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ISO 9000 is a set of universal quality management and assurance standards that are formulated for enabling companies to document the elements required to maintain an effective system (Beshah, Kitaw & Alemu, 2013). More countries, specifically in Africa, are seeking ISO 9000 Quality Management System (QMS) (Beshah, Kitaw & Alemu, 2013). Companies are certified due to internal motivation or the external pressure by the international market. According to ISO 9000 proponents, application of quality systems leads to better performance, reduced customer complaints, high competitiveness and increased production (Beshah, Kitaw & Alemu, 2013). Consequently, ISO 9000 certification is the first step towards attaining a quality system.
ISO 9000 operates under seven principles that guide organizations on how to improve their performance, including customer focus, leadership, engagement of people, process approach, improvement, evidence-based decision making and relationship management (Kuei & Lu, 2013). Application of the principles vary from company to company and can change with time. Organizations need to attract and retain customers and use all chances to create value for their clients. Leaders also require creating the unity of the direction and purpose and set conditions for people to achieve organizational objectives. Employees empowerment is also crucial, and they should be involved in all levels of the organization so that they can deliver quality results (Kuei & Lu, 2013). Consistent results can only be achieved if when the activities are understood and managed as related processes that function coherently. Continuous improvement is also essential for maintaining levels of performance. It requires to focus on improvement and maintaining levels for performance to attract new opportunities. Decision making is a critical process for the organization to achieve the desired results. Decisions should always be based on cause-and-effect since facts, data analysis and evidence lead to confidence when making decisions (Kuei & Lu, 2013). Organization success depends on the relationship that it maintains with the stakeholders, including suppliers, since parties affect organizational performance.
Having understood the principles if ISO 9000 and how they affect the organization, dedication to quality management systems leads to organizational culture transition and creates an atmosphere for continuous improvement. ISO 9000 implementation depends on the quality of existing programs, organization’s size and the complexity of the processes. The first step of instrumenting ISO 9000 requires top management commitment who will then come up with an implementation team that is led by a committed representative (Sava & Moisa, 2012). Next, is conducting ISO awareness programs so that the aims of the certification can be communicated to employees. The subsequent step is to provide training to the senior managers, supervisors, middle-level managers and employees that covers strategic organizational goals and the changes in process to attain the standard quality. An initial survey should then be conducted to avoid duplication of efforts. To have a clear picture of how it will be implemented, a documentation of the plan of how it will be carried out needs to be formulated (Sava & Moisa, 2012). The next step is to come up quality management system documentation that contains objectives, policies, planning and operations control.
After formulation of quality management system documentation, a system for controlling it is then made and must meet ISO 9001:2000 requirements. Next, ISO 9000 is implemented, and continuous monitoring is necessary to ensure that it is effective. After implementation, quality audits should be carried out on a regular basis to verify that it conforms with the required standards. After three to six months, management review coupled with an internal audit is conducted to ensure continued sustainability, effectiveness and adequacy (Sava & Moisa, 2012). If there are no pitfalls in the system, the management can now apply for certification but must hold a pre-assessment audit that is conducted by a qualified or independent auditor. If the certification body confirms that the system is working correctly, it issues a three years certification. During this period, periodic audits are carried out by the body. Certification is not the end. An organization should strive to maintain its effectiveness through quality policy, quality objectives, audit results, data analysis, corrective actions and management review.
Beshah, B., Kitaw, D., & Alemu, N. (2013). Significance of ISO 9000 quality management system for performance improvement in the developing countries. Journal of Business Management, 5(1), 44-51.
Kuei, C. H., & Lu, M. H. (2013). Integrating quality management principles into sustainability management. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 24(1-2), 62-78.
SAVA, T., & MOISA, C. (2012). Approaches regarding the maturity analysis of quality management systems as a result of implementing ISO 9000 series. Management Strategies Journal, 15(1), 77-82.