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Quality assurance iso 9000

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					Quality assurance iso 9000



Before discussing company-wide Quality Management systems, it is necessary to define the
definition of Quality Management (QM). Many organizations and other groups of individual
people have attempted to define QM. There are several different operational definitions of quality
that are commonly used in many industries. The most common definition of QM is that, it is an
integrated approach to achieve and sustain high quality output, focusing on the maintenance and
continuous improvement of processes and defect prevention at all levels of the organization, in
order to meet or exceed customer expectations. Quality management can be classified into two
broad categories, industry-specific QM and non-industry specific QM. For example, some QM
programs such as ISO 14000,AS9100, QS 9000, and TL 9000 are industry specific and others,
including Lean management, Six Sigma, TQM, and ISO 9000:2000, are company-wide quality
management programs. Our objective in this article is to compare the company-wide quality
management systems, before comparing the systems, let me illustrate the high level view of the
company-wide QM systems.

The Lean QM program mainly focuses on removing non-value-added activities from processes
and services in an organization. Japanese engineers, primarily Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo,
developed an approach called the Toyota production system, which the Western world calls Lean
management. The main components of the Lean quality management system are called the 5S
system: sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain. Similar to the principles of Lean
management, Six Sigma has drawn intense interest from the business communities. It was
developed by Motorola in the 1980s and was popularized by General Electric's chief executive
officer (CEO) Jack Welch and others in the 1990s. It is a data-driven approach for process
improvement. Using statistical tools and mathematical modeling in Six Sigma, one can reduce the
defect rate between 3.4 per million and 2 per billion. The framework, called DMAIC (define:
define the scope of the problem, measure: collect the data to analyze the problem, analyze:
determine the root cause, implement: implement the solution to the problem, and control: monitor
and make it defect free), is the heart of Six Sigma.

Similar to Lean management and Six Sigma, a considerable number of companies have applied
TQM, which is another quality management system and is the subject of many books and
research papers. It is not a new concept, but it is an extension of a company-wide quality concept
from Japan. Researchers have identified several definitions for TQM. The commonly known
definition of TQM is that, it is an ongoing process whereby top management takes whatever steps
necessary to enable everyone in the organization in the course of performing all duties to
establish and achieve standards which meet or exceed the needs and expectations of their
customers, both external and internal. TQM is a never-ending process to satisfy both the internal
and the external customers and the customer focus in all activities in an organization. It uses
statistical tools to make defect-free processes. The core ideas presented by Deming, Juran,
Crosby, and Ishikawa are the key elements of TQM. ISO 9000 is another powerful QM system
similar to Lean management, Six Sigma, and TQM which is designed for all industries
worldwide to support continuous improvement. It is a set of international standards and
guidelines developed by a technical committee composed of experts from business and other
organizations around the world to promote QM in organizations. There are five ISO standards:
ISO 9000, ISO 9001, ISO 9002, ISO 9003, and ISO 9004. ISO 9000:2000 is the most
comprehensive and it provides a model for quality assurance in design, development, production,
installation, and services.

I'm sure that, you can understand the high-level overview of company wide QM systems. Let us
compare the systems now.

Lean Management focuses on process flow. It assumes that eliminating waste can improve
performance. Commonly noted benefits of Lean are improving productivity; quality and
flexibility. But the importance of using statistical analysis was not valued in Lean.

Six Sigma assumes that focusing on process performance can improve operational efficiency
which can improve customer satisfaction. The assumption of this approach is that, variation exists
in all processes and analyzing this variance can improve performance. There are two kinds of
variation in any process. One is normal variation and other is abnormal variation. Six Sigma talk
about normal variation but not abnormal variation. This is a common criticism of using Six
Sigma.

Unlike Lean and Six Sigma, TQM focuses on all activities. This approach would assume quality
is everyone's responsibility. All employees in an organization should put their best efforts to
improve the quality of their products. It focuses on long term results which require lot of co-
ordination.

Finally ISO. It is a detailed document oriented approach for quality. It is a kind of inward looking
approach. The factors affecting business such as environment analysis, market demands, and
business demands are not considered.

Numerous surveys of the above mentioned QM programs have been conducted around the world
since 1990. Each QM system begins its quality journey from a different perspective and drives
toward the common goal of customer satisfaction. Some organizations integrate one quality
system into other to get maximum benefits from the quality management programs. The
important lesson for any organization to learn is that, by just picking up a company-wide QM
system and starting to implement them will not bring fruitful results. Organizations should use
Deming's Plan-Do-Check-Act approach to implement any QM system. Considering
organizational needs; customizing QM program to meet the needs; conducting some sort of pilot
testing to fine tune the approach before full-scale implementation would bring maximum
benefits. But do not forget to fine tune the approach further by evaluating the results before
standardizing your company specific company wide QM program.


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