Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The work for the new version of the ISO 9000 standards is in progress.

There is a very important and major revision to the standard ISO 9004 going on in the standardization committee ISO/TC176/SC2. In the standard ISO 9001 there will be no factual development but only amendments. The new versions will be published in 2008.

ISO 9004:2008 is primarily targeted to strategic and operational management of organizations. The standard will support the development of an organization on achieving sustainable success. It will be complementary to performance excellence models. It is not intention to be a guidance document for implementation of ISO 9001:2008. In the responsible working group there was a strong motion that this new standard will be repositioned in the 9000 family of standards as the core document. This repositioning should mean right content, new numbering (possibly ISO 9000:2008 instead of ISO 9004:2008), and a suitable promotion. The concept quality management system is no more used in the standard but in stead of it management system. The contents of the standard include:

  • Organizational environment
  • Organizational identity
  • Strategic imperatives
  • Management responsibility
  • Resources management
  • Product realization
  • Measurements, analysis and improvements
  • Results and sustainable organization
  • Feedback and learning
  • Strategic improvement and innovation
  • Extended process model
  • Self-assessment

Already now the advanced organizations could (and should) start planing for this new standard of "Managing for sustainable success through quality".

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Quality and quality management are broad concepts but entail a deep understanding

Quality concept covers all the aspects in any organization’s products and activities that are significant from the organization’s business point of view. Similarly also quality management (i.e. quality of management) includes all the responsibilities and activities of an organization’s management and leadership, e.g. managing

  • finances
  • product quality
  • business risks and business continuity
  • human resource development
  • knowledge and competences
  • business information and information security
  • occupational health and safety factors
  • corporate security
  • environmental protection
  • social responsibility
  • business communications
  • technology
  • innovations
  • ethics

Also related ISO 9000 standards (especially ISO 9004) give guidance and models for general principles and practices for all managing responsibilities. However, within various above mentioned specialized areas of management there may be very differently established management practices. For instance, in the area of financial management the last decades have seen a development of widely adopted de facto principles and practices, such as budgeting and accounting practices. Additionally, there are many internationally recognized and accepted standards for the different specialized management areas.


If there are within an organization distinct and different management approaches sponsored by different experts, this will sooner or later generally entail negative effects to the whole. In this connection it is common that one hears talk about such-and-such a system, for example of a quality system or an information security system. In order to avoid negative effects, it would be better to talk rather about the “systematicity” (systematic approach) instead of a system. In this case “systematicity” would refer to including the "flavor" of that special expertise in actual business management practices.

If distinct management areas are allowed to become overly emphasized due to their independence and distinctness, a common consequence of this is also conflicts occurring between these different areas, for instance in connection with prioritizing and realizing various initiatives and projects. Such conflicts concern especially two management levels of an organization:

  • The CEO, because his or her commitment in all areas is desired
  • Business processes, because everyone wants to make an impact and be effectively taken into account in key business process operations

A futile competitive situation between different doctrines can be avoided only if an organization has a sufficiently solid leadership system of its own, one which enables it to utilize all those doctrines which have proved to be useful, based on its own deliberations.

The reason why the broad quality integration has often not taken place effectively could be the fact that a company's own leadership system has not yet taken shape to a sufficient degree, resulting in the lack of points to "grasp onto". It might also be the case that specialized management issues are delegated too broadly to experts, who will then create their own special systems, even by emphasizing their own position. Moreover, very often many concepts and basic principles of different expertise are foreign to business managers.