Continuous improvement is one of the most important principles in the ISO 9001: 2015 quality management system. This standard plays an important role in maintaining the competitiveness of the organization. Time has shown that many organizations that go out of business just because they can not grow as fast as their competitors!
What is continuous improvement?
Continuous improvement is defined as: “Repeated activity to increase the ability to meet requirements.”
ISO 9001 focuses on increasing the ability to meet quality requirements. Recovery measures are similar to problem-solving measures. The big difference is that improvement actions are planned and usually organized as part of a larger program, while problem solving is usually unplanned.
What makes continuous improvement?
Continuous improvement is driven by the goals set by the senior management team. At a minimum, quality objectives should include the following:
- Improve internal performance
- Individual requirements of the customer
- The level of performance that your market segment expects
There is no requirement for the organization to set improvement goals for all its processes at any time. It is unrealistic to expect an organization to progress simultaneously in all potential developments. Any improvement requires commitment and resource credibility, which should be prioritized by senior executives, especially if investment is required.
How are sources of improvement opportunities identified?
Improving opportunities comes from the following resources:
- Customer satisfaction
- Complaints and customer feedback
- Market research and analysis
- Information of employees, suppliers and other interested persons
- Internal and external audit of the quality system
- Identify product or process non-compliance
- Data from process and product characteristics and their processes
Improvement opportunities may also be identified on a project-by-project basis. The following are examples of such projects:
- Inspection / testing too
- Shipping and storage too
- Excessive breakdown and cost for quality
- Device replacement time
Most organizations with a quality management system use some kind of PDCA cycle. An iterative four-step model used in business to continuously control and improve processes and products.
The four stages of the Deming cycle include the following activities:
- Plan: Planning
- DO: Perform or perform an experiment
- Check: Check
- Act: To act or act
Plan or execute a plan
At this stage, planning requirements are created. After paragraph 4 – the text of the organization, 5 – leadership, 6 – planning and 7 – support (resources), a planned management system and steps will be created.
In paragraph 4, the organization determines its text in accordance with the different requirements of the paragraph. Section 5 identifies the responsibilities, powers, and roles required in the management system, as well as those related to leadership. Section 6 sets out the provisions of the PDCA cycle that include important requirements such as risks, objectives, and planning, and ends with Section 7, which includes all the necessary resources of a management system.
doing an experiment
Step DO As planned, everything based on the previous requirements is performed in accordance with item 8. Annex SL operations. In this section there is a lot of information for the operation of a management system.
The PDCA cycle is to find out if everything used in the planning stage has been implemented correctly. It is at this point that the management system approves it.
Action or practice
After planning, conduct a test and check the execution time of a management system. This action is mainly done in accordance with non-compliance and corrective measures to achieve continuous improvement of the management system.
The PDCA cycle does not stop here. After 4 steps, it starts again and in the management system, it reprograms, performs tests, reviews and acts. It is a cyclical tool that brings huge benefits to any organization that implements it properly.
So, if you are looking to stay ahead of the competition and continually improve your day-to-day life, aligning yourself with ISO 9001 may be the right step for your business.
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