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Relevance of ISO 9000

Relevance of ISO 9000 to a small business model

Do we fully understand and appreciate the value of ISO 9000, a set of quality management standards that were developed over 20 years ago, following many years of transformations from military quality standards, including NATO's AQAP (Allied Quality Assurance Publications), and a series of standards from the British Standards Institute (BS 5179, BS 5750)?

As technical support professionals in an IT services management industry, we might struggle to be experts on all sections or components of any of the quality systems or methodologies our company might adopt.  All the same, staff training and comprehension is important for the success and effectiveness of the company's qms (quality management system).

To start with, I learnt from the ISO 9000 standards, that Document Control (including record control and product/services configuration management) provides a foundation for both a certifiable quality system, as well as a management tool for controling and improving processes. Document Control along with Process Control are two significant requirements of Quality Control within an ISO 9000 based Quality Management System.  Read my article on ISO9000 Quality Definitions to understand where Quality Control fits into the overall QMS.

 In the Total Business Management plan for the small business model, the ISO 9000 standards (eg ISO 9002) complement and integrate well with the TBM philosophy of quality management, and it's 8 core requirements, which in turn is founded in the principles of TQM (Total Quality Management).

 

Comments

As a manager of a micro business I read with interest what has been written about quality.  I know that much help was available to people when, for a year, I was not around but they failed to read anything and reinvented the wheel.  This was my fault for not publicizing the data which I am now doing something about.  I intend to post everything I have and after 20 years that is quite a lot of information. 

In the case of your "micro" business, If you were to  prioritize your quality management efforts in the order of the TBM Model (focusing initially on the top 4), then Process Improvement must commence with thorough capturing of your processes and procedures.  The ISO9000 standards will help you understand how and why you might achieve this.  As I said in my latest article,  "You can't improve a process you don't have".  A simple document and process control system, need not be daunting to set-up (See the examples on this site under Documents).

As for what cost, this has to be calculated to improve the efficiencies of your processes, deliverables, customer service / loyalty (and ultimately your bottom line profit).  You don't need a Rolls Royce to deliver the pizzas (You still may want to consider paying a bit more for a reliable vehicle, though).

Hence, regarding the cost of implementing quality disciplines, your focus should be on the benefits, not necessarily the certifcation (or five ticks).

 

 

I'm starting to see a fair amount of useful online material and interest for the next release of the standard.  I'll update our resources page with links to some of the material, but will point you to the ISO Org Home - ISO9001:2015 page for now.

The following three points regarding the changes (as quoted from this page) stood out for me:

  • Maintain the current focus on effective process management to produce desired outcomes
  • Take account of changes in quality management systems practices and technology since the last major revision in 2000
  • Reflect changes in the increasingly complex, demanding and dynamic environments in which organizations operate

This reflects the general opinion that the Standards will become more flexible, yet still remain relevant as a core baseline to establish a new Quality Management System for any size organisation.

In recent months, I started subcribing more to techical journals, whitepapers and providers of cloud based solutions.  The "Cloud" is morphing into a modern buzz word and fad that seems to offer exciting new IT management solutions to businesses, as well as increased marketing opportunities to the solution providers.

The Cloud has actually been around for many years in one form or another, and for any web designer (more skilled than I am) could easily demonstrate a "cloud" solution to anyone interested in following the corresponding techno language. But where does ISO9000 come into this, or more appropriately ISO9001 and Document Control?

At QualityHelp, we will release a series of articles and blog updates on building a simple Cloud solution for controling and distributing IT work instructions and other procedures, whilst using the ISO9000 guidelines for document and record control. Our audience will be able to follow the construction, and even contribute through feedback, constructive comments and suggestions.

Our starting point will be to build a Master Catalogue (with Drupal Views and Quicktabs), to register all controlled documents and records. The Master Catalogue, related sub-catalogues and control records has been redesigned to more closely align with the ISO guidelines, and can be located our Catalogue Register (as you would expect).

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