ISO 9001

A Short History of Quality Standards and IOS 9001

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Just to set the baseline…ISO 9001 is an international standard that strongly suggests a body of requirements for quality management systems. It’s a standard used by organizations worldwide to prove their ability to provide services and products consistently that meet customer and regulatory requirements. It is becoming more prevalent as time moves on and becoming increasingly common in businesses that previously wouldn’t need this standard to operate.

The statistical control chart methodology was invented (or formalized) in the 1930`s.  The United States and England made use of statistical tables and basic quality control approaches throughout World War II to release military provisions in large measures cheaply, but with excellent quality. The US Navy benchmarked top manufacturers to come up with best practices for developing processes and products. They then documented these items and circulated them to all of the US partners within America`s manufacturing base. This methodology was the leading generic quality assurance management standard at the time.

Some individuals believe that the Allies won World War II as a result of the US-based suppliers producing high-quality products – all due to the development of statistical tools. Following the conclusion of WW II, Japan’s manufacturing sector was in tatters.  Everything that was once established was beginning at step 1.  As Japan manufacturers recovered from the war and re-developed the industrial base, they borrowed heavily from the US and used the existing quality control best practices at the time.

It was after the war when Japan got to another level of quality assurance; they formed an industrial standards committee in 1946. A committee formed and came up with the Japanese Industrial Standards(JIS) standards and allowed the certified manufactures to have the JIS “qualification”. This was the first certification of a quality management standard, and the Japanese companies took part voluntarily.  Each company had to pass through a certification inspection to receive the JIS certification.  Contributing greatly to this improvement was Dr. Deming, who trained the Japanese union of scientists and engineers around this time.  He educated on statistics, the use of quality control charts concerning manufacturing, PDCA cycle, administrative activities, and process activities; all of these were to improve performance.

The competition among the US companies in 1950 and 1960s was relatively shallow.  The US benefitted from a period of worldwide reconstruction and enjoyed a post-war edge where other countries did not enjoy that same luxury.  This lack of competition resulted in a  – for lack of better word – laziness.  A contentment to sit on their laurels and enjoy the ride. Because of the lack of competitiveness, US manufacturing walked away from statistical quality control, and certification management standards were not necessary to operate.  The world then moved in the direction of international trade in the 1980’s. Therefore, industries and nations had to come to an agreement on the quality assurance standards that they could all use. This would build purchasing trust between companies worldwide.

The international trade then resulted in the US going back to quality management systems and statistical controls.  Total quality management theories significantly improved American companies in the 1980s.  International organization for standardization then embraced ISO 9000 in 1987; it was later updated to ANSI/ISO/ASQ standard in 1994.  It was then upgraded to ISO 9001 – which is now acknowledged all over the world, many companies across the globe will not purchase from you unless you are certified to ISO 9001. This standard is based on the fact that a quality assurance program that is designed well offers confidence in the management team and the products produced by the organization.

ISO 9001 was updated in 2015 to ensure that it gives a reflection of the modern day business needs.  It works to aid in effective business management to attain long-term success, operational resilience and achieve customer satisfaction.  It is appropriate for all businesses irrespective of the size of the company – from manufacturing to service providers. It is also flexible; therefore gives room for improvements that fit your organization.

ISO 9001:2015 is, therefore, a tool in the business world that has posted a lot of improvements as it aids in constant enhancements hence delivering excellent results in the organization. Some of the benefits include helping your company gain a competitive advantage, making your business stand out and develop.  Put very simply – is designed to improve performance.

It ensures customer satisfaction and places quality at the heart of the organization using a process approach that complements business strategy and improves performance with time.  It provides a platform that focuses on ensuring that you concentrate on customer needs and the business environment.

ISO 9001 is made up of seven quality management principles. The steps will ensure that your business develops consistently in creating customer value.  These seven pillars make it much more comfortable to implement a quality management system.  The seven quality management principles include:

  1. Customer focus; quality management focuses more on meeting and going beyond customer needs this dramatically contributes to the success of an enterprise. It’s important to attract the customer’s attention and also build their confidence in your products.
  2. Leadership; leaders in an organization should give an actual mission as it is significant in ensuring that each person in the business understands what they want to achieve. Leaders in an organization should ensure that everyone understands the objectives of the organization.
  3. Engagement of people; ensuring people are engaged, competent and also empowered at all levels of the organization to ensure that customer value is attained.
  4. Process approach; get an understanding of the organization’s undertakings as processes that are connected and work together as a system that aid in achieving predictable and consistent results.
  5. Improvement; for any successes in an organization there is a need to concentrate on enhancements.  There is a constant need to react to the changes provided by the external and internal environment to maintain value delivery to customers.
  6. Decision making based on evidence; it’s never easy to make decisions, but one should ensure that the choices they make are based on critical evaluation and analysis of data to come up with the anticipated results.
  7. Relationship management; the current firms do not work in an empty space. There is need to point out the significant relationships existing among interested parties – like the suppliers – and setting a plan to manage a consistent success.

An organization can apply a quality management system in many ways.  The organization should first ensure that they define their objectives; this includes the reason for implementing the standard and context of the organization.  Note the activities of the organization that will meet the goals of the organization as well as the needs of the customer. Ensure that you have an outstanding understanding of the customers’ requirements – this builds a root for the quality management system.

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