In a world where customers gravitate towards the best products and services, upholding high levels of quality as a business is a no-brainer. Being quality-centric in all your business processes ensures you can steer away from common errors. It can also improve your overall productivity as well as improve your customer retention rates.
While there are various standards you can follow to improve the quality of your daily operations, the ISO 9000 standard remains to be one of the best. Even better, it is recognized globally, which could make it easier to do business the world over. The ISO 9000 family consists of five standards.
Here is a breakdown of the ISO 9000 family, and how to implement the standards into your operations:
The ISO 9000 and Members of the Family
The ISO 9000 presents both a quality standard and a group of quality standards. It can be referred to as a group of quality management standards that help businesses and organizations implement and document a couple of quality standards and maintain an efficient quality system. With it, companies can meet regulatory requirements, satisfy customer needs, and embrace continual improvement. The best way to implement ISO 9000 standards is to have a quality management system. The family consists of a couple of standards, such as:
- ISO 9000- describes quality management standards, which includes vocabulary and fundamentals
- ISO 9001- quality systems dealing with quality in design and processes
- ISO 9002- similar to ISO 9001, but deals primarily with existing product lines
- ISO 9003- quality systems dealing with final inspection and tests
- ISO 9004- quality systems dealing with an organization’s long-term success
The Benefits of Implementing ISO 9000 Standards
The family of standards promises a variety of benefits for your business, customers, and workforce. For the business, you can enjoy reduced rates of error and increased cost and time savings. You could also learn how to leverage data to improve daily processes while looking for ways to automate manual tasks. Since ISO 9000 is globally recognized, it could give your brand credibility in the global community. Lastly, the standards will give you a competitive edge, which promises a bigger profit potential and increasing market share.
Since customer satisfaction is a core focus of the ISO 9000 standards, you can build your way into improving your customer retention rates. Clients typically gravitate towards companies that have ISO 9000 certifications as it proves they take quality seriously. Even better, complying with the standard makes it easy to spot errors in products and services before they can reach the customer.
The ISO 9000 standards can direct your workforce in the right way by helping you build a culture of continuous improvement. Employees will feel more engaged in their daily activities, while various quality-related tasks will be assigned to specific individuals. The fact that all roles are clearly defined could promote workplace happiness. Employees can also enjoy some job security from the increased efficiency that the standards promote. Lastly, recruiting, training, and onboarding employees become easier with the requirements outlined in the standards.
How to Implement ISO 9000 Standards
Investing in a quality management system (QMS) is a core part of being compliant with ISO 9000 standards. A QMS will offer you a tool through which you can document your policies and track and measure results. When it comes to proving certification, a QMS can offer you the upper hand. Compliance follows four steps:
Planning is one of the biggest parts of complying with ISO 9000 standards. You need to understand what path your company should take to comply. For instance, you will need to define what quality looks like for your business, set objectives, identify risks and opportunities presented by your QMS, and create a quality policy for implementing these plans. The policy can include aspects like the delegation of tasks, your organizational structure, and the processes the system covers.
Execution is as easy as putting your plans into action. For the parts of the plan, you cannot execute in-house, try outsourcing to other able individuals or businesses. One very important component of the implementation phase is to ensure that you document the processes. You should make sure that the changes you put into place are measurable, and that you have failsafe measures in place.
Next, you need to ensure the measures you have in place are working as required. The specific of how you measure effectiveness is at the discretion of your business. Your initial definition of quality will determine how you track success. For instance, you can track progress through customer satisfaction surveys, inventory logs, internal audits, floating stock levels, and delivery times.
During the ‘measurement’ phase, you are bound to identify anomalies or issues with how your quality management plan is being implemented. While some issues could arise from big errors, others could only require small tweaks to improve efficiency. Ideally, implementing tweaks for the small changes can be done and recorded immediately. If something could cause monumental changes to your QMS, it is best that you start looking at it from the ‘planning’ and ‘implementation’ phase.
Quality management isn’t a one-time process, and it requires multiple revisits. By pushing the boundaries of quality, your entire organizations and customer base stand to win big. Take your time understanding and implementing the ISO 9000 standards to create a sustainable future for your business.