Thursday, 8 September 2016

ISO 9001:2015 | In Plain English

As a layman would understand it, here is another attempt to know the importance of ISO 9001:2015 standard in the day to day working of an organization.

As we know, an  organization comes into being to achieve certain purposes - purposes of its own & the purposes of people/entities that get associated with it.

Additionally, an organization is nothing but a "portfolio of activities".

Hence, an organization has to manage the portfolio of activities to fulfill these purposes in order to maintain its existence.

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Matter of thought:

ISO 9001 is not "saying" what you do, but, "showing" what you do.

ISO 9001 is not about "intentions", but, how you "implement the intentions".

When one studies the standard, we frequently come across the words like "identify", "determine", "establish" etc.

These words connote the meaning "to know". This means that an organization has to be conscious/awake to the fact as to what it is doing & how it is doing it.

The word "control" is also frequently mentioned in the standard. Its because you have got to have the control on any particular thing in order that you can take it in the desired direction or to the desired destination.

However, many of the companies continue to work in a haphazard manner  - not knowing where they want to go & how they want to go there. Indulging in patch works. Instead of consistently marching forward towards its purpose, the organization keeps going left & right.

Can you control an unbridled horse or a rudderless boat? Or can you manage a stampede?

ISO 9001:2015 requires you to lay down the track (the system) & make your train (the company) run on it. And it continues to do so thorough need based or periodic course corrections.

Now, what is this track or the system & how one establishes it?

The track here consists of the activities that an organization does, specifically the signification ones. Interesting thing about these activities is that they do not happen on their own. These activities happen only when men & machines act.

Hence, you have got to rein in or harness these men & machines so that each of these prove to be a step forward in the direction of your destination/goal. 

The top management at the firm, the boss, is the driver of this train & he/she has the responsibility to drive the train to its destination. And this is what ISO 9001:2015 recommends to achieve this through PDCA cycle- Plan, Do, Check & Act -

Plan: Plan the activities that you want to do. What is to be done(action), how it is to be done(concept), when it is to be done (time/sequence), by whom it is to be done (man/machine), how & when the activity/man & machine will be monitored, etc.

Do: Execute the plan by putting it into action. Get you men, material & machine rolling.

Check: Verify if your men, material & machines are operating as per the plan or not. Validate if your plan is effective, whether it is achieving the intended result or not. Do periodic reviews to know whether you are on right track or not.

Act: The feedback obtained through the "check" mechanism, be acted upon by incorporating it into your system. These are course correction activities.

Yes, though PDCA cycle, you go round & round to move forward.

Documentation Requirements:

The standard requires you to document/write down what an organization does.

This way, you make the applied concepts & actions VISIBLE which further helps in better understanding, control & management.

Monday, 7 March 2016

ISO 9001 -Quality Management System

What is at the core?

ISO 9001 - quality management system is fundamentally based on PDCA.

The aim of this methodology is to bring consistency in the management system.

"To ensure that the best mechanism that has been identified, is done repeatedly at all times by all concerned."

PDCA stands for - 

P  =  Plan
D = Do
C = Check
A = Act

Plan: 

As is obvious, to achieve the desired results, an organization is required to plan its activities. 

Planning involves identifying & aligning activities/resources in a manner that the desired result is achieved.

Yes, to plan is to get it on paper before it is to be put into practice.

This addresses the key questions like - What is to be done? Why it is to be done? How it is to be done? When it is to be done? By whom it is to be done? Where it is to be done?

To get a feel of how important planning is, think of the contrary words like haphazardly, arbitrarily, randomly, etc.

Do:

Once you have done the planning, next is the implementation/execution of that plan. Put to use the processes you have identified, the resources (man-material-machine) you have aligned.

Check:

Review what you planned & what you did. Address the gaps if you find any. May be the plan can be improved upon; may be the plan was okay but there was derailment in implementation, take note of the insights that your planning & doing must have brought up.

Act:

Now, you are required to incorporate the results back into your planning, that you must have got while checking/reviewing process.

Then act again on the revised plan & follow it up with check & act processes.