Clients are increasingly calling on companies to demonstrate they have quality management systems in place, before they will do business. Here’s why it matters, Matt Tilbrook explains.
Many organisations already have a quality policy in place, perhaps gathering dust somewhere. While this may briefly outline the organisation’s aspirations to provide a quality service, a quality management system (QMS) is much more in-depth than this.
A QMS reflects what your organisation does, how it is done and how it is managed. The intent is that a QMS allows you to identify, measure, control and improve your core processes for the benefit of your customers, delivering confidence in your ability to consistently meet their expectations.
When implemented properly, a QMS helps organisations to streamline their processes, helping to reduce errors, resulting re-work and the costs associated.
ISO 9001: the ready-made solution
Without buy-in and ongoing actions, policies and such like can go unloved. Buying authorities are aware of this, which is why the ISO 9001 standard is often mentioned alongside questions regarding quality management.
What may look like an unusual acronym is the name of the world’s most established quality management standard, providing a structure for creating a QMS. Developed by the International Standardization Organization, ISO 9001’s roots can be traced back to WW2 and has been continually revised since through worldwide input.
The standard is popular for three reasons: credibility, its generic nature (it is suitable for all organisations), and the fact that it has been proven to improve quality when implemented. Credibility is further enhanced when obtaining certification for the standard, where an independent certification body assesses the organisation against the requirements of the standard. As such, this takes away the burdensome task for buying authorities to check each potential supplier.
Importantly, ISO 9001 takes away the head-scratching result of being expected to put in a QMS without any guidance. ISO 9001 sets out defined requirements, so any organisation can put together a QMS that works. Working with a certification body also ensures nothing slips, while giving your clients the added reassurance that you can give more than your word; you’ve been checked by a third-party body.
Tendering for work
Organisations are having to jump through an increasing number of hoops to pre-qualify for tender opportunities. This can seem like added bureaucracy, but with the public sector under pressure to demonstrate it is spending taxpayer’s money wisely,it is more common. With supply chain issues hitting the headlines, the private sector is also starting to expect more from its once trusted suppliers.
The new hoops to jump through range from demonstrating what steps your organisation takes to be sustainable, to your policy on diversity.
Understandably, organisations offering work want some reassurance that you can deliver a good service, on time and on budget. As such, it is common within tender documentation to be requested to give evidence of a quality management system.
Matt Tilbrookishead of online services, British Assessment Bureau
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