Helping businesses improve their Quality Management Systems (QMS) was high on the agenda over the last two days, as stakeholders gathered for the Barbados National Standards Institution’s (BNSI) ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) 9001:2008 Quality Management System Requirements – Development, Documentation and Implementation workshop.
The session, which was held at the Savannah Hotel, Hastings, offered guidance on how to document, monitor and measure business processes to improve the performance of the organisations; and also provided information on how to meet the requirements of and implement the ISO 9001QMS.
Chief Technical Officer at the BNSI, Hadyn Rhynd, explained that the workshop, a collaborative effort between the CARICOM Secretariat and the European Union, focused on the benefits the standard could provide for the services and manufacturing sectors.?? He stressed that "managing quality is not for separate departments, but an overall approach for organisations" which could be applied to companies of all sizes.
"Often, you get micro enterprises that may not be exposed to the concepts or the requirements of ISO… [however] regardless of the size of the organisation, implementing the ISO 9001 is a systematic process…the resources [small businesses] needed may be less than some of the medium-sized enterprises…so [being small] is not a deterrent when you want to enhance quality," Mr. Rhynd said.
The Chief Technical Officer noted that the standard was a guiding tool which could be tailored to the specific needs of each enterprise, adding that the 120 signatory countries to the ISO, (including Barbados) participated in the review process.
"The standard itself is not prescriptive, so it tells you what to do, but it does not indicate to you how to do it. It lends room for individuality…but what you will realise is documenting each process along the way is key. Ultimately, your benchmark needs to be your quality output of your product or your service to the customer," he observed.
With some participants already indicating interest in implementing ISO 9001, Mr. Rhynd explained that adopting the standard would not only benefit them, but would also serve as a "benchmark for other small businesses – [they will see that] if you can do it, and I know you and your operation … then it lends that confidence for other businesses".
He affirmed that businesses in Barbados were already benefitting from certification in ISO 9001 and noted that it added to a company’s credibility to show that its quality systems had been checked and rewarded with an international standard recognition. This, Mr. Rhynd said, benefitted a company’s image, marketing power and made it more viable in markets beyond its borders.?? He acknowledged that acquiring QMS certification was "a journey, but as with all journeys it begins with a first step. It is something that has leant great guidance to many businesses".
Further information on the ISO 900 may be obtained ??from the BNSI at 426-3870.