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Seven Quality Management Principles (ISO 9001:2015)

ISO 9001: Seven  Quality Management Principles

Seven Quality Management Principles: Customer Focus


There should be no surprise that Customer Focus is the first of the Quality Management Principles.  Everything about ISO 9001:2015 is centered between customer requirements and customer satisfaction.  We start in ISO 9001:2015 in Clause 5.1.2 Customer Focus with the requirement for leadership to demonstrate a commitment to the customer, and to focus on enhancing customer satisfaction.  This is different from the previous edition of ISO 9001:2008, the word enhanced is only used once in Clause 5.2 of ISO 9001:2008, but is used twice in ISO 9001:2015.  This goes to show the increased emphasis of customer satisfaction as integral in ISO 9001:2015.  We conclude the discussion of customer satisfaction in standard in 9.1.2 Customer Satisfaction with a new directive in the 2015 edition of ISO 9001 where the “organization shall monitor customer perceptions of the degree to which their needs and expectations have been fulfilled”.  Examples may include customer surveys, tracking customer feedback on delivered products and services (an available feature in Texas Quality Cloud), meetings with customers, market share analysis, compliments, warranty claims and dealer reports.

Seven Quality Management Principles: Leadership

Customer focus is followed by leadership with good reason.  All emphasis of customer satisfaction must come from leadership. Leadership is also a key word change in ISO 9001:2015 from ISO 2001:2008.  The term management has largely been replaced by leadership.  Leadership is first addressed in Clause 5 Leadership of the standard with the requirement to focus on, first and foremost, taking accountability for the effectiveness of the quality management system.  Further more the term “Top Management” is used in contrast to simple leadership, as leadership can apply to multiple levels in the organization.  Top management has the specific responsibility to ensure the quality management system conforms with ISO 9001:2015 and ensuring the integrity of the quality management system is maintained.

Seven Quality Management Principles: Engagement of People

Similar to the older Health and Safety standard OHSAS 18001:2007 Clause 4.4.3 Communication, participation and consultation ISO 9001:2015 calls for the engagement of people starting in Clause 5.2.2 Quality Policy’s requirement for the policy to be communicated and understood within the organization.  The requirement to understand the quality policy is new from ISO 9001:2008.  They emphasized the need for all levels of the organization to be involved.  Clause 7.1.6 Organizational Knowledge is brand new to ISO 9001:2015 requiring the organization to determine the knowledge necessary for the operation of its presses and to achieve conformity.  The previous edition of ISO 9001 gave no consideration to such things as organizational knowledge or as its often referred to “tribal knowledge”.  Emphasis is made on knowledge gained by experience from both internal sources (intellectual property, success and failure…etc) and external sources (standard, academia, etc…)

Seven Quality Management Principles: Process Approach

ISO 9001 requires a “process approach”, a fundamental principle at the heart of many quality management systems is “Plan – Do – Check – Act”, ISO 9001 is no exception.

  • Plan – design or revise a business process or system or product
  • Do – implement the plan and measure the result
  • Check – evaluate the measurements or results
  • Act – decide if further changes are appropriate and, if so, what theseshould be; then back again to…
  • Plan – re-design or revise the process, system, product

Very often the output from one process directly forms the input to the next.  As process connect where the output of one is the input of the other, we arrive at the idea of a process approach base to management. The advantage of the process approach is that it provides ongoing control between the individual processes within the system, as well as control over their combination(s) and interaction(s).

Seven Quality Management Principles: Improvement

Successful organizations have an ongoing focus on improvement. Reacting to changes in the internal and external environment is necessary if you want to continue to deliver value for your customers. This is of paramount importance today when conditions evolve so quickly.

Branching off from the Plan Do Check Act cycle is the idea of continual improvement.  Continual Improvement is integral to the process approach to management.  As you process down the plan do check act process, at the point of checking or evaluation, a decision must be made before taking action, that decision is whether or not to seek continual improvement. Continual improvement is at the heart of ISO 9001 Clause 8.3 Design and Development to 8.7 Control of Nonconforming Product and all of Clause 9 Performance Evaluation. Clause 10 Improvement is brand new to ISO 9001:2015 and encompasses the Nonconformity and Corrective Action, Continual Improvement.


Seven Quality Management Principles: Evidence Based Decision Making

Making decisions is never easy and naturally involves a degree of uncertainty, but ensuring your decisions are based on the analysis and evaluation of data is more likely to produce the desired result.  Decision-making can be a complex process.  It almost always involves some uncertainty. It often involves multiple types and sources of inputs, as well as their interpretation, which can be subjective. It is important to understand cause and effect relationships and potential unintended consequences. Facts, evidence and data analysis lead to greater objectivity and confidence in decisions made.  By using evidence based decision making we are able to actually and pragmatically address address findings, such as in Clause 10.1 a) the organization shall include improving products and services to meeting requirements as well as to address future needs and expectations.  All of this is based on factual information, on what can be observed measured and tested

7 Quality Management Principles: Relationship Management

Today’s businesses and organizations do not work in a vacuum. Identifying the important relationships you have with interested parties such as your suppliers – and setting out a plan to manage them – will drive sustained success.  Interested parties influence the performance of an organization. Sustained success is more likely to be achieved when an organization manages relationships with its interested parties to optimize their impact on its performance. Relationship management with its supplier and partner network is often of particular importance.  By understanding these overall principles, and putting a focus on them into your QMS, you will find it easier to implement the requirements and find that the end result will be more focused to your needs as a company. If you are aligning your Quality Management System to the requirements of ISO 9001, how much simpler will the implementation be if you also ensure that your processes focus on the same principles as the requirements?  How much more effective will your system be?

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