision. It is always better to have an evidence-based decision making as facts, evidence and analysis of data and informationb lead to greater objectivity and confidence in decision making.
Proper use of statistical techniques will ease analysis of data and information that will lead to evidence-based decision making. Decisions taken based on analysis of data and information will lead to the right path for consistent improvement of the organization's system including processes and resulting product and services.
In India and also in other countries, it is seen that large and medium-sized organizations are using statistical tools, however there is a need to increase awareness for using statistical tools among people working in small-scale industry.
Benefits that may be derived from use of 'evidence-based decision making' principle include:
- Increased ability to have decision based on analysis
- Increased ability to review, challenge and change opinions and decisions
- Improvement in the system
7th Principle - Relationship Management
An organization and its interested parties (such as suppliers) are interdependent. Interested party or parties can affect a decision or activity of an organization. And also interested party or parties can be affected by a decision or activity of an organization. Interested parties can influence the performance of an organization. A mutually beneficial relationship between the organization and its interested parties (such as suppliers) enhance the ability to both to create value to each other.
To get maximum benefits of relationship management on organization's performance, it is necessary for the organization to manage its relationship with interested parties, such as suppliers, partner network.
Benefits that may be derived from use of 'relationship management' principle include:
- Increased ability to create value for the organizationand its interested parties
- Optimization of resources
- Long-term benefits