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  KAZAKHSTAN International Business Magazine №2, 2004
 ISO 9001:2000: A New Management Approach
ISO 9001:2000: A New Management Approach
Ramilya Mustafina, Quality Management System Auditor, Director of the Quality Management Center
In the context of the integration of the Kazakhstan economy into the global economy, the issues related to running a business are of vital importance. The Strategy of Industrial and Innovation Development requires large-scale technical upgrading and neces-sitates in implementing the quality management and environ-mental systems in accordance with the requirements of the international standards ISO 9001 and 14001.
Programme documents for developing the national systems of standardization and certification have been drafted in Kazakhstan, moreover, the plan for an accelerated transition of Kazakhstan enterprises to international quality standards has been prepared.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 148 countries. Each country has one vote. It is a non-governmental organization with the purpose of promoting the development of standardization and related activities with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services. ISO’s work, results in international agreements that are published as International Standards.
On the threshold of Kazakhstan’s accession to the World Trade Organization, local businesses show an increasing interest in certification to quality management system standards (ISO 9000). The ISO 9000 series of standards are very popular abroad as well. According to the International Organization for Standardization more than 560,000 organizations in 159 countries around the world have implemented quality management systems in accordance with the requirements of ISO 9000.
Why is ISO 9000 so attractive for the companies and organizations around the world? It is because using this management system helps organization improve the quality of products/services, reduce the prime costs, expand market shares and improve coordination between the employees, which, in turn, results in increased competitiveness. Quality management system implementation shifts the focus for an organization to the customer, helps organizations to manage their resources effectively, applies a process approach to business management and guides the leadership of the management.
The family of the ISO 9000 standards that define the activities of organizations in the area of quality management, irrespective of the sphere or industry they are operating in. This standard was first issued in 1987. The implementation of a formal quality management system reduces the risks for customers when buying products or services. In the year 2000 a new revision of this standards was adopted. The ISO 9001:2000 standard is in fact the document that outlines the requirements that an organization must satisfy when seeking international certification to this quality management system standard.
Eight principles define the concept of this standard.
Let us review in brief the meaning of each of these principles.
Principle 1. Consumer Focus:
Organizations depend on their customers and therefore should understand current and future customer needs, should meet customer requirements and strive to exceed customer expectations.
Principle 2. Management Leadership:
The management of the organization should ensure the unity of purpose and direction, be the leader in a process of building a quality management system and provide this process with the required resources. An environment should be maintained so that people can become fully involved in achieving the organization’s objectives.
Principle 3. Involvement of Employees:
People at all levels are the essence of an organization and their full involvement enables their abilities to be used for the organization’s benefit.
Principle 4. Process Approach:
The company should view its activity as a sequence of processes and should identify these processes to be able to manage them effectively.
Principle 5. System Approach:
Identifying, understanding and managing interrelated processes as a system contributes to the organization’s effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its objective.
Principle 6. Continuous Improvement:
The company should strive for continuous improvement of its activity and the quality management system should serve as a mechanism for achieving this.
Principle 7. Making Informed Decisions:
Effective decisions are based on the analysis of data and information.
Principle 8. Mutually Beneficial Relations with the Suppliers:
An organization and its suppliers are interdependent and a mutually beneficial relationship enhances the ability of both to create value.
All these principles are important and should get equal attention on the part of top management as they prepare their organization for ISO 9001:2000 certification.
However, for us as consultants, the most important aspect is the management leadership principle. The point is that preparation of a company for ISO 9001:2000 certification is rather a complicated and time-consuming process. Such preparation requires the leading role of management in consolidation of financial, technical and intellectual resources of the company. Top management must be committed.
However, very often, we, the consultants, face the situation when the company’s management just wants to get an ISO 9001:2000 certificate without making the appropriate effort. The incentive in such cases is a wish to participate in tenders for supply of the company’s products/services and the fact that more and more often the requirement exists that the potential suppliers should be ISO 9001:2000 certified.
Therefore, consultants are often asked to develop a “standard” package of documents for a quality management system without any involvement of the company itself and the managers of the company hope to pass successfully the certification audit based on this package and obtain the desired certification to ISO 9001:2000. This approach misses the point and philosophy of this standard.
The above-mentioned principles show that a superficial approach to the implementation of ISO 9001:2000 requirements in the company is impossible. The managers of the companies and organizations should have a clear understanding of what they need to do if they make a decision to prepare their companies and organizations for ISO 9001:2001 certification. There is nothing wrong when a company makes the decision to implement a quality management system because of some external circumstances, for example at the demand of its customer. The wrong actions occur when, in order to satisfy this demand, the company’s management makes the decision to obtain a certification by the wrong method, without company involvement in the development.
Preparation for certification involves the process of development and implementation of a quality management system that meets the requirements of ISO 9001:2000. To this effect management needs to educate themselves and their employees, identify the main processes within the company, identify responsibilities and authorities of the employees within the framework of such processes and the interrelation of these processes, determine what documents need to be created or revised to ensure the uninterrupted functioning of the processes, prepare needed documentation, train the employees how to use these new documents and learn how to perform internal audits of the implemented quality management system.
The Quality Management Center (QMC), sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Enterprise Development Project implemented by The Pragma Corporation renders assistance to Kazakhstani enterprises in developing and implementing the quality management systems in accordance with the requirements of ISO 9001:2000.
Work experience with the companies that are clients of the Quality Management Center shows that just the process of developing
the quality management system allows the companies to identify their bottlenecks and “areas for improvement”. Our clients solve these problems through coordination of authorities and responsibilities, describing such problem areas in the appropriate documents of the quality management system, and thereby increasing the effectiveness of their activity.
This is a very brief description of the work that a company will have to accomplish before it becomes ready for a certification audit. This audit will either confirm the compliance of the quality management system in accordance with ISO 9001:2000 requirements and the company will be certified, or the company will be required to correct non-compliances found prior to a certification being awarded.
If the company succeeds, then the certification is valid for three years. The company will then have surveillance audits at least once a year to confirm continued compliance. This audit allows the certifying authority to be satisfied that the company follows the developed quality management system. Thus, the development and functioning of an effective quality management system is only possible with active and continuous participation of the company’s management and involvement of all employees into the continuous improvement process.
Why do the companies all over the world try to attain ISO 9001:2000 certification? It is not only because the certification helps to more easily enter the international market, participate in international biddings, find a foreign partner, etc. In general, building a quality management system helps management and employees of the company to master new management principles and identify their weaknesses. It helps the management functions to be more transparent and responsibility at all levels can be clearly determined. The standard requirements are based on modern TQM philosophies that allow the companies that have successfully implemented ISO 9001:2000 to make the first important step towards a new management approach. 
To get any additional information, please, contact Almaty office of the Quality Management Center

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