You Need More than Compliance to Achieve Operational Excellence in Quality

Since its introduction in 1987, ISO 9001 for Quality Management Systems (QMS) has become the most popular standard in the world. The latest iteration, ISO 9001:2015, outlines a framework for improving quality and a vocabulary of understanding for any organization looking to provide products and services that consistently meet the requirements and expectations of customers and other relevant interested parties in the most efficient manner possible. It incorporates principles such as customer focus, process orientation, data-driven decision making, and systematic risk management to help organizations improve their operations across all areas. As a result, many organizations report reduced costs and improved quality and productivity after an ISO 9001:2015 implementation. 

However, not every ISO 9001:2015 implementation brings success. For some organizations, the time and effort dedicated to certifying to ISO 9001:2015 produce nothing but disappointing results such as increased costs, more bureaucracy, and even business failure. If ISO 9001:2015 is so vital to quality success in an organization, how do these sorts of failures happen? 

The answer lies in whether an organization has internalized quality at every level or has simply met the minimum standards for compliance. When an organization views quality as simply a box to be checked to meet its ISO certification requirements, it can impede quality performance by creating process inefficiency, increased costs, and organizational confusion. An organization that prioritizes practices instead of principles without justifying the reasons for doing so will create a bloated QMS that has unnecessary processes that achieve compliance but do nothing to facilitate continuous improvement or moving the organization forward. A good QMS that serves the needs of the organization and reflects a culture of quality should be embedded into the processes instead of simply imposed on them, and process owners should be responsible for nurturing quality culture instead of acting like a quality police force. While moving from compliance to excellence is a significant cultural shift for any organization, it doesn’t have to be a painful one. By ensuring executive commitment to quality, a risk-based focus, and the creation of a single source of truth for knowledge management, any organization can build on the ISO 9001:2015 principles to ensure they foster a center of operational excellence. 

In the new Intelex Insight Report Beyond Compliance: Build a Center of Operational Excellence (OpEx) on ISO 9001:2015, quality thought leader Nicole Radziwill shows you how to move your QMS from meeting the minimum requirements to exceeding expectations and achieving superior business results. You’ll learn about the following: 

  • The importance of strong executive commitment to the success of a quality project. 
  • How a single source of truth for documentation and data is critical to continuous improvement. 
  • Why risk-based thinking is so important to your organization. 
  • How frameworks like the Baldrige Excellence Framework (BEF) and European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) can complement ISO 9001:2015 to create truly exceptional operational excellence. 

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About Nicole Radziwill

Nicole Radziwill is a quality manager and data scientist with more than 20 years leadership experience in software, telecommunications, research infrastructure, and higher education. Prior to joining Intelex, she was an associate professor of data science and production systems at James Madison University, Assistant Director for End to End Operations at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), managed software product development for the Green Bank Observatory (GBO), and managed client engagements for Nortel Networks and Clarify (CRM). She is an ASQ-certified manager of operational excellence (CMQ/OE), an ASQ-certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB), and contributed to the development of ISO 26000—“Guidance on Social Responsibility.”

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