To ISO 9000 or not, that is the question. Well, the real question is to ISO 9001, or 9002, or 9003, or 9004. Yes, there is an ISO 9004 guidance standard. You cannot get ISO 9004 certified, but so what. Implementing a “Quality” Management System (QMS) is beneficial for every company. The 9004 standard will provide excellent insight into the elements that should be considered as part of your system. You don’t have to deal with outside ISO auditors; you don’t even have to contact an outside firm. You simply read the standard, perform an operational audit of your operation, and implement the elements that make sense for your operation.
Just like an implementation of a certifiable standard, senior management must be 100% behind the initiative. The reasons for implementation must be clearly communicated to all interested parties, basically everyone in your organization. This will require a culture change. So, change management principles must be well understood by management and practiced as you implement the quality system.
I’ve found that a cornerstone of any implementation starts with a Document Management System. For instance, at Abel Womack, this is where interested parties (i.e., fellow team members) go to read the latest revision of our Standard Operating Procedures, Local Work Instructions and Memory Aids. Remember, you’ll need to keep good records so that when the time comes to conduct your own internal audit(s), you’ll have the proof for the internal auditors.
At Abel Womack, we place the highest priority on quality system development, implementation, and follow-through. If you’ve already implemented a QMS, what advice would share with others considering one?