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UPCOMING CHANGES WILL PUT QUALITY BACK INTO QUALITY MANAGEMENT


Significant updates to the International Standards Organisation (ISO) ISO 9001 quality management standard this year will have a major effect on the way quality is measured and managed within companies across the globe.

Although changes are designed to streamline and simplify the system, it will nonetheless need to be implemented carefully and changes will need to be made within companies over a period of three years to comply with the new ISO 9001: 2015 standard.

Addressing members of the Concrete Manufacturers’ Association (CMA) in Midrand recently, standards expert Christel Fouché, CEO of Advantage ACT and AGO Certification, said that among the most significant changes will be a shift of responsibility to senior management rather than being the domain of companies’ quality management representatives.

 

Necessary for trade

“In fact, quality management representatives are no longer an explicit requirement of the new standards, nor the requirement for compulsory procedures. Rather, businesses will be required to walk the talk and be able to prove the steps that are in place to ensure quality.

“Auditors will also have to adapt and will be required to interview senior management at CEO and similar levels in order to ensure that standards are being upheld. While this may seem an onerous task, it is an absolute necessity for businesses as it is very difficult to do business without ISO 9001 certification” Fouché said. 

She explained that the penalty for not maintaining proper quality standards can be severe, with damage to brands and reputations being far more costly than any financial losses that may be incurred.

 

Faster to implement

The new ISO 9001: 2015 standard has been developed on the foundation of the new Annex SL document. This document will set the new quality standard in line with ISO 14001 environmental and OHSAS 18001 health and safety standards and pave the way for easier implementation of integrated SHEQ management systems. As a result, the implementation and auditing of management systems will be run on a similar template, which will make it easier and faster to implement the different standards without duplication.

Although the streamlining will benefit companies in future, companies with existing management systems will be faced with a number of challenges, according to Fouché. “Firstly, the system will rely on input from senior management and auditors will have to be comfortable communicating at that level. With the correct questions and information requests, however, CEOs and the management team should be able to show compliance.

“Another challenge for companies who think that they can run their quality management system as a ‘paper exercise’ is that the new system will need to be managed 365 days a year and not just the week before an audit. New quality management systems will be more transparent and not as easy to fudge. Quality will have to become a way of life.”

 

Summary of changes

All those involved in quality assurance within an organisation should make themselves familiar with the upcoming changes and start to prepare and implement adjustments as soon as possible in order to be ready for ISO 9001: 2015 accreditation in three years.

A short summary of changes follows and needs to be verified and implemented by quality personnel and senior management:

•    The system has changed to a higher level of management

•    Core structure of quality standards is now in line with environmental, health, safety and all other standards

•    Several new clauses have been added and need to be studied

•    The system will follow a process approach

•    Mention of preventative action has been removed, as the system should automatically take care of issues

•    The term “product” is replaced by “product or services”

•    The term “continuous improvement” has been changed to “improvement”

•    The term “purchasing” has been replaced by “externally provided pro-ducts and services”

•    References to quality manual, documented procedure and records have been removed – specific reference to documented information is now done

•    Numerous word changes have been made in order to make it easier to interpret

•    Three new informative annexes have been included.

Although no longer a requirement, Fouché still recommends that quality management representatives be maintained and work hand-in-hand with senior management to implement quality requirements. Likewise, she recommends that quality manuals also not be thrown out, even though this is no longer a requirement. “Remember, when you are out of quality, you are out of business,” she concluded.

 



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