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Preparing ISO 9001 Quality Management System

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Published on Jun 12, 2010

http://www.e-wia.com
The implementation of an ISO 9001 conformance system must recognize that it is but a step in a long-term development of a continually improving QMS. Unfortunately, it is often the case that ISO 9001 is taken as a means to an end, where the implementation of a QMS is not the primary objective, rather certification is. As a result, SMEs may end up with stacks of documentation waiting to be processed that adds no value, but cost.
According to the requirements of ISO 9001, an organization must develop only six documented procedures: (1) control of documents, (2) control of quality records, (3) ISO 9001 Internal Audits, (4) control of non-conformities in ISO 9001 Standard, (5) ISO 9001 Standard Corrective Action, and (6) preventative action. A quality manual and several records are also required. The development of other ISO 9001 Standard Procedures, ISO 9001 Standard Work Instructions, and other ISO 9001 Standard documents is largely at the discretion of the organization. From the very beginning of the process, it is therefore essential that SMEs establish a balanced view between a short-term focus (marketing/sales) and a long-term focus (achieving company-wide quality awareness through TQM). ISO 9001 documentation should be considered as an enabler along that way and SMEs must guard against the creation of unnecessary documentation.

However, even when such a view is adopted, many SMEs struggle to move from their initial state to a fully functional ISO 9001 QMS. Over the last several years, we have been involved in ISO 9001 implementation projects in seven different SMEs. The SMEs have ranged in size from approximately 20 employees to 500 employees. The SMEs have been drawn from a variety of sectors in Virginia, including manufacturing, distribution, and services. Based on our experience, we developed a schematic of initial states of an organization in terms of the existence and functionality the ISO 9001 standard documentation required by the standard while functionality is equated with an effectively operated QMS that leads to increased customer satisfaction and continuous improvement of business results. A successful QMS must be fully functional and appropriately documented. With that in mind, there are four main states in which SMEs can be located in the beginning of the implementation process.

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