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Monday, 25 August 2008

The Credit Crunch and how to survive it

When times get hardand it becomes difficult to maintain business levels and make money, the credit crunch and slow down in the economy is particularly unwelcome. So what can you do about it? You can work 'smarter' rather than harder, streamline your business, seek out inefficiencies and rectify them.

ISO9001, the quality management standard, has always been a method to incorporate best practice within any organisation. It brings in measures of customer satisfaction, which are essential during hard times, these help businesses to improve their attractiveness to customers and help to target new ones. The very last thing that any business wants is to have goods returned or services to be carried out again free of charge.

Continual improvement is also highlighted, as is the reduction of errors and mistakes. The Standard, if properly implemented, brings any business improved efficiency and better control of the quality of products and services.

The added advantage of a good quality management system is that an external authority is certifying that the systems employed by the business are effective and meet the requirements set out by the international standards organisation.

These include:

Documentation Requirements
  • Quality Manual
  • Control of Documents
  • Control of Records
Management Responsibility
  • Customer Focus
  • Quality Policy
  • Planning
  • Responsibility, Authority and Communication
  • Internal Communication
  • Management Review
Resource Management
  • Provision of Resources
  • Human Resources
  • Competence, Awareness and Training
  • Infrastructure
  • Work Environment
Product & Service Delivery
  • Planning of Product Realisation
  • Customer-Related Processes
  • Design and development
  • Purchasing
  • Product Provision & Service Delivery
  • Preservation of Product
  • Control of Monitoring and Measuring Equipment
Measurement, Analysis and Improvement
  • Measuring Customer Satisfaction
  • Internal Audit
  • Monitoring & Measurement of Processes
  • Monitoring & Measurement of Product or Service
  • Control of Nonconforming Product
  • Continual Improvement
  • Corrective Action
  • Preventive Action
If these elements are established and operated then the company is in the best position to weather the storms ahead.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Internal Quality / Environmental Auditing

The ISO 9000 and ISO 14001 series of International Standards emphasise the importance of auditing as a management tool for monitoring and verifying the effective implementation of an organisation's policy for quality and/or environmental management.

A Quality or Environmental Audit is a systematic, independent examination of a quality or environmental management system. These audits are typically performed at defined intervals and ensure that the organisation has clearly defined internal quality or environmental monitoring procedures linked to effective action. The checking determines if the management system complies with applicable regulations or standards.

It is not enough to put a quality or environmental system into place; it must be tested on a regular basis, to ensure it is working, . . . . . . . . . . . . AUDITING.

The checks will include:
  • The management system documentation; does it adequately define the needs of the business?

  • The documented procedures and processes; are they practical, understood and being followed?

  • The training; is it adequate?


The timing and frequency of audits will vary depending on the importance of a particular part of the system but is predetermined and recorded. The audits are carried out by responsible persons independent of the activity being audited.

It is useful to have an audit programme spanning a set period.

The results of audits must be documented and should include the following:

  • The non-conformities found;

  • The corrective action required;

  • The agreed time for corrective action to be carried out.


Persons conducting audits should be properly trained to carry out the task objectively and effectively. Clearly, it is essential that everyone carrying out internal auditing should audit to the same standard.

Quality Matters has been providing these certificated courses since 1992 and are
designed to provide professional training in the principles and practice of audits of management systems for compliance with ISO 9001:2000, ISO14001:2004 and other standards.

The methodology employed is that set out in the Standard for quality and environmental management systems auditing ISO 19011:2002

The course is not IRCA registered but meets the training requirements of all the certification bodies for competence of Internal Auditors

Delegates who successfully complete the course will have sufficient knowledge of, and skills in, audit techniques to carry out internal audits of quality and/or environmental systems in their own organisations.

The twice yearly courses (April and November) are run locally in Colchester, Essex but bespoke courses can be arranged to be run in-house.

Next course 20 + 21 November 2008

For details and booking on this cost effective course, please see our Internal Audior Course page

Quality Matters

P.O.Box 5479
Maldon
Essex
CM9 8GG
England

T: 01621 857841
F: 01621 856016
M: 07702 193788

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