Quality management is an ongoing focus for companies around the world, often validated by the ISO 9000 family of regulations, and specifically, the ISO 9001:2015 international standard. This is a large set of regulations that, if applied correctly, has the potential to produce significant operational and marketing benefits for companies.
But just what are the principles of quality management that drive the ISO framework? Though ISO regulations are complex, business owners can work on identifying, understanding, and managing these concepts with a little effort. Let’s look at 8 principles of quality management that business owners should note.
1. Customer Focus
Naturally, all quality management principles rely on a customer-centric approach. Organizational objectives should be aligned with your target market’s needs and requirements and validated with key performance indicators that offer some measure of progress. Note that this applies to both existing and future customers: to meet customer demands, you need to establish consistent and repeatable quality management processes to guarantee a good experience for all buyers.
Leadership bears the burden of establishing a direction for the organization, and as such, the principles of quality management rely on having company-wide executive buy-in.
Company leaders should be the ones assessing new quality management technologies, engaging employees, and training staff in the internal and external ways that they can stay compliant with ISO 9001 quality management principles. In terms of overall quality control, this is one of the most important principles for fostering a company culture of continuous improvement.
3. Engagement of People
Just as it is with leadership, another of the key principles of ISO 9000 quality management involves getting every internal team member on the same page. There’s simply no other way to guarantee an effective quality management system.
Engagement is particularly important for alignment with ISO quality management principles. Employee education is a huge part of delivering consistent quality, and without an engaged workforce ready to learn, companies may struggle to deliver on the customer satisfaction promises they’re making.
4. Process Approach
As those familiar with ISO standards know, process optimization is essential to ongoing quality management. A huge aspect of ISO 9001 certification involves having clear documentation for how processes can be applied in repeatable ways. Companies should take this to heart and get familiar with how each activity in the organization works and why they’re important.
5. System Approach
The next of our eight quality management principles are taking a system-based approach to management. Like number four in our list, this relates to individual processes – but rather than process optimization, it refers to the way these processes operate in the larger system.
Quality management can be thought of as an interrelated system of cogs and gears; every action moves the entire system one way or the other. A system approach to quality management means understanding the big picture and how individual changes in processes affect the odds of a business owner achieving the organization’s goals.
6. Continuous Improvement
There are several core principles of an ISO 9001 quality management system, and one of those is continuous improvement. Workflows and processes should be audited, optimized (if necessary), and monitored over time with performance indicators to showcase progress.
This is the crux of an ISO 9001:2015 certification, a framework that provides some assurance that the company has sought out ways to streamline production and ensure quality. Even if your company isn’t seeking this credential, company-wide improvement is one of the chief principles of quality across the board.
7. Evidence-Based Decision Making
Fundamental to all quality management principles is the need for a factual approach to decision making. What evidence do you have that this particular improvement will bring you more in line with quality control management principles?
This is one area where having a unified software platform for quality management can pay dividends. With a single platform offering visibility into your key processes, it’s easy to track documentation, compare metrics, and automate many of the manual processes you’re used to doing by hand.
8. Relationship Management
Although the first 7 quality management principles are important, vendor relationship management is equally vital to quality management. It stands to reason that you’d want mutually beneficial supplier relationships that result in value exchange. Your vendors are valuable assets for operational planning, support, and feedback, so don’t neglect these relationships as you work towards these goals.
Understand the Scope of Quality Management Principles
These are the most essential elements of quality management, but they’re by no means an exhaustive list. Contact us for a business assessment and review of how we can put these principles to work in your own operation.