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Implementing quality systems

01_Introduction first national standards body and is the best known worldwide (as
indicated by its official ‘Superbrand’ status).
A quality material, product, process, service or system is one that
meets the needs of customers. Today, customers, including There are approximately 20,000 current standards that all capture
consumers, know what they want and can easily recognise ‘quality’. best practice. They are established by 1,113 different committees of
specialist experts who reach a consensus about what should be
Businesses interact with a variety of customers e.g. expected of a particular product,
• Internal e.g. staff who have their office cleaned, or use the canteen material, service, process or
• Business e.g. suppliers of raw materials, stationery, transport, technology in a particular industry –
telecommunications e.g. the structure of a gas pipe, the
• End users e.g. other firms, the government or its agents, or the design of an electrical wiring
general public (buyers of goods or services). system. Committee members have a
wide range of interests and skills
Many businesses trade at local, national and international levels. To from manufacturers, sellers, research
win customers’ confidence, firms need to meet the highest quality organizations and government
standards. Distant and local or national customers want a guarantee departments to campaigners, users
of reliable, high quality goods and services. and consumers. The standards
produced are regularly reviewed to
The British Standards Institution (BSI) provides a range of products meet the changing demands of
and services that assist in assuring high quality. It was the world’s society and technology.
02_BSI’s development BSI’s ‘Kitemark’ is a quality assurance mark appearing on a wide
variety of traditional and new goods. It is a form of guarantee that a
Today, the majority of UK output has moved to services. So, in product is made to a quality standard. It can be found on a range
addition to providing standards for products and materials, BSI of well known products tested by BSI to make
creates standards for services and systems, including management sure they meet the relevant standards e.g. crash
systems. It leads the development of standards for many important helmets, refrigerators, electrical plugs, Christmas
new areas of business activity. These include: tree lights.
• improvement of utility billing services (e.g. gas and electricity
suppliers) This is the Kitemark.
• products being developed with new technologies e.g. nano
technology (the creation of miniature products and processes) As consumers we want standards because they:
• implementation of web design processes, to ensure characteristics • inform us about the reliability and fitness for purpose of the goods
like usability and readability. and services we buy and use
• enable us to use more things more widely giving us greater choice
BSI is a global group of companies, offering a wide range of • bring peace of mind.
standards-related services including certification and product
testing. The ‘British Standards’ division - the part that creates the Manufacturers and retailers welcome standards, because they:
standards - also serves as the UK’s National Standards Body. Some • provide clear guidelines on targets that reflect best practice
of its funds come from the government for promoting and protecting • protect manufacturers against poorer rivals who might otherwise
UK interests worldwide, as well as helping British businesses to be damage an industry’s reputation
innovative and competitive. The rest comes from commercial • provide an excellent selling point
activities e.g. selling standards to a wide range of companies • provide a benchmark that can be used for communicating the
including SMEs, providing advice and training and selling specification and characteristics of the product, process or system,
books/guides explaining how to meet and get the most from using and from which improvement/innovation can be easily explained
standards. • provide competitive advantage by making it easier, cheaper and
more efficient to produce and sell things in the UK and

Today there is a range of internationally developed standards:

1901 European Standards (ENs), created for operations within the
British Standards set up as European Union, and International Standards (ISOs) which can be
a committee of industrialists
used worldwide.

Mainly concerned with standards for

Products Materials

The British Standards Institution is

funded by the government and by
its commercial activities. It creates
standards for

Products Materials Services Management

03_Why are standards needed?

At a personal level we can see why standards are important. They
provide a guarantee of safety, predictability and usability. We do not
have to worry whether our electrical wiring is safe, or that a piece of
paper will fit into an envelope and we can play any CD in any
machine. Standards provide a safety net for many areas including
clothing, food, furniture, transport and air quality. They remove
anxiety for consumers by assuring the fitness for purpose of items
we buy and use, as well as creating confidence in the businesses we
are buying from.

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04_Implementing a quality system To implement a quality management system, an organization will
need to:
The most successful modern companies manage to identify their • identify the processes that will make up the quality management
customers’ needs and create the processes that enable the business to system i.e. carrying out market research to identify customer
deliver them. needs, conducting a customer satisfaction survey to monitor the
existing service
• determine the sequence and relationship between these processes
• identify methods to ensure these processes are carried out well
Customers • make resources and information available to run these systems well
Find out what
• measure and record how well systems run
Give the customers
what they need the customers • carry out actions needed to achieve planned results, and to ensure
need continual improvement.
To achieve ISO 9001:2000 a company
must show that top managers are
committed to the quality system and
One most important aspect of BSI’s work is helping organizations to regularly communicate with all of
develop management systems which meet the ISO 9001 standard. the organization’s members about the
This involves setting up systems to ensure that processes are customer system’s importance. A vital part of
focused. It also requires a company to improve its quality developing the quality management
management system continually. system is to plan and deliver training
about quality issues throughout the
From 2004, companies wishing to be registered for the certificate must organization.
conform to the latest version of the standard ISO 9001:2000 Quality
Management Systems Requirements. The company must also register with a registrar (a body like BSI)
who visits and assesses the company’s quality management system
ISO 9001:2000 Model (QMS) and, if satisfied, issues an appropriate certificate. Follow up
visits are carried out to ensure the processes in place are continually
Continual improvement of the
Quality Management System revised and improved.

05_Implementing quality
management systems: case studies
BSI’s work in supporting the implementation of quality management
systems is best illustrated through examples.
Resource Measurement
analysis and Satisfaction
management improvement

Forticrete is a leading UK manufacturer of masonry, walling, cast

stone and innovative roofing products. It employs almost 500
Product people across 11 manufacturing sites, supplying products to both
Requirements Product
Input realization the public sector (including health and education clients) and
private sector clients (housing and commercial). The company has
Quality Management System Model reproduced with permission from ISO
implemented quality systems for a number of years and made the
transition to ISO 9001:2000 in late 2001.
It is attention to customers’ needs that drives the system.
Through implementing the new standard, Forticrete made some
• The starting point is discovering what customers want through key changes to its existing systems. These included:
market research. • attempting to become a paperless office - Forticrete’s paper based
• The most important end result is customer focused products or system required eight manuals, but the new system is an intranet
services. Market research determines what to produce and how. based flowchart format
Checking on customer satisfaction measures how effective the • placing more focus on the customer at the centre of the system.
quality system is.
• Managers have a responsibility to discover what customers want The positive results of developing ISO 9001:2000, as shown by a
and to satisfy their needs. To deliver, they manage the recent Customer Satisfaction Survey are:
organization’s resources, including people (human resources), • a 18% improvement in product quality
machinery and raw materials. • a 18% improvement in customer satisfaction ratings
• By measuring and reviewing results continually, the organization’s • a 21% rise in performance against competitors
performance improves continuously. • a 42% reduction in product complaints.
BSI worked closely with Forticrete, identifying ways of making The benefits of developing a
improvements. These included introducing: quality management system
• a company newsletter Working with BSI, companies are able to reap many benefits from
• an intranet and appraisal system to improve employee achieving ISO 9001 certification and other standards (e.g. standards
communication and training. for the development of Environmental Management Systems - ISO
14001, and Information Security Management Systems - BS 7799).
The new appraisal system enables employees to identify their These include:
individual needs, which the company then works to meet. • achieving greater levels of customer satisfaction
Employees who are happy and fulfilled are far more likely to help • meeting legal requirements
the company deliver customer satisfaction. Achieving ISO • winning the trust of suppliers and customers
9001:2000 has helped Forticrete to win a number of national • improving the management of a company by meeting management
awards, including the Queens Award for Enterprise and, in 2004, standards
the Building Construction Best Practice Award. • reducing costs and making better use of time
• building a reputation for integrity.
British Gas
British Gas is the UK’s leading installer of domestic gas central These all enable company's to build superior, more prestigious
heating systems. The company provides home energy related brands. Additionally, companies are able to strengthen their
international reputation, thus building up their export business.
services covering gas, electricity, water and home security and is
part of the Centrica Group, which also owns One.Tel.

The Times Newspaper Limited and ©MBA Publishing Ltd 2005. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of information, neither the publisher nor the client can be held responsible for errors of omission or commission.
British Gas was the first company to achieve a Kitemark for a
BSI was the world’s first national standards making body. Today it
is the most prestigious international standards institution. It works
with the British government, manufacturers and other stakeholders
The company wanted to achieve ISO 9001 for one key reason, it
to create quality standards. These guarantee fitness for purpose, and
was keen to operate common processes and procedures across such
help British manufacturers to gain a competitive edge both in the UK
a diverse company – British Gas not only offers home energy
and internationally. BSI assists British businesses in all markets to
services (through British Gas Services) but also plumbing and
grow and to concentrate on meeting customers’ requirements.
drains care to customers (through Dyno Rod).

The benefits resulting from implementation of ISO 9001:2000

include: Glossary
• employee support for the initiatives, with clearer work targets
• improved relationships with suppliers Call centres: Organizations that handle customer queries,
• cost savings resulting from – improved processing of contracts payments etc by means of telephone and database services.
reductions in unnecessary rework Customer satisfaction survey: A questionnaire for
reductions in duplicated visits. customers, to discover how satisfied they are with particular
The improvements helped the company to achieve external
Management systems: Systems for the organization of
recognition e.g. winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise and the
Royal Warrant for Services to the Royal Household and the
attainment of corporate recognition to the Investors in People Quality standards: A document setting out rules and
standard. guidelines to create order and consistency (to give customers
what they want).
BSI helped the company by identifying areas for improvement and
Services: Industries creating value in the form of intangible
providing ongoing advice and support. This enabled the company
benefits rather than physical goods e.g. insurance, banking,
to improve in several areas of service provision. British Gas’s
retailing, transport, etc.
Managing Director supports the quality management system,
which is integrated across the whole company. As with Forticrete, SMEs: Small and medium sized enterprises - organizations with
following certification to ISO 9001:2000, British Gas is now fewer than 250 staff (Micro 0-9, Small 10-49, Medium 50-249).
developing electronic systems to replace and complement existing
manual ones.
For more information about BSI
Typical examples of documents that had to be produced included: and standardization please browse:
• a quality policy
• a list of quality objectives www.bsieducation.org
• a quality manual
• other planning documents.

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