What Are Quality Management Principles?
Many quality standards and compliance requirements
are established externally. Sometimes customers set the bar, but most often industry bodies and action groups establish requirements. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), for example, issues quality management principles to help manufacturers work more efficiently and reduce product failures.
Standards established by the ISO and others became the “norm,” and often dictate best practices. Their quality management principles influence how things are done—and what customers expect.
Measuring Quality Compliance
Setting standards is a great first step. But without measurement, it’s impossible to make progress. Statistical Process Control (SPC) methodology
, which many manufacturers already use to control quality, is an important tool for measuring quality compliance. In fact, some certifications—such as SQF from the Safe Quality Food Institute—require
the use of SPC to comply with safety and quality standards.
Why Do Quality Management Principles Matter?
Manufacturers meet external quality standards to achieve certification—and to validate to customers and prospects that they’re operating in the most consistent and productive manner. Standards such as ISO 9001 cover more than just the plant floor—they address how quality permeates leadership, engagement, relationship management, decision making, and more. That’s why quality management principles are an important piece of building a culture around quality.
Start with the Basics: ISO Quality Management Principles
The ISO 9000 family of standards are based on seven quality management principles:
- Customer Focus: How manufacturers use quality management to meet or exceed customer expectations. Manufacturers can achieve customer focus by deeply understanding customers’ needs—and by measuring and monitoring customer satisfaction.
- Leadership: Leaders create working conditions that support quality and align quality to organizational strategies, policies, and processes. They can also make sure quality initiatives are properly resourced.
- People Engagement: People need appropriate training to support quality, but also recognition and empowerment to take initiative toward quality improvement. Engaged workers understand how their individual contributions affect quality performance, and are empowered to speak up, collaborate, and contribute to continuous improvement.
- Process Approach: Consistent and predictable results are a key measure of quality. This ISO 9001 principle requires manufacturers to understand and manage interrelated processes in ways that optimize performance. To do this, organizations map out interdependencies and design smooth and reliable manufacturing processes, from start to finish.
- Continuous Improvement: This quality management principle is designed to help manufacturers react to changes in the internal and external environment and create new opportunities. Continuous improvement affects process performance, organizational capabilities, and customer satisfaction. It also requires proactive audits, planning, and analyses.
- Evidence-based Decision Making: Here, ISO instills data, analysis, and evaluation as manufacturers’ best resources for success. Manufacturers need to understand the cause-and-effect relationships between various inputs and processes—and be able to objectively model consequences. To do this, manufacturers need access to accurate, reliable, and timely information, and the data needs to be available to the right people.
- Relationship Management: Manufacturing companies need a network of suppliers, partners, investors, and workers to produce quality products. Those relationships need to be proactively managed so that everyone stays aligned on goals, values, and quality expectations. ISO suggest that companies measure the performance of relevant parties and provide feedback to enhance quality.
Every industry has a set of quality management principles—basic concepts or standards of quality—to comply with. In organizations that master quality, these principles are embedded in daily language and decision making and set the bar for quality.