Quality improvement

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Quality improvement
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Methods and techniques

Quality improvement are all the activities that are undertaken to improve organization. They can affect:

  • reduction in the number of defects,
  • reduction of complaints,
  • increase of production performance,
  • increase of the sales volume,
  • reducing the costs.

ISO 9001 prior to 2015 issue points to two types of improvement activities: corrective and preventive actions. While the ISO 9004 standard introduces additional concepts - preventing loss of (an extension of preventive action) and the continuous improvement of the organization. It would be wrong to claim that in these standards only in the improving actions were discovered. They were known and used long before in the Japanese systems TQC.

The ISO 9001:2015 issue removes preventive actions. Instead risk management is included into the requirements.

Corrective actions

Corrective action role is to determine the non-conformity (error, accident, incident, accident, etc.). Then must be taken two paths of action. The first is related to the immediate removal of inconformity or minimizing its impact on the organization and the customer. The second, which we will be more widely applicable, is to prevent a recurrence of inconformity.

Corrective action therefore relies on the change management, which will prevent re-occurrence of non-compliance. For this purpose, you must first examine what were the causes of non-compliance. Then think about how you can remove the cause. The next step is to plan and execution of actions that will address the causes of non-compliance, or at least reduce it significantly.

The introduction of corrective measures must be verified. Therefore, make sure that as a result of the changes the non-compliance can not be repeated.

For the purposes of audit and management review you must keep records of conducting corrective actions.

Preventive actions

The starting point for preventive actions is to determine the possibility of inconformity (however, this inconformity has not yet occurred). We say in this situation of potential non-compliance.

The task of prevention is to remove the causes of potential non-compliance. Thanks to this organization does not have to incur the cost of disposal of non-compliance (repair deficiencies loss of image, complaint handling, etc.). Occurrence of preventive action in the organization provides a level of awareness of employees and the actual functioning of Quality management system (or other related).

In the event of potential inconformity, there must be examined probability of its occurrence. Then check what the cause might cause the inconformity. If we consider that the occurrence is probable, we should identify the actions that will eliminate the causes of potential non-compliance.

As in the case of corrective action, the changes must be verified. You should also carry appropriate documentation.

Loss Prevention

Loss prevention is the development of the ideas of preventive action and is associated with the performance of a number of studies that will actively detect the occurrence of adverse conditions for the organization and prepare appropriate action plans. These actions may be:

Continuous improvement

Continuous improvement of the organization is a powerful way to use the quality management principles, which includes creating an appropriate organizational culture that promotes an active and constant search for opportunities for improvement. This requires a high level of employee commitment both of managers and employees. It is necessary to use motivation system, benchmarking and other advanced management tools.


Author: Slawomir Wawak