Wednesday, 13 August 2014 16:34

12 Ways to Simplify Your QMS, Part 1

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An effective quality management system is not about long written procedures and lots of paperwork. It is intended to direct operations to help you achieve the company’s strategic goals. Over the next few posts, we will highlight activities that we have seen to have significant effectiveness in making the QMS a part of everyday culture.

1. Keep documentation lean. ISO requires that you document the procedures needed to control your system, but it also says that the extent of the documentation is dependent upon the size of the company and the complexity of your operations. Nothing states that you must write long, detailed procedures no one reads (this is especially problematic if you have employees whose first language is not English). The idea is to create process controls that are useful and accessible to employees. To control processes and guide the details of activities, consider using flow charts, checklists and visual work instructions. Use tools that are available and easy to apply.
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 16:31

12 Ways to Simplify Your QMS, Part 2

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In Part 1 we talked about staff engagement in your quest for ongoing improvements in your QMS. Here are a few others… 6 Write a Quality Policy that employees understand. Though it is not necessary for employees to memorize the Quality Policy, they are required to be aware of what it states and how it applies to their activities. Beware of overly wordy or generic policies that do not meet the stated purpose of a Quality Policy--which is to direct the organization with regard to quality. If you have multi-lingual employees consider translating the policy into their native languages. To ensure comprehension have both the company’s oldest and newest employees review the policy for clarity of purpose.
The new version of ISO 9001, to be released late in 2015, has a heavy emphasis on strategy. This blog discusses a couple of the many reasons that strategic planning is important, and more importantly, beneficial for small companies. When asked about their strategic objectives, I’ve heard one specific answer many times in the past 5 years: increase sales. While, at one level, it’s logical (we need to grow, so we need more sales) at another level it is a key indicator of a group without the strategy and vision to allow them to grow.
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 16:27

Strategy: It's for Departments (not just owners)

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In the current version of ISO 9001:2008, a section within 8.2.3 discusses monitoring and measurement of processes. It has always been there, but for many small businesses this has been a complete conundrum. When questioned during audits the most common response is “Oh, our customers send us reports for quality and on time delivery – after all, if our processes work we’ll deliver good product, on-time.” This data is actually not a bad start…but if you rely on customer reports all you see is a minor sampling of your end result.
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