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Quality Management Principles

Elements and requirements of a Quality Management System

ISO 9001 describes eight key quality management principles. These principles are not auditable. However, they do form fundamental characteristics of quality management and are useful to consider when developing the QMS.

Quality Management Principles

1. Customer Focus and Customer Satisfaction

A key aspect in the QMS is to consistently meet customer requirements to ensure they are satisfied with the products. This requires the organisation to understand their customers, what they need and when. As a business consistently meets (and exceed) customers expectations their loyalty increases, business reputation increases and revenues may rise.

2. Leadership

Leadership refers to the direction of the organisation. The business should have clear goals and objectives and ensure its employees are committed to achieving those targets. The management will play a key leadership role – overseeing the implementation of policies and procedures; ensuring sufficient resources are allocated to each department; and employee engagement.

3. People Involvement

Communication between the organisation and customers is important to address any concerns and enhance customer satisfaction. The engagement of people can include through email, phone, letter, surveys and social media platforms, among others.

4. Process Approach

The process approach is a management strategy which manages the processes that make up their business and the interaction between these processes. Understanding and managing processes helps the business to consistently achieve the desired products more efficiently.

5. A Systematic approach to management

The systems approach requires the organisation to treat the organisation as a system whereby they identify, understand and manage how the interrelated processes contribute to the organisations effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its objectives, i.e. help ensure the organisation achieves it objectives using minimum resources. For example, the systems approach may consider: suppliers; raw material inputs; sequence of processes; people, infrastructure, equipment and resources; the final product; and customers.

6. Continual Improvement

Continual improvement is a recurring activity which involves the organisation assessing the performance of their QMS and developing recommendations for improvement. Continual improvements can be carried out by conducting supplier evaluations, internal and external audits, management reviews and bench marking projects. If there are changes identified in order to improve the performance of the QMS, these corrective actions need to be performed before the next audit or evaluation.

7. Evidence based decision making

Decisions should be made based on factual data and analysis. Informed decisions lead to improved understanding and an ability to defend past decisions.

8. Mutually beneficial supplier relations

The relationship between an organisation and its suppliers are interdependent. A strong relationship enhances productivity; encourages optimum working practices; and allows greater flexibility of joint responses to changing markets and expectations.

What we would like you to do

Please share your thoughts on the principles of quality management.

  • Do you think they are important within the QMS?

  • Do you think they are hard to include?

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