Company leaders’ involvement in quality is a hot topic among quality managers thanks to major changes in the world’s most recognized quality standard: ISO 9001. Which of the following profiles do you most readily identify with?
The traditionalist: You adhere to a long-held view of quality management in which responsibility for any defects lies with production, not with senior management. Your production manager is a professional, and you believe that making him accountable will motivate him to work hard.
The delegator: You have invested in quality management, not least by employing a Quality Manager, whose role it is to put in place a Quality Management System (QMS) and make sure it’s followed. You take an interest, but ultimately, it’s her job, and you don’t follow the details.
The quality leader: As a top manager, you know you are responsible for the QMS and have put in place a comprehensive policy with detailed objectives that managers you have personally designated track and report on.If the last profile rings true, you are among a new breed of managers who put quality management on an equal footing with other strategic management activities. There’s a fairly simple reason that this is increasingly seen as the smart approach to quality management: customers. Senior management is responsible for sales, and therefore customer satisfaction. As such, it makes sense that they would be accountable for the factor most likely to impact satisfaction: quality. Strong leadership is essential to drive quality through the organization and, as a result, improve customer satisfaction.
DRIVING QUALITY IMPROVEMENT THROUGH LEADERSHIP
The new ISO 9001:2015 standard is a comprehensive revision of previous quality standard ISO 9001: 2008. Like the previous version, it helps you put in place a Quality Management System (QMS) that meets your business’ strategic ambitions and processes. However it goes one step further, ensuring quality is driven from the top, while empowering individuals throughout the organization to meet quality objectives. As a leader, you commit to three essential ideas:
1) The QMS, policy and objectives must be relevant (and used: not sitting on a shelf gathering dust!).
2) Top management is accountable for the QMS, including allocating the resources it needs, although they may designate responsibility for tracking and achieving specific targets to middle managers.
3) To achieve their aims, top management must be passionate advocates of the QMS, communicating on key concepts such as the process approach and risk-based thinking, and encouraging employees and managers to get involved in the QMS, and make improvements.
In this sense, ISO 9001:2015 differs markedly from the previous ISO 9001:2008. By demanding greater involvement from companies’ leadership, it places quality at the heart of business management and makes it a strategic tool for improving customer satisfaction.
TRANSITION THE EASY WAY TO THE NEW ISO 9001:2015
To gain and maintain their certification, companies turn to independent certification bodies, who carry out yearly audits, and provide an impartial view on areas for improvement. Bureau Veritas is one of the world’s leading accredited certification bodies, with 5,000 ISO 9001:2015 auditors working in 75 countries worldwide. To help you gain certification for the first time, or transition from ISO 9001:2008 to the new ISO 9001:2015, Bureau Veritas has developed cost-effective transition packs. With several levels available according to your organization, we guide you through the process with training, a self-assessment tool, e-learning and other services. Begin the transition today: enhance your leadership, reduce product failures and improve your customers’ satisfaction!