Quality improvement is the most important goal of an ISO 9001 quality management system. Continuous improvement and process optimisation are very important in order to obtain your certificate. Many organisations struggle with the proper implementation of quality improvement. In this article you will get 9 practical tips to achieve more results with quality improvement.
Do not make reporting a deviation too complex.
Many organisations tend to use extensive forms to register complaints or potential improvements. Much of the information in the file is not relevant at all or it takes a lot of time to fill in. This increases the threshold for an employee to report a deviation or potential improvement. To collect the desired information, it is more effective to work with a short form or a simple e-mail. The collection of details can always be done at a later stage.
Work with a central improvement register
Many organisations register potential improvements in various separate forms but not in a central register. The disadvantage of this is that there is no total overview of the events and a good analysis is difficult to achieve. Therefore, register as many events as possible in one central overview. My ISO Genius 9001 includes a central register for continuous improvement.
Analyse the data received from various sources
Quality management is all about drawing conclusions from events that emerge. These events are often not isolated cases, but occur more than once. By bundling the data coming from complaints, customer satisfaction, audits and reports of deviations, an overview of the most important points for improvement for the organisation is created. By analysing the data, conclusions can be drawn as to where the organisation’s pain points lie. In this way, priority can be given to the points that need to be tackled. A central improvement register (see tip 2) certainly will help with this.
Give a root cause analysis a lot of attention
Often, the problem is solved, but the root cause is not properly examined. The result is that the problem keeps coming back later. By working with a root cause analysis, the essence of the problem is exposed. The measures that have been determined ensure that the problem does not recur.
The analysed data from tip 3 can easily be used to make the cause analysis. There are also various methods for carrying out a cause analysis. The best known forms within quality management are ’the fishbone diagram’ and the ‘5x why’ method. The latter method is very effective. By not only asking the why, but repeating it several times, the actual cause will get exposed.
Perform a SWOT Analysis at the process level
Does your organisation want to improve proactively? Then record various internal and external issues. This is often done using the SWOT Analysis.
The SWOT Analysis can also be used to improve processes, it is made at process level. You look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the process and a clear picture emerges. Not only the points that have an internal influence on the process are highlighted, but also those that have an external influence are mapped out. This is how you keep on improving.
Do not perform a comprehensive root cause analysis for every incident
For a root cause analysis, you need to make time, but it can also take up unnecessary time. An important tip for efficiently making a root cause analysis is not to elaborate on every incident. One of the most important reasons for organisations not to go deeply into the cause is ”that there are so many events”. Often, these events are incidents. If an event occurs only once, we speak of an incident. The incidents do need to be resolved, but they do not need to be channelled extensively.
During the cause analysis of the events, it is wise to deal with several events at the same time in order to save time.
Quality improvement is a culture that requires awareness
Many companies have processes for quality improvement in place, especially if the organisation is certified according to ISO 9001. Often, little attention has been given to the need for quality improvement and the essence of continuous improvement within the entire organisation.
When implementing quality improvement, it is important that the right information is communicated to all employees. However, good information stands or falls with the awareness of the employee.
Focus on improvement during the internal audits
Internal audits are often used to determine who is sticking to the agreed way of working or to verify that the organisation still meets the requirements of ISO 9001. During these internal audits, little or no attention is paid to potential areas for improvement.
By focusing on what can be improved and made more efficient during an internal audit, input is created for continuous improvement. In addition, it is important to perform the internal audit with an open mind, so that new risks and opportunities can be identified. This combination ensures that the quality management system is continuously improved.
Use ISO 9001 as a foundation for continuous improvement
Do you want to implement a good quality management system in your organisation? Then use ISO 9001 as the basis for continuous improvement. This standard is recognised worldwide and provides a thorough structure. My ISO Genius supports your organisation in implementing ISO 9001 including various formats. This way you can easily apply the tips from this article within your company.