On October 4th we were successful in retaining our ISO9001:2015 certification, with no major or minor non conformities.
As a business, in our first year of certification, it has been important to ensure ISO9001:2015 principles have been embedded into our culture. How have we achieved that?
What is ISO 9001:2015?
ISO9001 was developed from the standard ISO9000 which, in 1987 ran alongside (and eventually replaced) BS5750. The original scope of the standard was product and product supply quality assurance, rather than management and improvement of process and business practises.
ISO 9001:2015 is now an international harmonised standard and provides much more than an outline for a ‘Quality’ management system; the standard applies to all aspects of a business and provides a framework for business improvement, management of business risk, and the delivery of consistent products and services. Application of the standard improves not only the quality and performance of products but of processes and the business as a whole.
What are the key principles of ISO 9001:2015?
Seven quality management principles have been defined by the International Standards Organisation:
- Customer focus
- Engagement of people
- Process approach
- Evidence-based decision-making
- Relationship management
There is no specific order of importance to these principles and it is expected that their priority within an organisation will be fluid depending on the organisation’s priorities at the time.
Application of ISO 9001:2015 principles within Broughton Software
Our successful surveillance audit demonstrates that we have applied the key quality management principles within our organisation. Below are examples where these principles have become part of our working environment:
It is essential that, as a business, we strive to meet (and exceed) our customers’ expectations whether those expectations are known or unknown. We must also have the ability to identify what our future customer needs might be which allows us to concentrate development efforts on software of real value to existing and potential customers. We have systems in place to capture prospect and client feedback and perform proactive client reviews on an annual basis. In addition, as part of feedback from internal customers, a regular demonstration of updated software is provided to all levels across the organisation in order to generate feedback and ideas for improvement. This demonstration session also allows the commercial team to input feedback from potential clients.
Engagement of people
Ensuring all levels of the organisation are committed to the company values, and people understand the importance of their contributions is critical in delivering a consistent product, and enhancing the capability of the organisation. Broughton Software maintains regular team meetings to ensure consistent communication at all levels of the organisation.
Regular operations ‘Retrospective’ meetings also provide the operational team with an open forum to discuss positive and negative aspects from recent blocks of work (known internally as ‘sprints’), which subsequently provides improvements ideas. The ideas which are generated from the retrospective meeting are actioned and monitored.
Prior to implementation of the quality management system, process mapping was performed on each business process to ensure the individual activities were understood and interrelated or dependant processes were clear and inputs/outputs aligned.
In addition to mapping of the processes the following activities have been important in identifying how the performance of each process can be measured and the impact on the business objectives:
- Mapping of business objectives/quality objectives/process metrics and their interaction
- Identification and management of risks and opportunities and associated mitigations
- Measurement and review of process metrics
To ensure the system remains coherent, and provides the required results we review quality objectives, risks, opportunities and process metrics on a regular basis along with workshops on an annual basis (or more frequently if required) to determine new objectives and metrics in line with the business plan.
Ensuring Continued Success
Whilst our first surveillance audit was considered successful, as a business we must continue to maintain and improve on the systems that we have and the application of the systems. In continuing to encourage internal and external feedback, and apply the key quality management principles we plan to maintain the momentum to improve on our business and its processes.