A quick scan of the recently released ISO 9001:2015 standard reveals that certification will involve a long list of procedural changes. Organizations that embrace the revised ISO standard will also have to change the way they think about quality management. My colleague, Mika Javanainen discussed this new risk-focused approach within quality management processes in his blog post, ISO 9001:2015 –Ready or Not –Here it is.
Why are so many organizations gearing up for the major efforts and investments required for certification? Because the ISO committees behind the 9001 standard have proven that they can extract and document replicable approaches and frameworks for success from the world’s best operations. While this year’s revised ISO standard will mean profound shifts in management and execution for many organizations, the up sides of embracing ISO 9001:2015 will include streamlined processes and better outcomes for years to come.
Elevating Quality Management
The goals have not changed with this year’s version of the ISO standard. ISO aims to help organizations improve their overall performance. What have changed are the intrinsic principles and concepts, with the intended purpose of better defining and aligning quality management with overall business management.
The focus on well-defined procedures makes sense; procedures ultimately determine the level of excellence achieved in terms of organizational reputation and profitability. With more clarity starting at the top levels of the organization and within the broad context of the organization, quality can be more accurately measured and effectively upheld. In other words, the staff will know exactly what to do, how to do it, and how the results will be measured.
Another major change, the shift from deviation tracking and analysis to broader-scoped risk management, further emphasizes the importance of process-centric management. The “elements” of ISO 9001:2008 have been replaced with system requirements and workflows. In this manner, defects can be caught earlier in the lifecycle and can be corrected at a lower cost.
Core Capability: Visibility
By reading between the lines, especially in sections that deal with the new requirements for “document information,” a critical capability comes into focus. ISO 9001:2015 calls for more visibility over diverse, distributed quality documents and data. Managers, in particular, will need information management foundations that give them fine-grained control and reporting, which in turn calls for accurate views of both the real-time state of the business as well as the ability to view and extract insights from information collected over time.
The increased emphasis on oversights for process-related information in ISO 9001:2015 is in step with the latest enterprise information management (EIM) capabilities. Best-in-class EIM solutions help organizations create a single view that encompasses all digital information assets including structured documents and unstructured data and records. The improved visibility and other EIM features that streamline the integration of previously disparate information systems are key enablers for ISO 9001:2015.
ROI that Extends Beyond Quality Management
The same EIM solutions that help organizations comply with ISO 9001:2015 also benefit other information-centric processes throughout an organization. Quality management is not the only area that can benefit from a foundation that delivers productivity boosts, improved control, more automated workflow management, and better integration of previously disparate business systems. These enterprise-wide benefits can subjectively counter any grumbling about the work required for ISO certification, and help offset the required time and effort for implementation of the new quality management guidelines.
Overall, ISO 9001:2015 promises to help organizations and businesses of all sizes take a closer look at the many facets of quality management and apply the latest thinking about approaches and infrastructure. The steps toward certification can stretch over many months or even years. The benefits can be gained much sooner, especially when organizations use the revised ISO standard to drive improvements in information management strategies and solutions that yield very broad benefits to the whole organization.
If you are interested in learning how the ISO 9001 standard helps manufacturers better serve their clients, download our new whitepaper, ISO 9001:2015 is Here: Are You Ready?
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