The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) documentation & quality management is a certification that companies attain to prove their quality standards. It consists of a family of quality management system standards that companies need for recognition and breaking down their barriers of trade. To date, it covers almost all aspects of business and technology, spanning from agriculture to high technology industries.
The idea of maintaining these standards is to ensure that your business and its operations are working under standards recommended by global experts. Hence, certification of the same allows businesses to grow and establish business relationships faster. Every business, regardless of its size, is advised to follow a ‘process approach’ which is the management and control of the interactions between processes. A generic process begins with an input which goes into a set of activities that result into an output. The input and output can be tangible or intangible, but ISO is concerned with the control, monitoring and measurement of the processes.
Purpose of Monitoring and Quality Management:
The purpose of monitoring is manifold. Monitoring a process means conducting a sequence of planned measurements or observations to ensure whether control measures are operating as required. Conducting this activity enables the entity to take multiple actions:
Identify those critical limits in operations where process adjustments need to be triggered
- Identify those deviations which lead to a loss of control
- Create a printed documentation of the process control system
In a normal course of business, a typical monitoring and quality management activity could be:
- Measuring temperature of a liquid
- Marking the time it takes to complete a task
- Observing pH levels of a solution
- Measuring moisture levels of a product or packaging
- Recording behaviour of chemicals over a period of time/aging
These monitoring activities are essentially conducted by an apparatus or the appropriate equipment such as a:
- Weight scales
- Chemical testing equipment
Process of Monitoring
Monitoring is done by two broad procedures, depending on practicality.
A continuous inspection is generally carried out by machines or equipment, sensors or testers that monitor the process at all times. This means that every product is tested and tried before it is sent to the output stage of the process. E.g. a light bulb manufacturing concern tests every bulb before packaging by a tester and then sorted in the end to ensure zero tolerance policy at all times.
A discontinuous process or inspection means that sampling is done at a certain frequency to ensure quality assurance of the product. It is done for those concerns where the output is at a very large scale or monitoring every delivery becomes more costly than the process itself. E.g. a plastic film manufacturing concern that produces plastic films continuously; or, a call center where all calls are recorded but a random few are counter-checked for behavior. This is more cost-effective but also cannot guarantee a zero tolerance policy on finished goods/services rendered.
Process of Quality Management.
A continual quality management system involves a repetitive process of ensuring constant customer satisfaction. A generic process begins with an input which is processed in to an output. The output reaches the customer but either via customer feedback or the monitoring process the product/service in measured and improved until management decision is required. If there is an improvement required then the cycle restarts from the input stage so that a better output materializes.
Corporate manuals for ISO documentation & quality management are practical for every kind of business. Every business runs a common generic process that includes an input, process and finally and output. Monitoring merely ensures control measures are in order and quality management procedures minimize customer dissatisfaction at all times. Industry specific tools are however available to avoid unnecessary costs of wastage and errors. These manuals carry an important role in developing a level playing field for smaller companies to access other markets and ensure fair global trade.