Quality management means the continuous development of the operations of the company, aiming at customer satisfaction, profitable business operations, and maintaining and improving competitiveness. A quality management system is a combination of functions developed and documented in order to ensure customer satisfaction and improve the efficiency of the company. In practice, it means the combination of the organisational structure, processes, methods, and resources of the unit, and managing it efficiently. Each company should build the quality management system according to its typical business operations. The quality management system is affected by the needs and interests of the manufacturers, as well as the needs and expectations of the customers.
The ISO 9001 standard is used when building a management system that provides faith in the conformity of the products. It is the only ISO 9000 series standard whose requirements can be used as the basis for an external body for the certification of the quality management system. The ISO standard system is maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The Finnish Standards Association SFS is ISO’s representative in Finland.
The quality management system is documented in the quality manual, the code of conduct, and the work instructions.
The benefits of a certified quality management system for a company include the following:
- Introducing the system develops the operations and processes of the company and reduces costs caused by mistakes.
- The confidence that the customers have in the company is increased.
- Having a quality management system is a competitive advantage in itself.
- The system improves the competence, motivation, and efficiency of the employees.
- The system offers information on the quality level that the company can produce.
The phases of introducing a quality management syste
1. Recognise your objectives
The objectives may include:
- more efficient and productive operations,
- producing products and services that always meet the requirements of the customers,
- achieving customer satisfaction,
- increasing the market share of the company,
- maintaining the current market share,
- improving the communications and morale in the organisation,
- reducing costs and liabilities/debts, or
- improving the reliability of the production system.
2. Recognise the expectations of others
The interest groups include:
- the customers and end-users,
- the personnel,
- the suppliers,
- the shareholders, and
- the society.
3. Gather information on the ISO 9000 series
For further information, please refer to the ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 standards, or the SFS quality management standardisation website.
4. Apply the ISO 9000 series standards on your management system
Decide whether you want the quality management to meet the requirements of the ISO 9001 standard and be certified, or whether to apply for the national quality award.
Use the ISO 9001 standard as the basis for the certification.
When applying for the quality award, use the ISO 9004 standard together with the national quality award criteria.
5. Find instructions on certain issues related to the quality management system
Quality management standards
Quality management publications
6. Find out your current status, and define the differences between your quality management system and the ISO 9001 standard
You can use one or several methods, such as
- self-assessment or
- assessment by an external organisation.
7. Define the steps necessary for delivering the products to your customers
Study the requirements presented in the ISO 9001:2000 standard, section “Producing the product”, to define whether they apply to your quality management system, including
- the processes related to the customer,
- design and/or development,
- the purchasing operations,
- the production and service operations, and
- the monitoring of the measurement and monitoring equipment.
8. Draft a plan for correcting the differences recognised in step 6 and for developing the processes in step 7
Recognise the actions required for correcting the differences, reserve the required resources, allocate the assignments, and draft a schedule. Sections 4.1 and 7.1 of the ISO 9001:2000 standard offer further information to be considered when drafting the plan.
9. Implement your plan
Carry out all of the required and planned actions according to the schedule.
10. Perform internal evaluations periodically
Use the ISO 19011 standard as a guideline for auditing, questions related to the competence of the auditor, and the management of the auditing programmes.
11. Do you need to prove conformity?
If yes => Go to step 12
If no => Go to step 13.
You may need to prove conformity (certification) for various reasons, such as
- if required by your contracts,
- for market-related reasons or by demand of your customers,
- if required by statutory requirements,
- for the purposes of risk management, or
- in order to define a clear objective for internal quality improvements (motivation).
12. Acquire an independent auditor
Have a certified body audit and certify your quality management system based on the requirements of the ISO 9001 standard.
13. Continue to improve your operations
Study the efficiency and accuracy of your quality management system.
For improvement methods, please refer to ISO 9004:2000.
Source: The Finnish Standards Association SFS