ISO 9001:2015 has brought a variety of new concepts to the field of standards and certification. One of these being the process of aligning the Quality Management System with the organization’s own strategic direction – and, understanding this relationship to maximize a company’s efficiency and potential.
Understanding the company’s context while ensuring quality in policies and objectives stated by the board is paramount. However, the difficulty lies in both factors being in line with the body’s general strategic direction.
Knowing your Strategic Direction
Knowing the strategic direction for an organization may seem like simple task to undertake, but there is more to it than meets the eye.
Strategic direction refers to the path of actions you are utilizing to achieve the goals you and your company has set out to do in the basics of organizational strategy.
The creation of achievements and goals are a common step that a company takes during the building process. Consider a companies Mission and Vision Statement, something that I am sure you have noticed written on the organization’s walls for all to see. These statements articulate their companies agenda on where they see the company headed, as well as dictate a plan to make sure they heading in the right direction. This will guide the company’s course of action through the years of growth and progress.
Utilizing Quality Objectives towards the Strategic Direction
Quality objectives are the target statements that will be looked upon when considering growth and progress in an organization. These objectives provide bullet points for consistent and continued improvement all around the organization, and each objective has a specific layout or plan to ensure that the motives are in line with the scope of the vision of the company.
Consider an organization’s formulated mission statement involves the improvement in quality of their product while still maintaining a competitive edge on quantity and creation – the quality objective would involve a specific targeted percentage of growth in an predetermined time frame. This would give an outline and guide on the mission’s landmark sand benchmarks for success.
Quality objective must be realistic – enough to foresee some roadblocks and adjust accordingly. Ensure to use a grounded approach to goals. This is especially important when trying to meet the standards set in the time estimated.
The Harms with a Lack of Strategic Direction
In earlier stages of progress, a company may; due to many extenuating circumstances; delay the creation of the mission and vision statements. This is inadvisable, as it often leads to a vague strategic direction for the entire process.
If you are applying ISO 9001:2015 or undertaking the transitional process from using an ISO 9001:2008 to 2015, an overall mission and vision is paramount to a company’s initial growth. These goals create a critical role and aspect in the successful implementation of the requirements provided by the QMS.
A lack of an overall vision could lead to: decreased focus in specific standards; an inferior demonstration of the company’s quality policies, objectives, and management review.
The best way of getting a head start in this process is the creation of a unified and specific vision, ensuring that all the elements involved have a general direction and focus. This ultimately leads to an easier time creating and maintaining standards set by the QMS.
These factors will create a steady form of development and improvement for the company, and may even provide ways to improve relations with customers, build rapport, all while growing your business.
To the novice quality manager, ISO jargon can be extremely overwhelming. What is an NCR? What do you mean by OFI? Are we certified or accredited? But before you go and pull out your hair, let’s take a moment to go over some of the most frequently used terms and their definitions with regards to ISO and Management System Certification.