Best practice starts with good management, says Quartz Consultancy MD
When it comes to best practice, having greater involvement in the ‘Total Quality Management Process’ – one of the key revisions of ISO 9001- 2015 – should be a top priority for senior management. Quartz Consultancy Managing Director, Lee McGuire explains…
Following my recent comments in issue 21 of Security News Desk (Making your business “future” proof, pg 19) on the subject of ISO the 9001-2015 revisions, some questions were raised about their necessity. So I thought it might be good to look more closely at the benefits that will be gained.
We should firstly say that best practice is only possible when good management exists. For bigger companies it may be seen as beneficial to appoint someone to care for the quality system internally as part of their delegation style.
The above doesn’t really fit with the ISO revision in question. Such a person was referred to as the Management Representative for Quality (MRQ) under the 2008 ISO and this individual literally had full responsibility for the Quality Management System. Revision 9001 – 2015 encourages us to move away from one individual having responsibility and encourages everyone to be involved.
“Everyone has a responsibility for quality”
Management feel so busy with other priorities that they might not think it necessary to get involved unless a serious issue was flagged up.
An immediate issue with this is that a problem might be described incorrectly and deemed as low priority. A lack of urgency when it’s necessary then creates risk to a business.
Another important aspect is that when management are aware a problem has arisen they can ensure follow-through actions. Poor execution of corrective actions corrupts any process and is damaging.
Another weakness when management are aloof is that staff might be inclined to skip a process for speed because they feel there is a lack of patience when issues surface. Once again the casualty is the problem-solving mechanism intended to make you effective.
Quality Management is the engine room of a business. It drives you forward but it needs proper maintenance and care to be reliable. It navigates your course, maps where you are and provides correction when you go off course.
Areas of special note when dealing with Revisions are these:
• Increased emphasis on management engagement with ISO9001 (Clause 5)
• Managing change (Clause 6)
• Performance and evaluation (Clause 9)
• Management review (Clause 9)
• Risk-based approach (Clause 6)
The challenge is transition from ISO 9001:2008 to the revised and improved ISO 9001:2015 standard. Support is readily available and the Quartz Team are happy to lead you through the process. You might note some essential differences: (See ISO 9001:2015 Differences)
Total Quality Management (TQM) should rightly be viewed as a rigorous process analysis by every employee and business partner, but as with all key aspects of a business, senior management need to be seen taking the lead. In practice TQM has usually been applied at the tactical, front-line level where production, clerical and junior managers are heavily involved.
In summary then, TQM works best in an environment where it is strongly led by management, is implemented by employee teams, and there is a continuous focus on process improvement that prevents errors from occurring.
Training helps create experience and this is an important value of using a qualified consultant. Staff should not simply be carrying out tasks. They should see the reasons for them and be aware of the positive impact they have.
I have mentioned previously that an affordable health check of your system is readily available to reinforce the true benefits you should be achieving.
Year on year the challenges the security industry face increase. We exist in a very demanding environment. TQM is the mirror that reflects our progress and levels of success.
A new year is a good time to check we are well prepared and focused. Take a little time to check your TQM is fit for purpose and you will be off to a great start.
All of us at Quartz Consultancy wish you a successful 2017.
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