Maintaining best practices for ISO excellence: A case study

December 13, 2012 1:49 pm Published by

811 - Know what's below. Call before you dig.The last few blog posts summarized what’s needed to implement ISO standards at your organization – from having the first conversation with management to the steps it takes to implement a standards-based management system.

Next, we thought we’d share some real-world success from one of our clients, Virginia Utility Protection Service, Inc., known as Miss Utility, a non-profit organization created by Virginia’s utilities to protect underground infrastructure.

VUPS pursued ISO 9001 certification to provide a structure for world-class continual improvement, including customer service. Here’s what they learned – and started implementing – as a result of their journey to excellence:

  • Communicate the importance of meeting customer and statutory/regulatory requirements. The VUPS process now includes customer service surveys, which are helping to improve training, among other processes.
  • Establish a quality policy. The organization developed a policy from its mission statement and shared it with employees. This has helped to articulate how job responsibilities are performed and has created further employee ownership and commitment to becoming ISO certified.
  • Ensure quality objectives are met. Now, quality objectives are not only established and given to responsible parties but they are available for review at any time by employees. This increases accountability and enables employees to be more vested in the process. Objectives are based on feedback from customers for a continual loop of quality improvement.
  • Conduct management reviews. Regularly scheduled, quarterly management reviews create transparency within each department and the entire organization. This is a great way to brainstorm any trends and determine necessary action items to improve processes for long-term success.

In addition, management was committed to and supported efforts to develop and implement a business continuity plan as part of VUPS’s quality management system. This effort paid off following last June’s devastating wind storm, which knocked out power in Mid-Atlantic states. By identifying potential risks of the organization’s communications system, VUPS was able to quickly activate all control measures during the storm. That enabled communication channels to remain effective and efficient throughout the storm and in the days that followed.

Also, the company’s top managers participated in ISO 9001 training early in the certification process and is now ready for ISO internal auditor training.

The upshot? The commitment and support of management is most effective when it is established early and often throughout the development, implementation and maintenance of the quality management system.

Contact us to learn more. Then set your own course to operational excellence.


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This post was written by Roy D'Ardenne