In companies that fail, top management views ISO 9001 as a necessary evil to be tolerated, and little more. These companies are typically implementing the benchmark for quality management because of a customer requirement, not because they see the value it can bring to an organization.
Gaining management’s endorsement requires a holistic approach to ISO 9001 as a management system, not just a quality-management system. ISO 9001 is for everyone.
Good ISO programs start with a two things:
• A letter of commitment from the highest authority to each employee explaining why the company is committed to certification.
• Providing authority to the management representative to get the job done.
The next step is to educate managers about their roles in the ISO process and involve them in defining the quality objectives and creating the quality policy. Ask each manager to list 10 items that are important to the company’s success and write them on sticky notes. Place these notes on a wall and organize into groups.
A pattern will emerge and collectively, you will have identified your quality objectives.
The objectives should be SMART, meaning they should be specific as to what you want to accomplish – measurable as in how you will know the objective is achieved – attainable meaning the goal can be accomplished – relevant as in worthwhile and time-bound with designated ending date.
The only criteria are that objectives need to be measurable, but you now have the groundwork for your quality policy.
The most important objective that is usually missed is profitability. You can build the best Cadillac-style widget the world has ever seen, but if your company is not profitable you will not be sustainable and ISO will fail.
By implementing a management system, you will be documenting processes. During this process is the opportunity to eliminate wasted process steps and documentation.