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Thursday, 10 January 2008

IS09001 Quality Management Standards

In the UK there are some 6.6 million companies trading and of these over a million are certificated to ISO9001:2000. These companies have procedures and processes in place which are tested by independent certification bodies accredited by UKAS (The United Kingdom Accredited Service).

Companies certificated to ISO9001 have to provide evidence of their compliance to the standard.

This testing is repeated on a regular basis to ensure continued compliance.

Essentially, 9001 is a management system process to turn customer enquiries into customer satisfaction and provide information to the management of the company. The measure of customer satisfaction is an important one and must be measured in a proactive way. The absence of complaints is not a sure fire way of monitoring customer satisfaction; often dissatisfied customers will simply go elsewhere. The sad thing is that the company may never realise why customers do not return. The only way to find out how your customers perceive the quality of service they receive is to ASK them.

The other measures in 9001 are monitoring and measuring of processes and products which ensure that the resulting product (or service) really does meet requirements.

Nowadays 9001 is expected as an entry point for tenders; Government contracts often specify 9001 as a mandatory requirement. If companies do not have this, any submitted tender does not get past the starting gate.

One other point about 9001 certificated companies relates to survivability during tough times; 9001 are more likely to weather difficult times as they have documented and tested procedures in place to cope with problems.

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