I’ve been asked if I have a quality management system. What does this mean? What is ISO9001? +

A quality management system (QMS) is a set of policies, processes and procedures to help the organization meet customer requirements.  It is process based with the aim of identifying, measuring, controlling and improving core business processes.  This will, at the end of the day, lead to improved business performance. 

ISO9001 is the name of a standard that outlines the requirements an organization must maintain in their quality system.

How long will it take to get a QMS? +

Usually, it will take five visits to your office, at about 2.5 hours per visit, to set up the QMS.  We prefer to do this over five weeks, with one meeting per week.  This keeps the QMS alive and produces the optimum results.

Once the QMS is set up it will take you 3-4 weeks of work; testing that all of the processes are compliant within the company. We would reckon that maybe one hour a day will be needed on the QMS over those 3-4 weeks.

At that stage the QMS is ready to be tested.  This involves an audit.

I’m busy, how much time will I have to be involved in it? +

You will need to be present for the first 4 of the 5 meetings.  Ideally you should handover the running/operation of the QMS to a Quality Representative, who will be trained as an internal auditor for you, at the fifth meeting.  It is estimated that the quality representative will need to spend 1 hour a month on maintaining the system of a small business (<15 employees).

How much will it cost me? +

The cost to establish a QMS to ISO 9001 varies with the size of the company and its location.  If you get a comparable quote from another company, I will beat this by a guaranteed twenty percent.  I can do this because of my extremely low overheads.

There is no requirement to have your QMS certified (www.iso.org/iso/iso_9000), but there will be additional costs if you decide to have your QMS audited on an annual basis.

Most of our clients choose to have their QMS audited by a second party auditor.

If you decide to use Best Practice Business Systems as your second party auditor then each audit will cost $820 (excl GST).  For this you will receive a second party certificate and be able to use the Best Practice certification logo on your letterhead and website.

If some of your clients require you to have a third party audited QMS by a JAS/ANZ accredited auditor, then this can cost three to four times this amount.

Will I need to hire/employ another employee to run it? +

You will definitely not need to employ an extra person.  Once set up the QMS maintenance time is only an hour or so a month and this can easily be absorbed into an existing employee’s work.

How does certification work? +

Quality certification demonstrates that you have a system that meets the requirements of ISO 9001.

You can self-certify, and the most effective way to do this is for a second party (not part of your company) to carry out an audit.  If successful, this will result in a certificate that can be shown to potential customers. 

It is a business decision whether you wish to apply for third party certification, which is occasionally required by clients.  

The processes in my company are not effective resulting in many errors. What can I do about this and what will it cost? +

An employee needs to feel motivated at work.  Establishing an environment that makes an employee feel respected and listened to is an enormous task for any leader.  Part of this task is to get buy-in to the various processes that an employee carries out.  The traditional way has been for the leader to give the employee the processes either in written or verbal form. It assumes that the leader knows best and that the employee’s role is to simply carry out orders.  We reject this approach in this modern age and have developed our own system for encouraging employee buy-in which we have named Reverse Process Management (RPM).  In RPM we sit down with each employee and get them to tell us how they carry out or would like to carry out a process.  We incorporate any creativity in the process and write it up with our additions for amendment and validation by the leader.  The process now has a motivated Process Owner.

It is difficult to quantify costs because each workplace is different, but as a guideline you can assume $180-220 per written process.

Why should I have an Environmental Management System to ISO 14001? What are the benefits and the costs? +

Sustainability is becoming a greater issue for companies. It is starting to become a requirement in contracts and government projects.  Questions regarding whether you have an Environmental Management System (EMS) are becoming very common in contract documents.

An EMS encourages a company to continuously improve its environmental performance through committing to an environmental policy.  The policy becomes the basis for establishing a plan, which sets objectives and targets for improving environmental performance. Implementation and evaluation follow. Senior management then review the results of this evaluation to see if the EMS is working.  A revised plan is established, the cycle is repeated and continuous improvement occurs.

Benefits are improved environmental compliance,improved relations with regulatory agencies, increased operational efficiency, prevention of pollution, and cost savings

The costs are very similar to implementing a QMS.