This article explains the key principles of quality management in businesses that organizations should follow to achieve the ISO 9001 certification.

ISO 9001 is the most recognized standard around the world aimed at strengthening quality management in business. Organizations are increasingly achieving the ISO 9001 certification to validate their Quality Management System (QMS) and show their best efforts in maintaining the quality of products/services. While the certification is meant for standardization of the quality management practices in the organizations, it is based on several principles. The fundamental requirements of the standard are based on a set of principles. Hence, to get the standard, you need to follow the principles. They are mostly generic and apply to any business of any size. They are introduced in the standard to help the organizations improve their QMS and make it more appropriate. The next section talks about the 7 key principles that your organization should abide by to achieve the ISO 9001 standard.

7 Principles of Quality Management as Introduced by the ISO 9001 Certification

1. Customers are the First Priority

Of course, customers come first in every business. A successful business is one that perceives all the interests and expectations of their customers and also fulfill them. The ISO 9001 standard firstly emphasizes this fact and requires the implementation of a QMS that helps in delivering products/services catering perfectly to the needs of customers. Consistently meeting the expectations of the customers also helps a business to establish credibility in its respective industry and get a competitive edge.

2. Governance by Strong Leaders

The next key principle is solid participation or governance by the leaders in implementing the QMS and promoting quality practices across the organization. Leadership is necessary to give direction to the employees regarding the functioning of the QMS. When leaders are involved, it creates a sense of responsibility among the employees and they are encouraged to follow the quality practices established by them. Leadership is hence necessary to enable the employees take ownership of the practices to achieve the common organizational goals i.e., higher quality and customer satisfaction.

3. Participation of the Organization’s People

The above principle funnels down to this principle which is absolute involvement of the individual members or employees of the organization to ensure a strong quality culture is established. Engagement of people also ensures long-term assurance of quality and compliance of your organization with the ISO 9001 standard. However, to engage the people, adequate training and ISO 9001 learning sessions must be provided to help them understand their roles regarding quality management.

4. Process-Based Approach

This is one of the key principles that help organizations to achieve consistency in their quality management. The processes of your organization should be streamlined and improved to ensure that the quality of products/services is maintained. A common way to ensure a process-based approach in your organization is the cyclical PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) methodology. It consists of four steps which are determining the inputs and expected outputs of the processes, implementing them appropriately, checking them frequently to determine scopes for improvement, and initiating the improvements.

5. Ongoing Improvement

This principle of ISO 9001 underlines the importance of improving quality management as the organization grows. It means your organization’s QMS should be able to respond to the evolving expectations of customers as well as changing internal and external circumstances in the business. For this, you need to regularly review your processes and determine the improvements required in them to continuously focus on quality optimization while the organization is growing.

6. Decision-making Based on Available Data

This principle requires evidence-based decision decision-making in the organizations as it results in more success and more satisfaction of the customers. According to this principle, you should gather data and information resources from all related internal and external sources of your business. That data should be evaluated to make any decisions regarding products/services. Using real-time information or evidence always results in the best decisions that benefit both your organization and customers.

7. Maintaining Great Relationships with Stakeholders

Quality management is also about ensuring better relationships with customers, investors, partners, vendors, suppliers and other business agents. Their interests and feedback must be acknowledged to make improvements in the processes and modify the QMS. In simple words, your organization should be able to use the QMS for maintaining its relationships with the stakeholders.

These 7 elementary principles form the basis of your QMS and also help to secure the ISO 9001 certification. Adhering to these is necessary to provide maximum value to your customers as well as other stakeholders. Implementing the QMS by following these principles also ensures that your organization gets a uniform quality culture established through strong leadership and it is improved over time.

Author's Bio: 

Damon Anderson is a leading ISO consultant and founder of a reputed ISO certification consulting company that offers a range of consultation and assurance services to businesses for achieving ISO standards. He specializes in the ISO 9001 certification and likes to write articles in his free time regarding the standard and the QMS.

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