Over the years there have been many approaches to running successful organisations, including the full strategic planning process as shown in Figure 1. Even before the development of formal quality management standards, the importance of meeting customer requirements for products and services was being recognized, leading to the concept of the Quality Management System (QMS).
Figure 1: Full strategic planning progress
One of the early ‘quality gurus’, Dr Edwards Deming, an American engineer and management consultant, who died in 1993, is best known for his work in Japan after the second world war, particularly his work with the leaders of Japanese industry. Deming helped to develop the sampling techniques still used by many organisations, as well as championing statistical process control and what he called the ‘Shewhart Cycle’, which evolved into PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act) and, subsequently, into PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act).
Background to quality management standards
The International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) states that a QMS is ‘a way of defining how an organisation can meet the requirements of its customers and other stakeholders affected by its work’.
In 1987, ISO published the first international quality system standard as the ISO 9000 series, comprising a number of associated standards and guidelines. Under a license agreement, these documents were published in Europe as EN (European Norm) ISO 9000 series.
In the UK they were published as BS 5750:1987 (quoting the ISO and EN numbers), with similar publications in about 48 other countries under local numbering systems.
Due to the time required to properly review and approve the standards across the member ISO countries, the development cycle time is often in excess of five years.
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