ISO 9001 is the standard that you use for the quality management system.
Does that make any sense to you?
Let me dissect it into 4 parts: standard, quality, management, and system.
Standard in its purest meaning is subjective.
Here’s an example…
You found someone who you like. She’s smart, intelligent and sexy. She has everything that you want for a partner.
Those characteristics that you set are your personal standards. Those are your requirements. In business, standards are your requirements. Your requirements? Let’s talk about this later.
If you look for a dictionary meaning of “standard,” you will find that it’s often linked with “quality.”
But what is quality?
Let’s go back to our example above.
Did you just say that your partner has “everything” that you want? Or most of the things that you want? These two are not the same.
If your “everything” really means the absolute everything, then your partner has a 100% quality based on your standard.
Let’s say, out of the 100 characteristics that you want, your partner has only 99.
Does that mean that your partner’s quality is 99%?
Well, it’s a weird example but yes. Please don’t tell my wife about this example, okay?
We’re now ready to move on to the next: management.
In a relationship, you may get a 99% quality based on your standard, but it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. That’s where management comes in.
Now, are you okay with 99% quality?
Option #1: If you’re okay with it and you want to let go of the missing 1%, then you’ll have a wonderful life.
Option #2: If you’re not okay with it, then, you might want to do something. Maybe you want to find someone else. Or you want to patch the 1%. Say, that missing 1% is the excellent cooking skills. The best way to do that is to let her train to become a cook or a chef.
Whether you choose option #1 or option #2, you are applying the basic principle of management. In option #1, you manage it by controlling or adjusting your standard and setting tolerance. While in option #2, you manage it by corrective action.
In order to keep all these things together, you need a system.
And what is a system?
It is what makes the activities well-organized. A system cannot exist without an activity or several activities. But not just any activity. If that’s the case, then, expect a chaos in your business.
You need to plan the activities. Which activity comes first? What are your goals in your business? What are your requirements, internal requirements? What does your customer require of your business? Where do you want your business to go?
Once you have set the plan, it’s time for implementation.
How would you know that you’ve implemented your plan correctly? Well, you’re going to check, monitor and analyze the activities.
What if you found something is not right? Something is not according to plan? What if you found out that your plan wasn’t producing the expected result?
That’s where you need to correct it.
And before you implement the corrective action, you need to come up with another plan. It doesn’t have to be as thorough as your initial plan but you need to have some kind of a plan.
That is a system. It is how you ensure your requirements are met.
A system will also help make the standard less subjective.
As for 9001, whether you use it for small business or big corporations, the requirements remain the same. Remember that the requirements of 9001 are not the same as the requirements of the customers.
The requirements of your customer are your main guide.
While the requirements of the 9001 standard are your guide to make sure that you are able to meet the requirements of your customer. To achieve the requirements of the customer is the goal of your business.
When you plan to implement ISO 9001 in your business, you think of your customer as your king. You serve them. To give the king what he wants is your ultimate goal.
Another way of looking at it is this…
Your customer is the lifeblood of your business.
No customer, No Lifeblood.
No customer, No Business.
For a business to achieve its goals, whether its quality of product or service, it needs to have a system to keep all things together.