Ten Tips for Moving to ISO 9001:2000 – 10. Identify Areas for Continual Improvement

According to clause 8.5.1, the organization must continually improve the effectiveness of the quality management system through the use of the quality policy, quality objectives, audit results, analysis of data, corrective and preventive actions, and management review.

Management should continually seek to improve process effectiveness rather than wait for problems to reveal opportunities for improvement. When a problem does occur, the cause must be determined and a corrective action taken to prevent its recurrence.

The new standard emphasizes planning for the system, its resources, its processes, and the measurements necessary to evaluate performance. Part of the planning is to anticipate what might go wrong and try to prevent the occurrence of these potential problems.

Even when processes are producing compliant products, the processes could be more efficient and effective. The aim of a continual improvement program is to increase the odds of satisfying customers by identifying areas needing improvement. After setting improvement objectives, the organization searches for possible solutions, selects and implements the appropriate one, and evaluates results to confirm objectives are met.

The documented quality policy statement must include a commitment to continual improvement. To ensure this focus, the management representative must report to top management on the need for any improvements. In fact, recommendations for improvement must be one of the management review inputs and any actions or decisions regarding improvements must be recorded.

Tips and Guidance

We hope you find these tips, as well as, the guidance in the referenced documents at the ISO web site, useful in your transition planning. Although your registrar cannot consult on possible practices, they should be involved in setting up the transition audit schedule and interpreting requirements.

Effective application of these new and changed requirements in your system, along with continual improvement, will lead to enhanced customer satisfaction and business success. Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable journey.