Sunday, March 06, 2005

Performance excellence models work well with ISO 9000 standards

In general, there are two recognized principal source materials that are useful for the development of an organization’s quality approach: ISO 9000 standards and performance excellence models (quality awards criteria). In any organization, it is beneficial to use them both simultaneously as general references for improving quality of management. They support very well each others because they have the same basic aim, excellence of the organizational performance, and very similar structure and contents. However, they have also differences that originate from their backgrounds. While the standards reflect a large international consensus for harmonization of the approaches for quality management and quality assurance, the performance excellence models are based on the development of a national competitiveness towards excellence. In the standards the views of quality experts are emphasized and the excellence models reflect especially the organizational management and leadership views. It is just due to both the similarities and the differences that their simultaneous use is beneficial for the company. Thus, it is very important for the development of the company-wide quality approach to understand the effective relationship of these important references of the professional quality management. Then also possible conflicts between them can be avoided.

The excellence model does not give any recipes for the development. The award criteria are for strategic performance assessments – particularly for self-assessments carried out by the top management in an organization – and the standards in searching standard guidance for the development of business performance after assessments. However, self-assessment activity is also an important element of the ISO 9004 standard. The standard even includes a simplified method for self-assessment that is based on the quality awards models. Nevertheless, advanced organizations can go directly to using awards models. That is also the recommendation of the standard.

Starting point for using ISO 9000 standards and performance excellence models should always organization's own business system including planning, controlling, and improving activities. General recognized quality management references may provide good support for these managerial tasks. They give also an appropriate basis for a variety of possibilities of the quality assurance. (see the attached diagram)


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