Why has the ISO 9001:2008 quality management standard got a bad name??
I was at a networking gig recently where I was trying to sell the ISO9001:2008 quality management system to potential clients. As often happens I got chatting to a girl who stated: “Oh yeah, that ISO thing, we had that years ago, it was far too time consuming, mountains of paperwork”.
The reality is that the old ISO standard WAS too time consuming. There WAS too much of an emphasis on documentation where volume was more important than substance. Other inhibiting factors included the fact that the International Standard insisted on monthly management reviews!! It was also common to hear that Quality Managers were spending up to a week in a dark room sorting out their paper work and quality system prior to their annual surveillance audit.
The International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) is the body responsible for developing and publishing International Standards like the quality assurance standard ISO9001:2008. The ISO actively engages in getting customer feedback from around the globe concerning the performance and management of the Quality Management System. This feedback resulted in the ISO Standard being redeveloped to take account of the concerns raised by customers. The updated standard ISO 9001:2008 was rolled out in 2008.
The key concerns raised in the old standard were addressed. The documentation requirements were streamlined. Company’s can now replace monthly management meetings with quarterly reviews. The updated standard embraces software tools that simplify the management of the Quality Management Standard. Technology has been the single biggest change that has affected the implementation and management of the ISO 9001:2008 standard, yet, a recent survey of 150 certified Irish companies found that over 75% of those surveyed only used basic software like Word or Excel to manage their quality system.
Document Control & Quality Management Software
A good Quality Management Software product should bring together all the tools required for a Quality Management System. These modern products continuously improve processes and quality control, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction, internal efficiencies, and profitability. Some software systems also act as a flexible, single-point management reference for all aspects of any organisation’s quality program. Document management systems will control the issuing, approval, storage and archiving of all key documents contained within a quality management system.
The advantages of using quality management software include the following:
- Computerised document management with automated document approval, control and archiving processes resulting in time saving and reduced costs.
- Real time corrective action systems that allow detailed problem and cost analysis.
- Diagnostic health check capability that ensures your company complies with your selected quality standard.
- Reporting tools that allow the user generate summary reports of all quality related activity for any given date range.
Helps businesses to reduce admin costs thereby increasing efficiencies and bottom-line performance.
So forget the bad name. The next time you are socialising where somebody is moaning on about how time consuming and paper driven the ISO 9001:2008 standard is, think again. Research the web and identify suitable technology that will simplify the management of your chosen standard.