Transition from Quality Management to Business Management by Robert Badner

Many organizations develop and maintain a quality management system. The system was created out of an internal desire, customer requirements or simple need. The quality management system is an excellent building block for a company to grow from. The problem with quality managment systems is that they do not evolve and morph into anything different, they remain a quality management system.

The ISO 9000 series of quality management standards is an excellent choice when starting from the ground up implementing a quality management system. The eight principles of ISO 9000 provide the foundation upon which a solid quality managment system can be developed, deployed and mantained. When you achieve that where do you go? Many are left with an empty feeling that ISO 9000 is a bit simplistic for their needs and they require more demanding criteria, such as TQM or Baldrige criteria.

Both TQM and Baldrige criteria are good directions to choose for advancing management of your business model but your first step should be to move you quality management system to a business management system. If you are managing a quality system separate from the rest of your business and you are looking at lean, six sigma, kaizan or any of a number of improvement strategies, STOP. I am not suggesting these other improvement activities can’t help, they most certainly can, but before you embark on them I would suggest you create a business management system.

A business management system applies all the requirements of your ISO 9000 quality management system to the rest of your business. I know it is not a requirement of ISO 9001 but are you looking at improving or meeting the minimum requirements? Incorporate the strategic planning process into your business management system. The strategic planning process would include strategy development and deployment. You should have a process for this and a metric that indicates how the process is performing.

The next section of your business to get incorporated within the business management system is the accounting processes. There are multiple processes occuring within accounting that go uncontrolled, monitored or improved. If you doubt this, at the next staff meeting try to determine the true costs of some of the products or services you provide. Then try to assign costs to the transactional activities occurring within your business. In order to understand the accounting processes you must measure them, be able to predict the output and continually improve them.

The next portion to be included within the business management system is sales and marketing. You won’t find them mentioned in ISO 9000. But chances are, you have those processes and activities occuring within your business model. Again, there must be metrics combined with actions to continually improve the performance.

Once you align the business activities and processes along with measurements for them you will be able to discern improvement plans. It will be very clear what areas require activites for improvement and for corrective action.

You may have additional processes within the operations that reside outside of the quality management system. It is important to include them with the rest of the managed processes. The intent is to move toward a business management model which includes indetificaiton of the key business processes, measurement of those processes and the resultant improvement of those processes.

About the Author

Robert Badner is a freelance writer for Innovations for Quality, LLC. Innovations for Quality, LLC is a provider of online, classroom training for ISO 9000 and asq certification. You can visit their websites athttp://www.iso9000training.org and http://www.asqcertification.org.

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