This Thursday (9 November 2017) marks World Quality Day across the globe. The aim of the day is to raise awareness on the importance of quality performance, in all organisations – for consistent innovation, sustainability and growth. It was first introduced in 1990, by the United Nations, to encourage organisations to partake in various activities that bring the focus back onto quality in business.
In organisations, quality has the prime function of protecting and enhancing reputations, improving profitability and driving change. It is essentially a distinct characteristic of an organisation which has satisfied all its stakeholders. The Chartered Quality Institute categorises quality in 5 main areas: governance, assurance, improvement, leadership and context.
Good governance helps position organisations for sustained quality and success. Its intent is to ensure that organisations effectively fulfill their purposes, on behalf of the people to whom they are accountable. This could unfold in the transparency of the business processes and a clear understanding of the organisation’s purpose and value to their stakeholders. Organisations should demonstrate keen commitment to their stakeholders, through:
- Evaluation and reporting
- Both supporting and encouraging its governing body to make the right decisions
- Sustaining the organisations values in meeting its objectives.
5 points towards good governance:
- Accountability – An organisation of high quality is answerable for the consequences of decisions made, with evidence and reports to sustain its business choices.
- Transparency – For both the benefit of staff and clients, transparency should be practiced within the organisation and with the decision-making processes. It should be easily accessible and understandable for those to clearly see how and why a decision was made.
- The Rule of Law – All organisational decisions must be consistent with relevant legislation or common law, to ensure equality and fairness in the business.
- Responsiveness – Organisations must aim to balance the needs of their business in an appropriate and responsive manner.
- Effectiveness and Efficiency – Organisations should follow business processes that use the best available people, resources and time to ensure the highest quality of results.
The standard, ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems, has been implemented by organisations all around the world and shows commitment to delivering quality products and services, to customers. One of the aspects of ISO 9001:2015 is quality assurance. This specifies how an organisation would meet the requirements of various stakeholders, in a systematic and reliable manner.
Organisational assurance refers to businesses providing accurate and current information to the stakeholders, about the efficiency and effectiveness of its policies and operations, and the status of its compliance to statutory obligations. To ensure a high quality of products and services, organisations need to manage and monitor their quality control and quality assurance systems. The difference between the two lies in their function – quality control is fulfilling the organisational quality requirements and quality assurance provides confidence that quality requirements are fulfilled. An effective balance of these will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation on a continual basis. For more information on ISO 9001:2015, read our blog Putting Quality first with ISO 9001 where we break down the Seven Principles of Quality Management.
Improvement is one of the seven principles of quality management in ISO 9001:2015. It requires that organisations align improvement activities by empowering people to make improvements within the organisation. These improvements then need to be measured to ensure that there is continual growth in the organisation. In further detail and particularly within the management context, continuous improvement requires a sustained effort to expose and eliminate non-conformances.
Drivers of continual improvement are:
- The improvement of internal efficiency
- Individual customer requirements
- The level of performance that your industry expects
Also featuring in the seven principles of quality management, in ISO 9001:2015, is leadership. Leadership requires an organisation to recognise employee contributions and to empower employees. Organisational leaders need to establish a set vision and direction for the business, through setting challenging goals and, often, remodeling organisational values.
This years theme for World Quality Day is one that celebrates everyday leadership. In order to sustain good quality, Top Management are required to demonstrate commitment and leadership, by taking responsibility for the effective running of the organisation’s Quality Management System (QMS).
Leaders can achieve this through:
- Taking accountability for the effectiveness of the organisation’s QMS.
- Ensuring that the quality policy and quality objectives are compatible with the strategic direction of the organisation.
- Leaders should also promote a risk based thinking approach in all levels within the organisation.
- Assign adequate resources for the objectives of the QMS.
- Assign focus on products/services meeting customer requirements within statutory regulatory requirements, with risk and opportunities adequately addressed.
The ‘context’ of an organisation is a new clause in ISO 9001:2015 and requires organisations to consider both the internal and external issues that may impact their strategic objectives and how they plan their QMS. Organisations should focus on factors and conditions that can affect products, services, investments and stakeholders. Context assures that consideration has been undertaken with regards to how the QMS is designed and uniquely adapted to the organisation.
All organisations should be in pursuit of increasing their level of quality. A greater focus on quality can lead to higher profits, efficient business processes, a decrease in non-conformances and satisfied staff and clients. If you would like your organisation to embark on a journey of continual improvement, through ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management, you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about our training courses.