Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Quality management system - What is it for?

The concept quality management system (QMS) - that is absolutely central concept in quality management realizations in all organizations - has largely been misused. Still many organizations are using the obsolete concept “quality system” although it does not exist any more in the ISO 9000 standards.

ISO 9000 quality management system is not defined by ISO 9001 only. One must necessarily take into account also ISO 9004 topics. In fact, ISO 9001 is a part of ISO 9004.

According to ISO 9000, a quality management system refers specifically to the management system, i.e. the system used for business management and leadership, comprised of organizational structures, approaches, processes, and resources, and which meets primarily business needs of the organization. “Quality” is an attribute of the management system implying, that appropriate professional management and leadership principles and means are applied within the organization’s management and leadership system in order to ensure and increase its effectiveness and efficiency. Thus, quality management system equals to quality of management system.

Applying the ISO 9000 definition of concept quality to management system we may get the formal definition for the quality of management system. That is: "Degree to which a set of inherent characteristics of a management system fulfils the needs and expectations of organization’s stakeholders". The management system includes both strategic and operational management activities.

The standards present a standardized approach for these principles and means. In real business environments the genuine quality management system can never be a distinct system and only for a quality expertise. A real quality management system is always seamlessly integrated or embedded into the leadership system of a business. The quality management system is realized especially through combining business processes with professional quality methodology. Distinct management systems, including quality systems, upheld by different organizational (support) functions and different specialized experts, will sooner or later generally entail negative effects to the business.

Factually each organization can have only one holistic business management system, and when that system creates sustainable business success it can be called “quality management system”.

Friday, February 18, 2005

ISO 9000 standards guide to performance excellence

ISO 9000 is a set of standards to present the international recognized foundation for general needs and expectations of quality management and quality assurance. ISO 9000 standards are aimed to be and really can be useful and recognized reference material for the innovative development of any organization’s business performance towards the level of excellence.

The basic standards of the ISO 9000 family are ISO 9004 and ISO 9001 that form a consistent pair of quality management (QM) and quality assurance (QA) standards. ISO 9001 cannot operate effectively or efficiently without taking into account the foundation of ISO 9004 and understanding clearly the key concepts and principles of the standards.

The latest (year 2000) revision of the standards gives excellent opportunities for changing organization’s standards application strategies for achieving real business benefits instead of only bulding and maintaining artificial distinct "quality syatems". The new version of the standards to be published in 2008 will reinforce this aspect.

The ISO 9000 standards have been assembled into a two-dimensional entity. The central part of the standards is aimed at developing the systematic approach of the internal quality management of a company, whereas the other part of the standards series has to do with determining quality assurance measures applied for servicing external communications with organization’s stakeholders (interested parties), especially customers:

  • Quality Management, QM, which is for the internal use of an organization and the goal of which is to develop and improve organization’s business performance towards excellence in a systematic manner. This topic area is described in the ISO 9004 standard.
  • Quality Assurance, QA, the purpose of which is to provide the customer with factual information concerning how well the organization can fulfill the requirements of an order or contract and thus reinforce confidence and enhance satisfaction among the customers. Quality assurance aspects are focused on in the ISO 9001 standard.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Why a professional quality management approach in any kind of organization?

The ultimate aim of quality management (QM) is to strive for ensuring the organization to achieve its strategic and operational goals, and for enhancing effectiveness and efficiency of business management and leadership. Thus, genuine realization of the QM practices take place through integration in real business activities both in organization's strategic leadership as well as in the operational realization of organization’s products (goods and services). In this approach all relevant stakeholders (interested parties) should also be taken into account in accordance with their appropriate roles.

Effective use of professional expertise of quality integration makes continual improvment of business performance possible towards business excellence. This happens through

  • increasing competencies within business leaders, operators, and experts
  • diminishing uncertainties in in business activities
  • releasing resources of business leaders from acute problem clearing to proactive business measures
  • avoiding amateurism and trial-and-error approach in business actions
  • gaining respect of professionalism within partners

Quality management approach is essential for customer or supplier relationships or partnerships. When quality management (QM) equals quality of management, its sub-domain quality assurance (QA) is to create and strengthen confidence among organization's customers and other interested parties.

The well-known ISO 9000 standard-based concept of Quality Management System (QMS) should factually be understood as good / excellent systematic and holistic way to manage an organization.