Total Quality Management The emergence of the global marketplace demands that a company act on a global scale to be competitive. Competing on this level requires that a company provide a superior product and superior service. Companies desiring to achieve international quality status now have a manufacturing, quality control, and documentation standard in which to strive. ISO 9000 is the implemented international process management baseline for which all participating organizations will adhere. Standardization appears to be the key to survival in today’s domestic and international marketplace.
Consumers and businesses alike demand the assurances that the products they purchase from one company are equal in quality to the product they purchase from another. Consumers also demand that every product they purchase from a particular company meet the same specifications as the next. The key to developing this uniformity of standards and quality among and within companies is to establish a set of closely monitored procedures to be followed by all. The focus on the ISO 9000 and ISO 9001 standard is not on manufactured products, but the process implemented to achieve that product. By certifying a manufacturing and documentation process with the Geneva based International Organization for Standardization, registered companies have realized a dramatic decline in customer complaints and significant reductions in operating costs. This is due to the required certification process. By successfully completing the ISO 9000-registration process, companies can identify and correct processes that are costly and unproductive.
This is simply good for business. Additionally, ISO 9000 registered companies, critical of their ISO registered product, demand that their suppliers be ISO 9000 registered. The ISO 9000 series consist of five standards that fall into two categories. The five standards are ISO 9000-1, ISO 9001, ISO 9002, ISO 9003, and ISO 9000-4. The two categories provide for contractual situations and non-contractual situations. Contractual elements (ISO 9001, ISO 9002, and IO 9003) have been developed for external quality assurance. Meeting these standards indicate to a customer that a company’s quality assurance program is capable of providing a quality product or service.
Non-contractual elements, ISO 9000-1 and ISO 9004-1, used as guidance standards, have been developed to assure quality management. ISO 9001, the most extensive of the ISO 9000 series, are directed towards quality system requirements of the organization. ISO 9001 encompass all of the elements listed in ISO 9002 and ISO 9003. This standard contains twenty clauses that address issues such as management responsibility, process control, and corrective and preventative actions. These clauses are designed to promote conformity of processes such as design, production, and servicing by striving towards the goal of total quality management. ISO 9000-1 addresses quality management and quality assurance standards.
This document defines the primary concept of the series such as principal objectives and responsibilities, the process of an organization, and the roles of documentation. This document also provides a definition of terminology and provides guidance needed for all ISO 9000 series issues. ISO 9004-1 addresses internal procedures such as organizational goals, management responsibilities, training, and servicing. As in the ISO 9001 series, this series also contains twenty clauses. This is also the standard, which provides for the most misunderstandings. It is important that companies completing the certification process understand the relationship of this standard to the other ISO 9000 family standards.
Clauses within the ISO 9004-1 standard provide the foundation for completing certain ISO 9001 requirements. The purpose of proper documentation is not to create enormous amounts of paper, but to assist the company in its undertaking of implementing ISO 9000 standards. Implementing any project of magnitude requires a formal project plan. The minimum topics that should be covered in a project plan are project definition, structure, responsibilities, results and analysis, schedules, required resources, and constraints. Once these requirements are defined, the process of implementation can begin.
Systematically categorizing and adherence to the project plan are necessary. It is important to remember that this documentation will be scrutinized during the certification process. Documentation procedures are a critical element of the management process. They should be used to provide information such as reference points, definitions of responsibilities and authorities, and the identification of errors and resolutions. Adequate documentation such as this will provide a reference, and if followed correctly will lead to further standardization throughout the organization, which is the objective of this process. The success of the ISO 9000 standard has led to its implementation and application to government and non-commercial industry.
Federal government agencies adopting this standard include Department of Defense (DOD,) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA,) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to name but a few. The DOD is now using the ISO 9000 series as a standard for new contracts instead of the MIL specification widely used throughout industry in the U.S. OSHA, desiring to improve their internal quality management objectives has used many of the ISO 9000 guidelines. NASA has also implemented the ISO 9000 series toward contracts and has applied the standard agency wide. ISO 9000 has gained acceptance in the software industry because of its structured, well-defined processes.
An extension is ISO 9000-3 that was developed in response to customer demand, pressure from competitors, and the need for improved quality and efficiency in the software industry. This standard continues to provide guidance, terms, and definitions specific to the software development industry. During the past decade, there has been an enormous amount of environmental policies developed and implemented worldwide. These policies have determined that a major threat to our environment is the chemical industry. Chemical companies now understand that if they are to continue to do business, they must comply with these strict environmental policies. Providing proper, consistent documentation relevant to their processes is crucial if they are to meet regulations.
Their answer to this dilemma is to implement initiatives directed toward standardization. This standardization is ISO 9000. The metal industry is approaching the ISO 9000 standards from a total quality management aspect, geared towards internal improvements. Many companies, succeeding in implementing this process have made the same observations. Employees, being empowered, are performing their duties with less direct supervision and are more productive. Processes have become more efficient due to the formalized standardization process, and continuous improvement is now the objective. It is important to remember that no single approach to implementation of ISO 9000 will accommodate all companies, as all have different needs and requirements.
In order for a company to implement these processes, certain guidelines must be met. Solid backing by senior management is mandatory. These individuals are to set an example for their subordinates; therefore, their open support is essential. Proper preparation and planning are important. Lack of planning provides for confusion, which leads to failure. Part of the implementation process is building upon processes in place that work. Reengineering systems that are productive and cost efficient are counterproductive and a waste of time.
. Documentation of every step and process is necessary in that it not only provides a record, but also a baseline in which to verify progress. Flexibility is also essential. Reassessment is necessary if the results derived from a specific process are not what were intended. Employee involvement is crucial. As a process is implemented company wide, employee at all levels will be effected. Their confidence in management and belief that the process will improve all aspects of their position is required if they are to be productive and play a part in the implementation process.
Standardization is necessary in today’s global marketplace. Consumers demand better quality products and the assurances that these products are well supported. The standardization of processes and systems is necessary if industry is to meet the consumers’ requirements. Developing uniformity among industry is necessary to developing this higher quality standard. Companies not responding to this trend are subject to lost revenues and business failure to their ISO 9000 compliant counterparts. References Larson, J.
(1999, April 21). ISO certification not just for majors. Arizona Republic, p. E2. Peach, Robert W.
(1997). The ISO 9000 handbook. New York: McGraw-Hill (1999). The NASA ISO 9000 home page [Online]. Available: http://iso9000.nasa.gov/ (1999).
Welcome to ISO easy [Online]. Available: http://www.isoeasy.org/ Bibliography References Larson, J. (1999, April 21). ISO certification not just for majors. Arizona Republic, p. E2.
Peach, Robert W. (1997). The ISO 9000 handbook. New York: McGraw-Hill (1999). The NASA ISO 9000 home page [Online]. Available: http://iso9000.nasa.gov/ (1999). Welcome to ISO easy [Online]. Available: http://www.isoeasy.org/ Business Essays.