Getting management buy-in for ISO excellence: Step 3

November 26, 2012 11:56 am Published by

Management Buy-inIn two recent blogs posts, we outlined the steps needed to have a conversation with your senior management team about buy-in for ISO standards. The first step is to set the right expectations – the amount of support and commitment required to implement standards as the framework that can redefine your organizational system.

The second step is to explain the benefits of ISO certification – the ability to increase efficiency, improve morale, generate more business and increase profitability. In fact, a recent report from the Centre for Economic and Business Research in Great Britain finds that quality initiatives make significant contributions, not only to the bottom line of organizations that invested in them but also to three macro-economic indicators – gross domestic product (GDP), corporate tax revenues and employment.

In this post we’ll look at the steps to your road to quality.

Once top management is determined and committed to implement a quality management system and understands the benefits, start by identifying a management representative and implementation team. Headed by a Management Representative (MR), this team needs to represent a cross section of the organization. The MR is the coordinator and is responsible for planning and overseeing the implementation of the quality management system with the support of the management team. This person is the liaison between top management and the ISO 9001:2008 registrar, customers, and interested parties within the organization. The MR, however, should not bear all of the responsibility alone. An implementation team that represents all departments within the organization should be identified to become the guiding coalition of the organization.

Next, conduct an ISO 9001:2008 awareness program to inform and educate all employees about the aim of a quality management system and promote buy-in from the majority. The programs, information sessions and training should include the advantages to customers and employees, their respective responsibilities and roles within the system, and how the quality management system operates. The benefits to an organization should be identified and programs to achieve those benefits should be developed.

The next critical step is training management and personnel. All personnel and all areas in an organization are affected by a quality management system. Training should therefore be provided for all employees or representatives of employee groups. The quality management system implementation plan should make provision for this training. All basic concepts of quality management systems and its impact on the organization should be covered. D’Ardenne Associates provides training that includes Management Training, ISO Knowledge training, Internal Auditor Training, and Lead Internal Auditor Training.

Then, conduct an Initial Status Survey/Gap Analysis. A quality management system conforming to the ISO 9001:2008 standard should be created. However, this does not preclude incorporating, adapting or adding onto quality programs that already exist. Thus, this step involves comparing an organization’s existing quality management system (if there is one) with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008. This is often referred to as a Gap Analysis. We can help to assist organizations in determining a plan to become certified.

Once an organization’s quality management system has been compared with the ISO 9001:2008 standard, a documented implementation plan is used to address any non-conformance’s. The documented implementation plan identifies and describes processes, tasks, dates, assigned personnel to make the organization’s current quality management system in full compliance with the ISO 9001:2008 standard.

For ROI-obsessed managers, consider that an organization’s return is typically less than a year and a half. After that, quality begets savings and productivity.

Here’s another way to look at this journey to excellence:

  • Define a quality policy/objectives.
  • Set measurable objectives at all levels of the organization with customer focus and requirements in mind.
  • Conduct audits of your process.
  • Conduct management reviews of your processes, programs and data.
  • Based on analysis, assign corrective and preventive action to continually improvement your processes/company.

ISO certification isn’t just about getting the certificate on the wall. It requires constant monitoring, tracking and communications. Commitment must be illustrated through actions. For example, when employees submit a suggestion for improvement to management, management reviews the suggestion and chooses to take action or not. Either way, communicating to the employee the decision that was made and providing them with a clear explanation is how to illustrate commitment.

Without clear communication from management, employees will eventually become discouraged and employee suggestions for improvement will decrease dramatically.

Too often, businesses think ISO is a separate system from the business system and want to treat it was a stand-alone system. Au contraire. By adopting international standards and embedding them into your daily work, you’ll impress those managers who may not have seen the benefits.

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This post was written by Roy D'Ardenne