Quality’s Journey to Create ‘Sustained Success’
Guest Post by Robert Pojasek (first posted on CERM ® RISK INSIGHTS – reposted here with permission)
The initial journey to create “sustained success” got off to a difficult start in 1987 when the intent was for quality managers to implement ISO 9004 followed by ISO 9001 for certification purposes. ISO 9004 was viewed as being associated with TQM. The extra work that was needed to fulfill TQM led organizations to use ISO 9001:1987 alone to certify their processes.
In 1994, ISO 9001 was revised with minimal changes. Many organizations used ISO 9004:1994 as “guidelines” to implement ISO 9001:1994. This led to the recognition of some of the organizational guidelines that were found in ISO 9004.
With this recognition, ISO 9001:2000 was published with ISO 9004:2000 as a “consistent pair.” The status of ISO 9004 became the use as a guide for improving an organization’s QMS. Some certification bodies provided a “certificate of recognition” for companies that integrated the two standards together. The book, “Stepping up to ISO 9004:2000,” was published with the subtitle: “A Practical Guide for Creating a World-Class Organization.” However, there were still quality managers that continued to focus on improving the company’s processes. After all, this is what quality management is all about! I was certified to audit ISO 9001:2000. But, I was really drawn to ISO 9004 guidelines through my work with the Baldrige Performance Management Program and the Australian Business Excellence Program.
ISO 9001:2008 was published with minimal changes. ISO 9004:2009 contained several important changes and new tools that sought to improve an organization’s QMS. It acknowledged that having a QMS was not enough! Organizations must take further steps to achieve “sustained success.” They must meet the interests of their customers and other interested parties (stakeholders).ISO 9004:2009 became the “bridge” between quality management requirements and excellence models in an organization’s quest for sustained success.
ISO 9001 Quality Management
The introduction to ISO 9001:2015 states, adoption of a quality management system is a strategic decision for an organization that can help to improve its overall performance and provide a sound basis for “sustainable development initiatives.” Seemingly, this statement acknowledges the publication of ISO Guide 82:Sustainability, with its information on sustainable development.
The potential benefits to an organization of implementing a quality management system are:
- the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and applicable
- statutory and regulatory requirements
- facilitating opportunities to enhance customer satisfaction
- addressing opportunities and threats associated with its context and objectives
- the ability to demonstrate conformity to specified quality management system requirements.
There is no other information on sustainable development in the ISO 9001:2015 quality management system standard.
ISO 9004 Quality of an Organization
ISO 9001:2015 focuses on providing confidence in an organization’s products and service. ISO 9004:2018 focuses on the degree to which the inherent characteristics of the “organization” fulfil the needs and expectations of its customers and other stakeholders, to achieve sustained success. It is up to the organization to determine what is relevant to achieve sustained success.
An organization is defined by its identity and context. The identity of the organization is determined by its characteristics, based on its mission, vision, values and culture. Context was added to ISO using the ISO high-level structure beginning in 2012. It involves the scanning of the organization’s internal and external context for the ‘effect of uncertainty’ (potential adverse effects [threats] and potential beneficial effects [opportunities]).
Achieving Sustained Success
An organization must go beyond the quality of its products and services and the interests of the stakeholders. To achieve sustained success, the organization should focus on anticipating and meeting the interests of its stakeholders with the intent of enhancing their satisfaction and overall experience. With regards to the quality principles outlined in ISO 9001:2015, the organization should place attention on “customer focus” and “relationship management” to meet the different interests of the stakeholder.
Leaders at all levels establish “unity of purpose” to create conditions in which people are engaged in achieving all the organization’s objectives. Getting everyone focused on the organizational objectives is a challenge. Everyone must work in unison to achieve full organizational potential and to produce sustainable long-term results. This is what we call “achieving sustained success.”
Quality Management – Quality of an Organization – Guidance to Achieve Sustained Success.
With this section title, you better understand why the title for ISO 9004:2018 needs to be so long. It typifies the juxtaposition of management systems, organization quality, and the unity of purpose that support the organization’s journey from maintaining quality to contributing to sustainable development. Practitioners of sustainable development are turning to these ISO documents to realign our compass to global sustainability.
International Organization for Standardization (2014). “Guidelines for Addressing Sustainability in Standards.” Geneva: ISO.
International Organization for Standardization (2018). “Quality Management – Quality of an Organization – Guidance to Achieve Sustained Success.” Geneva: ISO
International Organization for Standardization (2015). “Quality Management Systems – Requirements.” Geneva: ISO
Pojasek, R.B. (2017). Organizational Risk Management and Sustainability: A Practical Step-by-Step Guide.” Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group.
Sheps, I. and L’Esperance, P.L. (2018). “A Standard’s Evolution: How ISO 9004:2018 came to be.” Retrieved from: https://asq.org/quality-progress?2018/08/standard-issues/a-standards-evolution.html
Westcott, R.T. (2003). “Stepping Up to ISO 9004:2000.” Chica, CA: Paton Press LLC
Robert B. Pojasek, Ph.D. is the Managing Director of the Center for Corporate Performance & Sustainability. He consults to companies seeking to upscale their sustainability programs (at the Corporate level, operating facilities and supply chain) using the ISO “high-level structure” and the ISO 9004 concept of ““Sustained Success.” Dr. Pojasek has been teaching organizational sustainability online at Harvard University for the past 18 years. He has written two textbooks on this topic: “Organizational Risk Management and Sustainability: A Practical Step-by-Step Guide” and “How New Risk Management Helps Leaders Master Uncertainty.” The Center’s staff is completing a book on “Mastering the Alphabet Soup of Sustainable Development: A leadership Guide.” You can learn more about the Center’s activity on its LinkedIn website: https://lnkd.in/etuG7t4