One of the bottlenecks that I encountered when my customers developed their quality management system to comply with ISO9001: 2015 is the concept of “internal context”.
1 Employee engagement
The engagement of employees is fundamental to the success of every business operation. Reducing turnover also reduces costs associated with recruitment such as agency fees, preparation of contracts and training and inductions. Engagement with the quality management system is integral to its effectiveness. Everyone at every level should know how they contribute to quality.
2 Training and development
Whether your employees undertake formal external training, an internal development program (such as a graduate scheme or accelerated promotion scheme) or informal sharing of knowledge through a buddy or mentor system, training and development is key to managing a skilled workforce. A quality management system can help you to identify training needs and maintain appropriate records.
3 Skills and competence
Consider how your quality management system can help you to identify and address skills gaps and ensure you always have the right skills to satisfy your customer requirements. How will you measure competence to ensure the effectiveness of any training you provide or any specific skills you recruit?
4 Physical resources
Ensuring you have the right physical resources to deliver your promise to customers is essential. A quality management system can help you get to grips with what you need, where and when you need it and what the potential impact might be if you don’t.
5 Management methodology
ISO 9001:2015 promotes leadership at all levels. It talks about top management empowering and encouraging leadership to promote the quality management system. Do all your managers sing from the same hymn sheet? Are your management team clear on the vision, values and goals of the company?
Having robust policies in place to support your business strategy is essential. Not only do they set out your stance internally for staff members, they can also provide a source of information externally for your customers and suppliers.
7 Mission and values
This is essentially your reason for being in business along with the principles which matter to you in running your business. These are an important element of a quality management system as they feed in to the policies and management methodology mentioned above.
8 Supplier / partner management
Is your business entirely self-sufficient? Chances are you rely on at least one key supplier or partner in order to deliver your products or services. Try categorising them in order of how critical they are to your operations. The ones that you absolutely can’t function without should be your priority to manage.