One of the key fundamentals of the certification requirements for ISO 9001 is the quality objectives. Equality objectives are within Clause 5 – leadership, of ISO 9001:2015. One of the reasons why ISO 9001 certification is important is because it helps us to focus on matters that matter the most.
Once we establish the internal and external issues of the organisation meaning what environment the company works in, we must establish the vision for the company. The division is simply a statement that explains where we, as leaders of organisations, will be taking our companies in the future.
The quality policy for ISO 9001, which is the vision of the organisation, and and the quality objectives great go hand in hand. They support each other in the sense that vision explains where do wants to get, and equality objectives explain how we know that we got to that stage.
For example if in the quality policy we are stating that we want to be market leaders within our industry, then when we must have a goal/objective that’s relates to the market share.
Definition of Quality Objectives
Quality Objectives are the guiding light that shines upon the actions that you will be taking to take your organisation from where you are now, to where you want to be. They represent an ‘ideal’ future scenario that everyone in the organisation should be committed to achieve.Luke Desira
Now even though the quality management system of ISO 9001 give the title for objectives as quality objectives, they do not necessarily have to be relating to quality.
On the contrary, in my humble opinion, I believe they should include elements relating to the most important elements of the business.
This will make it easier to monitor the goals of the company by having a centralised location for all goals in the company. These goals will be the board of that company.
Imagine driving your car without a dashboard. You wouldn’t know the speed your driving, the temperature of your engine or whether you have fuel in the car.
Not having this information will invariably make it infinitely hard for you you too actually drive a car reliably. for starters you will certainly get tons of speeding tickets, unless you are super cautious, and your car will stop without fuel.
Now as a business leader I am sure that for any of your successful projects you had a dream. You had a vision of what you wanted to achieve and that you had a clear end in my mind of where you wanted to arrive. And that is the power of having clear goals. Moreover, through having clear goals, you will be able to better delegate the world to your employees, by having structured roles & responsibilities as per ISO 9001 standard.
Quality objectives must be set in a SMART fashion. Smart is a mnemonic for the five most important factors that an intelligently designed objective would have.
Specific – goals should be specifically relating to a particular area of your business. This means that it is is immediately clear on what each goal is referring to. A goal must easily indicate outcomes do we need to see in order to consider the goal as accomplished.
A goal is only a goal if we can actually measure our current status to be able to compare it with where we want to be. We cannot hide behind the buzzwords like industry leaders or providing an excellent service. We need to attach that idea of of where we wants to get to an actual metric that we can measure. it is also important to keep in mind that we must have the tools to easily gather the data that will enable us to measure each objective.
Goals should be challenging but still reasonable to achieve. it is useless to say that we’d like to get a 100% market share is our current my picture is currently at 1%. Therefore 9001 encourages us to design quality objectives that we believe that we can actually achieve. Moreover, goals should be set up on activities that are within our control.
The quality objectives set must be relevant to the overall goals of the organisation. In other words each objectives defined must be somehow interlinked with the results from the evaluations of Clause 4 of the ISO 9001 standard (context of the organisation). being relevant means that the goals that we set up must be worthy of our time and investment. An additional consideration as regards goals that can be taken from being relevant is to not set up too many goals. We must drive to ensure that we set and amount of goals that can be within our grasp. The larger the team, the more goals can be set.
It is not enough to say that one day who wants to increase our market share. We must set time limits. People work hard and smart to do everything possible to meet deadlines. It is not extremely useful how to set up a goal that it intends to reach with them five years time. It would be far more worthy to have a goal of where you want to be within 1 years time. Then each quarter you can review your performance, just like you do for management accounts, to ensure that you are on track.
Examples of ISO 9001 Quality Objectives for a service business
- number of new leads
- market share
- return on investment of lead generation activities
- number of clients vs the number of proposals issued
- the average value of the sale
- total value of sales / clients served
- average man-hours for each project
- timely delivery of projects to clients / number of missed deadlines
- number of training hours per employee
- hours of downtime of equipment used (software/internet etc)
- time sheets for employees
- the likelihood for customers to refer your business to friends/family
- average results of customer satisfaction
- customer retention rate / repeat clients
- number of complaints received
- status of corrective actions and non-conformities
All the above Quality Objectives are simply examples, merely to inspire you on the vastness of such objectives. It is critical that you choose your objectives wisely, and to ensure that all the team is pulling the same rope, and committed to the same results. Having an ISO certification means that business leaders hve taken the time to take a step back and identify what are the most important activities within their business. For more information on how to set up effective quality objectives, or for more information about getting ISO 9001 Certified in Malta, feel free to get in touch.