How Do You Future Proof Your Business?
Create a Quality Management System ...
POSTED BY ELLEN WILLOUGHBY ON 08/10/2020 @ 8:00AM
This week, I hand over to my colleague Helen Bell, who offers advice on how to future-proof your business. This is a question Helen get asked a lot by clients from both the manufacturing and service sectors and her answer is always the same ...
Looking to future proof your business? A Quality Management System can do that for you!
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I always say that whilst you may not think that developing a Quality Management System will help you to future proof your business, it will give you the best chance at survival and longevity.
A QMS is a formalised system that documents all of your business processes and procedures and creates an effective framework to ensure that customer satisfaction, alongside any regulatory requirements, can be met through consistent quality.
"It also improves the overall effectiveness of the
business on a continual basis!"
It may sound very high tech and something more aligned to the manufacturing sector, but would you be surprised to hear that many service industries are also looking to create a Quality Management System?
They use it to document and create procedures for processes within their organisation, ensuring they can consistently provide a good quality service to their customers. This strong customer focus and drive to continually improve is a key step in future-proofing your business.
A QMS is based on seven principles which are all designed to :
Engagement of people
Evidence-based decision making
Any business can benefit from having a QMS!
For many, creating a QMS is a route towards certification (ISO9001:2015) which is an opportunity to demonstrate with objective proof, through external certification, that quality and customer satisfaction is at the very core of your business. Many businesses will only work with certified suppliers, and this certification will grow the opportunities of working with those potential customers.
ISO9001 certification takes place via an external audit from a certification body such as BSI who are accredited by UKAS (the UK’s National Accreditation Body) to determine compliance to the ISO9001 clauses.
However, there are so many more benefits than just certification, and not everyone is looking at that as an objective. For some businesses, there are other very credible benefits.
A QMS provides a quality framework that will give the processes in your organisation more structure. This allows you to capture organisational knowledge from those within the business, undertaking key tasks and allow you to document them appropriately.
It will drive you to look at your customer satisfaction and drive any improvements required to ensure that they are happy and satisfied with the quality of the goods or services provided.
It will help you to identify the true costs of errors and make you think about how you understand what caused them (the root cause) and how to fix them to prevent them from reoccurring. You can then use this continual process of improvement to drive out waste.
A QMS can also help you to understand the risks and opportunities for your business from within and from external influences allowing you to build resilience. This is a great step towards planning for the future. And it demonstrates through improved communication to your employees and your customers that quality is an absolute priority and that you are championing that cause.
"So, you have decided to create a QMS; now how do you go about it?"
Firstly, start by defining your quality policy. This states your quality mission and relates to what your customers want from you, and this will underpin your entire QMS. You can then start defining and mapping your processes, understanding what they are for and who is responsible for delivering them.
At this point, it is also to develop your documents and records and associated registers. If you are looking at attaining your ISO9001 accreditation, you will need to understand the minimum requirement set and then add more as required.
Defining your quality objectives is important, and it allows you to communicate the importance of quality to all of your employees. Everyone that you employ will need to demonstrate competence in the job that they undertake so training and competence matrices for staff members are required.
Finally, you need to define your quality process. How will you ensure that you are doing what you set out to do (via internal auditing) so you can continually improve? How you take corrective action and prevent issues from occurring in the first place (preventative action), and how you measure and review as a leadership group?
"This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it does contain the key enablers to creating and embedding a QMS!"
As you can see, implementing a QMS is less of an art and more of a science, but it isn’t rocket science and you can start at any time as long as you can commit to championing and resourcing the process.
Whilst defining a time frame within which to implement a QMS is good practice, you may want to take things slowly to allow you and your business to get used to operating in a more disciplined way – after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Of course, if it does sound daunting, don’t forget that there are quality consultants who will work with you to understand what your business objectives are and whether you are looking for certification or just best practice to future proof your organisation who can guide you through the process to create and embed your QMS right through to certification.
Until next time ...
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A huge thank you to my colleague Helen Bell for this week's blog post!
If you want to future proof your business and develop your own Quality Management System, why not talk to us? Call us on 01164 422546, leave a comment below or click here to ping over an email and let's see how we can help.
About Ellen Willoughby ...
I'm Ellen, Director of All About Quality and All About Productivity. I have over 20 years experience as professional in the quality world and 17 years as a practising Buddhist. As a result of this, I have a passion for improvement. in both business and personal life.
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