Do You know that Customer Focus is the 1st of 7 Principles of ISO 9001?

If your company is certified, do you recall the 7 principles of ISO 9001? Throughout this article, we want you to relate the 7 principles of ISO 9001 to the foundations of your company’s Quality Management Systems. It doesn’t matter how long ago your QMS was established. The first principle is Customer Focus. Can you take a guess as to what are the remaining 6 principles? Some obvious topics include leadership and the engagement of people.

Hello, I’m Diana, the President of Management Systems International, an ISO Consulting Company. We encourage all of our customers to keep the 7 principles of ISO 9001 in mind during the development of their QMS and as the foundation of their QMS. I won’t go through all of the 7 principles today, but I did cover Customer Focus in our previous blog. In the future, we will devote a blog to leadership. The 3 principles I will cover here today are the least thought of principles: Relationship Management, the Process Approach, and the Evident-based Decision Making.

Of the seven principles ISO 9001 is based on, particular attention should be given to the principles of “customer focus” and “relationship management” in order to meet the different needs and expectations of interested parties. Now, more than ever, our businesses are reliant on how our activities could affect interested parties. This concept is above and beyond this blog. If you have given thought to other parties that are influenced by your business activities, then you are ahead of most other companies. Additionally, this concept was added in the previous version of not only ISO 9001, but was also elaborated on in most of the other ISO Standards particularly the environmental standard, ISO 14001. The means by which the needs and expectations of interested parties are expressed and met can take a wide variety of forms. Examples include co-operation, negotiation, outsourcing, or by terminating an activity. Consequently, the organization should give consideration to the interrelationships of its interested parties when addressing their needs and expectations.

Principles are what our companies abide by. In particular, global standards should be taken into consideration as we set our own company policies. Think of some policies that your company has established. What influenced the formation of those policies? For international companies other global standards had to be taken into mind. If our company has lots of outsourcing activities especially with companies in other countries, social norms are different. But mostly, it could be because of the communities we serve. When you think of Relationship Management, what comes to mind? Maybe the conflicts that arise in building relationships. Good relationship management starts with open communication. Then as we know conflicts will arise, how can we be proactive in preventing these conflicts. Most of the time it’s about people not feeling heard or being understood. Now, as most people who know me, know how fascinated I became with personality identification and development. I refer to these as individual qualities. From what I have experienced, is that personality types can play a role in how each of us communicates. For instance,  an introvert may not speak as much as the colleague who is an extrovert. In my opinion, we don’t devote enough proactive efforts in ensuring our relationships remain respectful.

The process approach to managing our businesses just makes sense. In thinking through all of our business needs, what are the processes and how do they all interact? This is a good thought process to go through. It is an even better idea to review these thoughts, and processes at set intervals to see if there are additional improvements that can be made. Especially if new processes were added and these  new processes could have any effect on the existing processes. (We have added an example of process diagram below.)

Process Map

These 3 of 7 principles is important in our business and maybe even in some respect to our personal lives. I know for me, during the last few years how building on family and friendship relationships became the difference. Consider more how an entity is to be viewed as an interested party and could positively influence outcomes in your business. Most of us like looking as data and hopefully using it to make pivots and/or improvements. Some of the improvements needed are updates or even new procedures.

The last point I want to make regarding the 7 principles is how the Standard affects all of our operations and in how we use evident-based decision making. Really this comes down to the data we are tracking to demonstrate our processes and that our plans are meeting expectations. Deciding and monitoring these is essential to overall success, in a similar way to the financial data that we track. The same goes for on-time delivery, operational capacity and most importantly, customer satisfaction. The remaining 6 principles are: Leadership, Engagement of People, Process Approach, Improvement, Evident-based Decision Making and Relationship Management.I really hope this article assisted you today. Leave a like or even better yet a comment and any insights.

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