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Analogy between ISO 9001:2008 standard and routine life

Supriya Acharya Feb 16, 2015

Technology Quality Assurance

I have been working on the ISO 9001 standard since the past 8 years. Establishing processes, preparing new templates and mechanisms is a great experience. But since the ISO 9001 standard is very generic, it made me relate it to our life in general. There is an upcoming edition of ISO 9001 in this year. But I have put forth this comparison with the 2008 edition, while implementing the standard.

Here are some interesting facts!

A. Fundamentals of ISO 9001

A.1 QMS Principles:

We have eight QMS principles in ISO 9001:2008. Now let’s try to see some of these QMS principles through our routine life’s perspective-

1) Mutually beneficial supplier relationships- In our daily life, we prefer to purchase from our regular shops/vendors. Due to this, we get good quality of products, some added discounts or benefits while the vendor gets assured business from us. This is a WIN-WIN situation for both the parties.

2) Leadership- Leadership is important in your home as well. A leader is always needed to drive a home.

3) Continual Improvement- We always need to improve continually, so that we can grow as a person and become mature with time.

A.2 PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) Improvement Cycle:

In the same vein, let us now examine the PDCA improvement Cycle.

PDCA improvement Cycle

This can be applicable to various small activities that we do on daily basis. Normally we follow ‘P’ and ‘D’ but we fail to follow ‘C’ and ‘A’. We should always review our activities, learn from the mistakes and improve next time. At the same time, we should follow ‘Processes’ while executing any planned activity.

For instance, if we plan to try out a new recipe in the kitchen, we follow an established recipe- a mother’s recipe, or from a cook-book or the internet. Sometimes we are successful, sometimes not. Sometimes we may succeed the first time, but when we repeat it the second time, the dish may not turn out to be as good as it was the first time. In this case, we should analyze the process we followed and identify the root causes behind this ‘non-compliance’. In ISO 9001, the definition of process approach states that processes should produce ‘desired outcome’. Notice that instead of ‘outcome’, the term used is ‘Desired Outcome’ which is very important while executing any process.

A.3 ISO 9001 Clauses:

When we read the standard, we realize that most of the clauses are appropriate to our daily lives. Let’s see some more examples-

6.3 Infrastructure

We will all agree that we need to have a basic infrastructure in place to run a smooth life.

6.4 Work Environment

While it is important to have a good work environment at our offices, the same stands true for our homes as well. The best examples of the work environment at our home are kitchen trolleys or modular kitchens. The modular kitchen is designed to make it easy and comfortable for you to work in the kitchen.

7.5.2 Validation of processes

In our kitchen, we need to validate some processes as well. If we use a pressure cooker, we will get the output once the process is completed. There is no intermediate review or testing. In this case, we need to define some parameters like the raw material used, water used, time taken to cook, number of Whistles etc.

7.5.3 Identification and traceability

This is equally important in our home, otherwise it will make it difficult for other family members to work in the kitchen. This does not mean that we should label all the storage tins, bottles and boxes. We can simplify this by having transparent storage boxes.

7.5.5 Preservation of product

This is extremely important. We should implement some means to preserve all raw materials. FIFO (First In First Out) can also be implemented.

These are some clauses which I thought are directly applicable. We can also think of customer satisfaction, analysis, corrective and preventive action in the same way.

I hope you have found this analogy interesting! Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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