Putting quality first with ISO 9001

In 1987 ISO released its first quality management system standard with the ISO 9000 family. Fast forward to 2017 and we see the ISO 9000 family have gone on to become one of the most popular standard sets to date. Within the range of the ISO 9000 family is the ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems Standard, which is designed to help organisations consistently improve the quality of their products and services, ensuring that their products/services comply with the law and related regulations. This ensures that all products/services meet both the customers’ and organisation’s requirements.


What is ISO 9001 Quality Management?

A Quality Management System is a powerful business tool that assures consistency of business processes, by calling for management arrangements that align with the organisations purpose and strategic intent. A Quality Management System helps organisations of any size and type (public or private) coordinate and direct business activities, to meet customer and regulatory requirements. Through this, it also aims to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation on a continual basis.


The Seven Principles of Quality Management

  1. Customer focus – This requires an organisation to understand the needs and requirements of both its existing and future customers. This can be achieved through aligning organisational objectives with customer needs and expectations. Once achieved, customer satisfaction needs to be measured as well as a keen management of customer relations to manage customer expectations.

  2. Leadership – This requires an organisation to recognise employee contributions and to empower employees. The organisation needs to establish a set vision and direction for the business, through setting challenging goals and often a remodeling of organisational values.

  3. Engagement of people – An organisation needs to ensure that the staff’s abilities are being used and valued. There needs to be an evaluation of employee performance, as well as an assurance of employee accountability. Organisation’s need to create an open environment for problems and constraints to be raised by employees.

  4. Process approach – An organisation needs to manage activities as processes by measuring the capability of activities and the link between those activities. Organisations need to evaluate and prioritise opportunities for improvement, as well as ensure an effective use of business resources.

  5. Improvement – Organisations need to align improvement activities by empowering people to make improvements, and thereafter measure that improvement consistently.

  6. Evidence-based decision making – Organisations need to ensure that the business data is accessible, accurate and reliable. Based on this, organisations need to use appropriate methods to analyse the data, and thereafter make informed decisions based on that analysis.

  7. Relationship management – By establishing good relationships for both the long term and short term, organisations can share their expertise, resources, information and plans with their partners. They can then identify and select suppliers to manage costs, optimise resources and create value by collaborating on improvement and development activities.


How can a Quality Management System help my organisation?

A quality management system will help:

  • Improve processes
  • Reduce waste
  • Lower costs
  • Facilitate and identify training opportunities
  • Engage with staff
  • Set organisation-wide direction

Quality Management Systems, by satisfying ISO 9001:2015, can provide organisations with an effective tool to ensure high quality and consistent improvement.

All organisations certified against ISO 9001:2008 are required to make the transition to the new ISO 9001:2015 version by 14 September 2018 – the deadline is fast approaching! In our previous blog Time to make the change, Risk ZA broke down the differences between ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 9001:2015 as well as how organisations can make the change over to the latest version.

Should you have any further queries on ISO 9001:2015, you can email us on info@riskza.com for more information.

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