Breaking News

Why Your Quality Assurance Management System Must Keep Improving

It's amazing how many organisations take the journey towards achieving quality assurance in Queensland but then simply relax and think it will all take care of itself. It won't!

With any management system or Standard it's as much about the destination, as the journey. It's like taking a flight to possibly the most amazing place in the world, brimming with opportunity, and then just staying in your hotel room!

International Standards are not designed to be static - if they were, ISO wouldn't keep bringing out updates!
Whether you are implementing a quality assurance management system, safety management system or environmental management system, the aim is to continually review and evolve.

Missing the point

The answer to that might be this: the system is in, it's working, and business is doing okay, so why do we need to do more?

Fair enough, all of that is true, but it's rather missing the point!

Achieving Quality Management System ISO 9001 is not like sitting an exam where, if you pass, you get a certificate and it's all over.

Like an exam, or attaining any worthwhile qualification, it does involve learning and studying, and a degree of testing. But achieving that certificate is just the beginning of an organisation's journey towards becoming the very best that it can be.

Instrumental in facilitating global trade, ISO continually reviews its many standards to ensure they are relevant to what's happening in business and trade.

Range of challenges

They take into account a range of challenges faced by organisations today, including  technological, environmental, economic, legal, social and political.

Clearly, all those factors are constantly changing, and so must business itself, if it is to keep up and stay relevant.

The next step is to talk to specialist management system consultants and trainers to find out what your business needs, and how it will benefit.

With a solid plan in place, it's easy to decide a timetable to incorporate training, implementation and, if taken to its logical conclusion, certification.

ISO's goal is to produce standards that can be used by any organisation, anywhere, as solid business tools.
The tools to succeed

And with these tools, businesses will be better placed to keep up with the changes and challenges they face today.

It's certainly not easy to be in business, compared to how it was a few decades ago. Let's say you own a bakery. Years ago, yours would probably have been the only bakery in town. You had no competition. If people wanted bread and baked goods, their only option was to buy from you, even if your prices were too high and the quality of your bread was poor.

Basically, you could get away with it because you held the monopoly.

Today, you're unlikely to be the only baker in town. There are probably several. And to make it even harder, there are food stores, supermarkets and even petrol stations selling bread and cakes.

That's why you need to establish a point of difference for your business. How do you do that?

Marketing strategy

You can open for longer hours, offer free delivery, slash your prices, and so on. But while some of those ideas may have their place in your overall marketing strategy, there is something more important.

Quality and consistency. A fair price for the best product. And a product that's fit for purpose.

But improving quality and basically offering the customer more bang for their buck will cost me money, you might say.

Actually, no. Over time, a quality management system will not only save you money, but also increase your bottom line.

For example, it will enable you to reduce waste and avoid duplication. And so lower your costs.

It will enable you to consistently produce a quality product, and that means less or no returns, and a better reputation, leading to improved word-of-mouth marketing and organic growth.

Engage your staff

It will engage all your staff, from management to counter, giving them pride in their work and a sense of ownership in their role. And we all know happy staff are productive staff.

These are just some of the many advantages of implementing a quality management system.

By taking this to the next stage, and achieving Quality Management System ISO 9001 certification, you now have another weapon against the competition! You now have official recognition that you are producing quality goods, with an official stamp of approval - literally - on your website and packaging.

However, ISO 9001 does require continual review and improvement, and your customers would expect nothing less.

Indeed, Clause 8.5.1 of ISO 9001 states: "The organization shall continually improve the effectiveness of the quality management system (QMS) through the use of the quality policy, quality objectives, audit results, analysis of data, corrective and preventive action, and management review.'

Point of difference

We know in this world of choice and 24-hour availability, customers expect to get what they want and, if they don't, they will vote with their feet - down the road to your competitor.

With ISO, continual review and improvement is not hard, though, as all the tools are there and, by that point, your staff are committed to the process.

Why not make 2016 the year you achieve your best ever point of difference?