Quality of an organization – Guidance to achieve sustained success
ISO 9004 is an available instrument which is supposed to enable top managements of organizations to implement suitable measures for sustainable success. During that, the size or the specialist field of the respective organization won’t matter. However, ISO 9004 may not be regarded as a standalone standard. Above all, it is a manual for the efficient implementation of quality management (not explicitly for the implementation of ISO 9001!) and it is supposed to help to align management strategy with it.
This manual is supposed to serve to develop, to check and to improve the efficacy but also the practical efficiency of the applied quality management. But during that, the standard rests above all on the principles of self-responsibility and self-monitoring and therefore, it is to be regarded as less of a management system and more of a management model.
Aside from general strategy and politics, especially the areas of resources (financial resources, technology, coworkers, suppliers and partners…), process management (more or less based on the EFQM model), quality measurement and assessment as well as optimization and innovation methods are taken into account by this model as well.
This structure also quickly clarifies the difference from a product or performance-oriented QM standard, like ISO 9001. ISO 9004 serves to facilitate, above all the organizational performance within a respective company or government agency. Trust in the organization as such is supposed to be reinforced – not just trust in a specific product or a specific performance.
When can ISO 9004 be helpful for me?
ISO 9004 is very well suitable in the run-up to the basic introduction or realignment of a quality management system. Then, with the aid of the standard, reasonable framework conditions for the specific QMS can be described across organizations and its auditability can already be specified, too. Even though ISO 9004 is very explicitly no specific manual for ISO 9001, it is advantageous in practice taking into account ISO 9004 during the further development of an existing QMS. That holds particularly true for the development of integrated quality management systems.
Even though the standard can be applied irrespectively of the size and type of the organization, its performance and efficiency will increase together with the complexity of the existing structures and processes, of course.
ISO 9004:2018 innovations – what is actually new here?
Apart from today’s catchier and more meaningful designation (“Quality of an organization – Guidance to achieve sustained success”), terminology was above all, adapted and updated (ISO 9000:2015). The annex on the “self-assessment tool” was completely revised and outdated annexes B and C were removed. The editorial changes to the set of standards themselves are especially aimed at making the standard better understandable and at improving the usefulness and the acceptance of ISO 9004 as a standard, though.
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