A cornerstone of any comprehensive quality management system is the establishment of meaningful quality objectives. Quality objectives have been a requirement of the ISO9001 standard for many years. Objectives tied to business process improvement will allow an organization to improve the bottom-line results while focusing our limited resources where they will achieve the most benefit.
The standard requires an organization to establish quality objectives to be measurable, monitored, communicated and updated as appropriate. Quality objectives planning requires us to understand what will be done and with what resources, who is responsible, when will it be done and how results are to be evaluated.
The main business processes should have two or three quality objectives established for each. Keep in mind that objectives are established with a measurement and a goal. The goal should be achievable with reasonable resources applied. Once agreed upon with all relevant parties, report the progress toward the objective monthly. By measuring at that frequency, we can have enough data at Management Review to discern any trends.
Once the objective has been achieved and the trend is holding for a reasonable number of reporting cycles, we should adjust the goal level to set the new objective to be achieved. This then becomes a continuous improvement cycle of objectives setting. If a final level of the objective is met, then the objective moves from being a goal and now needs to be monitored as an ongoing metric for the process. After you move an objective to a metric status, develop a new objective for the process to always ensure there is plenty of opportunities to address.
Peter Sheren is a quality and manufacturing professional with over 30 years of experience in a variety of industries and technologies, operating as an integral member of management teams to develop organizational quality, lean production, and technical operations functions. Peter has also gained extensive knowledge and insight into the power of using the vaunted Toyota Production System to create a lean management system that is focused on waste elimination through empowering the entire workforce. He also has expertise in implementing ISO9000 Quality Management Systems in numerous companies including multi-plant operations.
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