Quality Management Certification: Four Action Steps to Success
Quality management certification requires commitment! Without the commitment of senior leadership and key personnel, the ISO 9000 initiative will not be successful. What steps has your company taken within your own organization to establish the right commitment?
Step 1: ISO 9000 Training
It is extremely important that management and key employees who will be involved in the ISO 9000 initiative have received suitable training on quality management certification and quality management systems in general. An easy way to accomplish this is through an ISO 9000 Awareness Course.
Step 2: Develop Your Consultant Wish List
Prior to selecting your quality management consultant, your company must identify your criteria for a consultant. This will allow you to select the consultant that will best fit your needs. Some of the important criteria include:
- Industry knowledge
- Quality standards knowledge
- Training resources offered
- Reference verification results
We suggest that you document this activity so that the results can be scored later as you evaluate specific candidates.
Step 3: Consider Multiple Quality Management Consultants
We recommend that you initially evaluate six candidates and pare that list down to three, then finally down to two: a primary and a secondary choice. You should evaluate your quality management consultants via a formal interview process. Some of the common questions should include the following:
1. Tell us about your previous positions and responsibilities before you became a consultant? A good consultant will have a history with quality management systems and understand the real-time judgments and actions required to map and install a quality management system. In addition, the consultant should have experience implementing quality management systems with both small and large organizations, thus demonstrating flexibility.
2. How many personnel and hours would you assign to our project in order to achieve ISO registration?
3. How will you hit the ground running to achieve success with our ISO project? Most ISO 9000 certifications are driven first by customer demands and secondly by the overall internal need to be in compliance with international industry standards. This often causes companies to attempt to convert their best practices and “know–how” into formally documented processes on their own, but the initiative slows, time is lost and the project stalls. Some of these organizations are just short of the resources they need. A good quality management consultant should be willing to derive a continuing project schedule that is slightly aggressive but manageable. Your ISO 9000 Steering Committee or Working Group should prepare a Project Schedule. This doesn’t need to be a formal Gantt chart, but at least have a timeline that can be shown to the consultant during your interviews for real-time feedback and discussion on overall project coordination. The goal here is to test the prospective quality management consultant’s commitment to your organization, and to convey a sense of urgency about the project. Be aware that both parties will modify that timeline and add tasks, responsibilities and completion dates to the schedule before the actual work begins.
4. Will you agree to sign and adhere to a confidentially agreement? This question is particularly important if you are concerned about privacy and intellectual property. Most working quality management consultants will interface with many different departments and people within your company, and will have a chance to be exposed to formal and informal departmental documentation related to your design, sales, engineering, customer service, production, and other proprietary processes. It is therefore, important that they agree to sign a confidentially agreement. Quality-related knowledge is critical to your success in working with a consultant. So multiple interview questions such as the following are reasonable for discussion:
5. Can you help us understand the best methodology for the successful preparation and implementation of our quality management system documentation? Should we use flowcharts versus contextual procedures?
6. Which processes should be written simultaneously to ensure that a solid framework is created for our quality management system?
7. Describe how you would document and format a quality management manual for our company and our customers?
8. Please give us an interpretation of the management review requirements and how they apply to a typical organization seeking ISO registration. The answers to these questions should tell you the depth of the candidates’ experience and knowledge and help you judge whether or not this is the quality management consultant for you.
Step 4: Finalize Your Project Direction with the Consultant of Choice
Many companies would like to complete their ISO 9001:2015 certification effort with some additional help based upon where they have weaknesses or a lack of resources and would like to choose their needed support for achieving 9001:2015 certification. We can help your organization with choosing your best options for certification; our quality management system support services with regard to your documentation or implementation needs may be what you are looking for. We can assist your company with the following services:
- Map and document your processes
- Establish and implement your document control system for your procedures, records and drawings
- Train on ISO 9000, business skills and office productivity
- Define your design and development processes to meet the needs of your engineering activities
- Establish your process and management system objectives
Some clients would prefer to be lead through ISO 9001:2015 certification from top to bottom and partner with a consulting and training firm allowing the client to focus on their core business operations while also succeeding in completing a successful certification to ISO 9001:2015. We define this type of activity as Turnkey Consulting.
Remember that the flexibility of your quality management consultant is also critically important. To learn more about our turnkey consulting services, we invite your organization to please, complete our request for service questionnaire, and we will contact your organization to discuss our services.