by Ouijdane El Arabi (A graduate of the national school of management and trade Oujda Morocco, a current student in EMUNI University Slovenia in Euro-mediterranean entrepreneurship diploma (EMED). Worked previously in several non profit organizations but also interned in many businesses.
ISO 9001, quality, QSM quality management, certification… Many terms and concepts that have been talked about for the last 10 years and many new entrepreneurs, managers, business students and public get mixed between these concepts and others and find it hard to understand exactly what is about!
In this article we will explain in very simple words what quality is about and what are the most important concepts that we have to know about as students, consumers, entrepreneurs, present or future managers.
Quality, is it about price or about the best product in the market?
In other very simple words, quality is the degree of which the organization presents the object (product, service, process, system…) the way it was exactly demanded by the customer.
The concept of quality is dedicated towards the customer and not for the businesses or for the marketing as lot of people think
Before continuing on other concepts I must clarify something: A Product coming from China is not a product of a small quality, and another product coming from Germany is not a product of a high quality In fact there is NO high , medium or small quality: There is only QUALITY or 0 QUALITY (or NO quality). It all depends on what the customer REQUIRES.
For example if, as a customer, I am asking for a pink long sleeves shirt with a high black neck made of pure cotton and there are 3 companies telling me that they have what I want, when I go and meet with the sales managers of the two businesses I found out that:
|Company A’s offer||Company B’ offer||Company C’ offer|
|A PINK T-SHIRT with a high neck made of cotton||A PINK SHIRT with HIGH BLACK NECK made of cotton||A GREEN shirt with high GREEN neck made of polyester|
So, after reviewing the 3 offers, I figure that Company B is the one who executed what I required: that is QUALITY
Companies A & C have offered different things than what I required: that is 0 QUALITY or NO QUALITY.
And of course the quality issue depends on what I want as a customer, how I want it, when and using which tools.
This subject is strictly related to another important and critical topic, especially for startups and SMES’: writing down product specifications, written statements of an item’s required characteristics, documented in a manner that facilitate its procurement or production and acceptance. Understanding the real meaning of quality assurance and writing down accurate product specifications, may represent the key to success for many firms.
QMS, certifications what are these concepts ?
A quality management system (QMS) on the other hand is a set of policies, requirements, standards, rules needed to accomplish the execution, production through a particular process in the company.
For example, ISO 22301 (business continuity) is a standard to create a BCMS (Business continuity management system).
We hear often that the organization X or the Process Y is certified ISO 9001, and we often do not understand what it means or how it can help us as customers. First of all, the term certification or conformity is a set of processes that show your product, service or system meets the requirements based on ISO’s definition. So when we say that X or Y are certified means that they follow the requirements of a standard (ISO 9001 for eg).
In very simple words, it means that the organization respects the rules of ISO 9001 in making a certain product, service or system. This is verified by an independent, third party competent Organization (http://www.bulltek.com/registrar_assistance/registrarassistance.html). Anyhow, you can internally use the standard references as a guideline even without being certified”
ISO 9001, 27001, 22000,14000…., what is the difference ?
Each of these standards is designed in most cases for a particular type of industry, service… Let’s see which is which:
ISO 9000: is related to quality management (ISO 9001 means that the business have respected the quality required by the customer from the very first stages of concepts to the very last steps of production and beyond. ISO 9002 means that quality was respected from the production till the after sales services….)
- ISO 22000 is about food safety management
- ISO 27001 is related to data and information management
- ISO 14000 is related to environmental management
- ISO 4217 is a standard for currency codes.
The list goes on and on (please check the ISO website for popular standards https://www.iso.org/popular-standards.html ) , and ISO has put a standard for various numbers of disciplines, industries and areas and that are very specific, however ISO 9000 is one of the standards that can be applicable to every industry or process and has become very important in many aspects of business life.
How can ISO 9000 helps my business as an entrepreneur?
Being certified as ISO 9000 family does help the organizations in many ways:
- Works positively towards image building and good reputation of the business.
- Gives quality insurance to the customer.
- Facilitates having funds and cooperation.
- Facilitates growth capital and the search for new shareholders and investors.
- Positions the business I a good rank when compared with competitors.
- Keeps a continuous track of the business audit (Please check DR Max’s article about audit and quality).
- The employees are very concerned of the customers, so they keep being dynamic towards customer helping and customer services.
- The business is up to date and has numerous actions towards its inner and external business environment.