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ISO 9000/2000 Essay

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The company that this essay will focus upon is ABC Trading Company. The main operations of this company is to trade high tech equipments and in this essay we will see how the company fulfills its trade contract as a sole agent in Hong Kong supplying high tech medical equipment.

This essay will cover many areas regarding ABC Company especially the document that is to be prepared in order to show the procedure of documentation and information control of the company. In this part of the essay we will see how the company maintains the quality of its records and focuses on control of its customer’s property rights. Moreover we will also discuss the implementation stage of this document where we will see what are the main focuses in this stage and also and what is the control procedure.

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Moving on with the other half of the essay, we will analyze the role of a team leader in the implementation of such a policy document in the audit department. Furthermore the essay also includes what sort of records are these, what are their main functions and why are they so important to maintained under the rules and regulations set forth by ISO standards(Kanholm, 2001).

In the end, the essay will talk about how important is continuous improvement for an organization in the eyes of ISO standards. In order to explain this concept the essay will include an example of an organization which will be analyzed in order to see how it can be continuously improved by following the ISO criteria.

When we talk about data and information collection and management, we perform a full fledge analysis which will eventually result in a document that outlines the company’s policy regarding the information sources and resources of the company and how it should control it.

This document will confirm the effectiveness and suitability of the QMS by first analyzing the data and then indentifying and recommending ways for improvement in information and data management.

First of all we need to see what the basic information sources of a company are.  First of all data and information is collected from the quality of products, then the information collected from processes and operations of a company and lastly information received by the customers of the company.

ABC Company collects information from all these three sources as well. Information from the quality and testing department gives information about the quality of the product, information about stocks, costing and quantity of the product is taken from the operations and process departments of the company and lastly, once the customers use the product they give feedback regarding the product through mail or at call centers (Hutchins, 1995).

As the management representative of the company, the first and the foremost thing that all the departments need to take care is that the information that is collected from should be correct and accurate as any sort of information that is false is actually worse than no information at all. The information should be on time and up to date, it must be analyzed properly by each department and  then applied as well because when we process on data, it becomes information and when we work on information it becomes knowledge which as a step ahead of only having information.

In order to implement these facts in the company that we have chosen for the essay, we can devise the information architecture as follows. The customer relation department gathers exact accurate and up to date information from customers be testing and authenticating it from different sources. At the same time the operation department uses that information to order for goods and products so that they can be supplied to customers. Only if the information is collected and distributed efficiently, only then would the company be able to work at its full potential and minimal flaws in its operations. Once the medical goods and products arrive at the company’s show rooms and go downs, the testing and quality department collects information about the quality of the product in order to match the quality of the product with the quality standards set forth by the customer. In order to satisfy the customer this is very necessary otherwise the customer can get back to the company with a negative feedback. As soon as the customer uses the product, he is expected to send in a product feedback, this product feedback should also be analyzed and used efficiently because feedback is the best way to improve the processes of an organization or a company. Although these processes and stages of information collection have numerous branches under their heads and the information assets that are made by these information resources are huge, still the company tries to use paper material to the lowest when transferring and storing information. All the information is stored on a computer that is provided with the equipment and thus there is no need for storing data on paper. Also when communicating information from one department to another, electronic means and files are preferred rather than printing the document and then making files (Hoyle, 1998).

The main focus regarding information storage and information of this document is that first of all it is the basic requirement for ISO9001: 2000. Without proper documentation, a company is not eligible to be certified as an ISO certified company. This document describes the QMS for the entire organization, provides flow of information across different functional departments of an organization, serves as a means of commitment towards quality management and the senior management and also enables employees to understand their roles in QMS.

A proper documentation lay’s down the basis for a methodology that is used by the employees throughout the organization whenever it comes to storage and implementation of data. It provides a clear and effective framework of operations and also serves a training material for a new employee. In many organizations, employees use variation in the methodology of storage and implementation of information which often results in damaged or inefficient use of information, thus a documented methodology reduces these variations and thus makes storage and implementation more effective and productive.

Lastly, this document also serves as a guideline for the audit department when the carry out their actions and it becomes easier for the audit department to identify variations in data storage, implementation and also in finding discrepancies.

This part o the essay will analyze the role of a team leader in the internal audit of an organization along with an example of an organization of the choice of the writer (Tricker, 2005). In order to analyze the role of a leader for an internal audit, first of all we need to see what is a role of a leader in an organization as a whole?

By definition leaders are the ones who are responsible to give an organization a direction to perform and create a unity of purpose in an organization. Therefore it is the duty, responsibility and a quality of the leader in order to maintain the internal in such a way that the employees are able to involve the operations and tasks to their fullest of capabilities in pursuit of obtaining the organization goals and objectives.

A leader has to take care of what are the needs of the employees that work under him and he must under line and clarify the quality standards that he expects from them. A leader analyses the objectives of the employee and the objectives of the firm and then sets quality standards that match both of them in order to get the maximum out of the employee and the organization processes.

A leader in organization also defines job responsibilities in organization on the basis of merit and capabilities that each employee has. For example, he differentiates between those employees who have the capability to carry out managerial activities out of those who are only good with clerical or lower management work.

Furthermore, a leader also behaves like an elder brother to his subordinates where he provides them with enough space and room in order to help them develop and polish their own skills as well. With this a leader is required to constantly evaluate the performance of his employees under the Quality Management System.

The role of a leader of an audit team as an auditor is to be calm and polite under all circumstances because all that goes wrong in the organization is supposed to be checked by him, he is there to check all wrongs, thus if he does not tolerates and accepts these wrong doings, he won’t be able to identify them in the next audit or take corrective measures (Morris, 1998). The leader or auditor is expected to be punctual at work and not being late because he needs to set an example for those who are following him. If the leader is late, so will be the subordinates, therefore in order to make a company a properly certified ISO company, and reap its benefits, the leader should also comply with all requirements of the certification.

A leader also needs to be careful with personal interrelationships and potential union problems in order to guard the organization against any rift or unfavorable behavior from the employees. Lastly, in case of any dispute, an auditor is supposed to be independent in thought and neutral in attitude in order to make the best possible and wise decision.

A leader first decides and then announces the opening of an audit meeting by identifying, the scope, purpose, and standards used by the auditing team while auditing different departments of an organization. The audit can be done on-site or on the basis of non – conformance reporting. The leader also at the end of the meeting analyzes and announces the overall rating of the audit, its outcomes, and the date when the audit finishes and then submits and signs the final audit report for the executive officials (Arnold, 1994).

In this part of the essay we will now discuss the scope of an internal audit and the records that are created in order to carry out the audit. Also, in this part of the essay we will look at the importance of above listed records and the reasons why they are used in an audit.

When maintaining records, the audit should cover the main following points and maintain their records to come to a conclusion.

First of all an audit must include the records of improvements that are made after the implementation period of at least three months of the new objectives, goals and strategies that are distributed by the team leader.  The reason for making a record of any improvements is to check how effective have been the Quality Management Systems been in improving the quality of operations in organization and what more improvement do they need. It is important to compare these records with records that have been maintained previously in order to calculate the difference. If there are no differences or if the situation is worse, then the Quality Management System should be checked abruptly for management issues (Grimes, 2002).

The audit should maintain records in order to conduct a self test audit before the final certification team comes and audits the company. Records must be prepared with efficiency for this internal audit because if this audit is not conducted properly, then the ISO certification team audit will definitely point out errors and lacking in the audit of the company. Therefore this audit is necessary in order to satisfy the Certification on their first attempt and not letting them identify for mistakes which might lead to further alterations in the business process and also exposes the company to legal charges (Hoyle, 2005).

The audit should record all the corrective measures that have been taken this time because the company might use this information in the coming years in the case when the company is again exposed to similar situations. This is exactly same as the records that the company uses that have been saved in the past in order to make their decisions and judgments easier by basing the decisions on the successful corrective measures that have been taken in the past in similar situations.

This record is also important because this record helps us analyze and differentiate between corrective measures that have been successful in the past and that have been a failure in the past so that even if the decision making team makes a mistake in calculation they might get alarmed by the contradictory results obtained in the past.

One of the most important records in an audit is the record of complaints and feedbacks that are received by customers to an organization. Customer complaints and feedbacks are the best asset for an organization in order to improve their products and as well as their customer service.  The reason why these records are important is to see and compare from past about what sorts are complaints are those which have been consistent in the past several years and is still there this year. What corrective measures have been taken for these complaints and feedbacks and how successful have they been in order to satisfy the customers. Moreover, when we talk about positive feedback, we need to maintain separate records for both positive and negative feedback because it easier to distinguish between policies that make the customers happy and those that annoy the customers.

This is the last of the essay in which we will take the same organization, that is , ABC trading company in order to see how improvement actions  can able the organization under discussion to be Improve continuously.  We have already given a brief description of the company in the earlier part of the essay and thus we wills straight away start with the methods and techniques with which the organization already has and will be able in the future to experience continuous improvements in its operations.

A QMS plan for ABC requires a continuous plan for corrective and preventive measures and in this way the company can achieve continuous improvement stage.

Starting from the very beginning, ABC is required to keep a check on its management for daily improvements. In order to do this ABC should be provided with a Quality Policy that should improve the working environment or the office environment after it is implemented. Moreover, this quality policy for daily improvement should also be confirmed by checks from a manager over his subordinates and incase any employee fails, he should be guided and trained on daily basis to improve and come to the mark and standards of the rest of the organization.

Moreover, apart from daily improvements, ABC also needs significant improvements that may need a plan to be implemented for a longer period of time. These changes may include the changes in production process, specification of products or the authority or responsibility of employees. For example, if customers do expect the company to come up with new features quite often, then the company must work continuously to look for medical equipment that has more features than before in order to satisfy their customers.

The management at ABC Company should confirm the improvement plan time to time in order to keep the plan in track on the track of improvement and also not varying from the improvement plan. Once the improvement plan is implemented the management should also start looking for new improvement plans so that the shortcomings and other lag behinds should not be over looked by the company under the existing implemented improvement plan.  Here is a list of common improvement plans and activities out of which some of the activities are already implemented by the organization in question and the rest should also be implemented in order to implement the improvement plan in the best possible way.

Internal audit
Analysis of information
Corrective actions
Preventive actions
PDCA cycle
Management review
To conclude, as we have taken up the example of ABC trading company we see that it is very important for an organization to full fill the basic requirements of the ISO certifications because ISO certifications increase the credibility of the company in the market in the eyes of both the suppliers and the customers. ISO certifications also help the company to manage its operations in a much better way as we have seen the way in which documentation helps the company define a clear, crisp and efficient policy for maintaining, storing and implementing information as well as the importance of a leader and an improvement plan. Thus if all these characteristics are employed, a company will feel a change in itself rather being an ISO certified company and the environment of the company will itself become organized and efficient.

References:

Arnold, K (1994). Manager’s Guide to ISO 9000. Free Press

Beaumount, L (2002). ISO 9001, The Standard Interpretation. ISO Easy

Gupta, P (2006). ISO 9000: 2000 An Implementation Guide. Booksurge Publishing

Grimes, K (2002). ISO 9001:2000 A Practical Quality Manual Explained ASQ Quality Press

Hoyle, D (2005). ISO 9000 Quality Systems Handbook. Butterworth-Heinemann

Hoyle, D (1998). Iso 9000 Quality Systems Development Handbook: A Systems Engineering Approach

Hutchins, G (1995). The ISO 9000 Workbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Developing Quality Manuals and Procedures (Paperback). Wiley

Kanholm, J (2001). ISO 9000 in Our Company, Self-Study Course for Personnel. AQA Co.

Morris, A (1998). Measurement and Calibration Requirements for Quality Assurance to ISO 9000. Wiley; Rev Sub edition

Tricker, R (2005). ISO 9001: 2000 For Small Businesses. Butterworth-Heinemann

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