Vol. 15
September Issue
Year 2014

Standards Forum

in Vol. 15 - September Issue - Year 2014
The Seven Principles of Quality Management

Paul Huyton

All quality management standards are, by necessity, complex documents addressing the many aspects of an organization, which affect product or service quality. Yet underlying this complexity are the fundamental principles of how to manage the organization to meet the desired objectives. Understanding these basic principles of quality management gives greater depth of quality awareness and so provides an informed perspective when reviewing quality standard requirements.

ISO 9000 is the most widely used quality management standard and is the baseline standard for AIQG9100 aerospace quality management standards. ISO 9000 was constructed around eight quality management principles, which are being reduced to seven principles in the current revision cycle. The reduction is to eliminate the quality principle of "Having a system approach to management". Any organization implementing ISO 9000 is taking a system approach, so this principle is redundant.

The remaining seven principles of quality management are:

1. Customer Focus. This means understanding your customer’s needs and expectations so that they can flow down throughout your organization. By linking your quality objectives and other targets to these needs and expectations, it is possible to measure how well the customer’s expectations are met or exceeded.

2. Leadership. Engendering unity of purpose throughout an organization is the key factor in business success, and is essential for good quality management. All staff should have a clear concept of the organization’s mission and feel enabled and motivated to help in fulfilling that mission.

3. Involvement of People. All staff should be aware of their role and importance in achieving the organization’s objectives. In taking full ownership of their activities, staff will ensure better work performance, deliver consistent compliance to requirements, and enjoy greater job satisfaction.

4. Process Approach. This clarifies the interaction of activities within the organization and so reduces the risk at those critical points where materials or information move from one activity to the next. Responsibilities are defined and ambiguity reduced at the interface of activities, so enabling timely quality control measures and more predictable outputs.

5. Improvement. Formerly "Continual Improvement", improvement is an important cultural attitude whereby systems can always be improved and complacency must be avoided. A quality management system that is static and unchanging lacks the necessary capability to challenge itself and improve. Such systems will gradually deteriorate or slip-back in comparison to industry norms. Improvement must not be a fortunate accident, but a planned progression.

6. Factual Approach to Decision Making. Using evidence and data rather than opinion provides better decisions and the means of reviewing, verifying, or challenging the decisions. The use of problem-solving tools and techniques is expected in the quality management of a modern organization. Examples are Root Cause Corrective Actions, Statistical Process Control, Failure Mode and Effect Analysis, plus many more.

7. Relationship Management. This is the recognition that an organization and its suppliers are mutually dependent and the relationship must be beneficial to both parties. Short-term cost reduction must not undermine long-term relationships, which enhance quality by risk reduction and process improvement through shared experience.

These seven principles should not only be remembered by quality management professionals. All managers can benefit from keeping these fundamental principles in mind when making business decisions.

For questions contact paul@mfn.li

Author: Paul Huyton
Standards Forum
by Paul Huyton,
MFN Course Director World Wide
more information at www.mfn.li/trainers