ISO9001:2015 uses the Deming cycle of Plan Do Check Act as it’s basis, and the 2015 version of the standard really drives forward business improvement through clauses 9 and 10 but how many companies are actually consciously taking steps to identify areas where improvement can be made, and then taking action to drive in those improvements?
Clause 9.1 asks us to consider what measurement and monitoring activities we want to take to address known areas of risk and opportunity. It encourages us to analyse the data we gather and to make informed decisions on the basis of that information. It is backed up by 9.2 (Audit) and 9.3 (Management Review), both of which provide further areas for us to consider how well we are doing and where we have areas which could be improved.
In auditing companies who have really got their teeth into the 2015 standard I am seeing some really positive stuff being identified as improvement opportunities. One company decided to review the accuracy of their quotation process, undertaken by 3 members of staff, to see just how the actual cost of the delivery of work compared to their quotation process. They identified quite significant differences between the 3 members of staff and put in place some measures to re-train and re-focus. Six months later the variation has gone and the business is making more money as a result.
In other cases businesses are struggling to see that these 3 clauses all provide information to aid the improvement process and are losing out as a result. Management review is the key to this but if you only hold your meetings annually you miss the chance to put in quick interventions. Consider increasing the number of management review meetings you hold and really use them to consider all the information you have about your business performance. There could be some surprising areas of ‘gain’ to be had.