Small Business Application of ISO 9001:2005 8 Quality Management Principles

Small Business Application of ISO 9001:2005 8 Quality Management Principles

ISO 9001:2005 amongst other things recommends that at the very minimum, quality management systems should include 8 quality management principles which we will be discussing today. The focus of our discussion of these 8 quality management principles will be on small businesses but can also be adopted to suit any kind of business.

We all live in a world where efforts no longer count as such; all that matters now is result. Every facet of business is now judged on result and not efforts.

8 Quality Management PrinciplesThis article is written to help small business owners and managers understand how they can leverage on ISO 9001:2005 for better result oriented management as against activity oriented management.

ISO 9001:2005 8 Quality Management Principles

  1. Customer focus

To achieve the overall objective of a small business, every action taken must be customer centric. Quality management principles as per ISO 9001:2005 suggest that an organization strives to add value to overall customer experience. A particular feature of a product should be removed no matter how much quality the management thinks this will enhance things if customers do not value it. A very useful technique is to apply the Six Sigma approach here, this involves following the DMAIC approach which is briefly explained below:

Define customer requirement

Measure what we currently offer to our customer

Analyse our processes to ensure see what value is being added

Improve things that needs to be improved, and

Control the new process

  1. Leadership

For the 8 quality management principles to be effective there must be some sorts of leadership in the business. The essence of having a structured leadership is because other staff members have to see management as being committed to improving and maintaining high quality. Leadership influences how things are done in the organization.

  1. Getting People Involved

Getting people involved will create a sense of belonging which will in turn improve quality a lot. Apart from staff morale being high when they are being carried along, people tend to make sure that whatever they are associated with becomes a success. This is an age long principle of managing quality that successful business management gurus have always employed.

  1. Continual Improvement

A quality management process is not complete if it does not incorporate some sort of continuous improvement. Continuous improvement is a process that aims at always improving the end product. This also includes the services that we offer our customers. It could be done in piecemeal or as a breakthrough improvement all at once.

The Institute of Quality Assurance defined continuous improvement as a gradual never-ending change which is focussed on increasing the effectiveness and/or efficiency of an organization to fulfil its policy and objectives.

Kaizen approach has over the years been a better way of implementing continuous improvement.

  1. Factual Decision Making

Decisions that are made based on hunches and intuitions are not always the best decision that we can make. In order to improve quality, management must base decisions on facts and figures. Facts must not necessarily be numbers. Take for example the fact that a staff member abuses a customer over the phone or in our business premises.  But we can however quantify this by collating customers complaint and then make a decision based on the information gathered.

We can also turn to external sources of strategic information to ensure that our decisions are factual not just random and ad hoc.

  1. Process Approach

Related activities and resources should be managed as integrated processes. This will greatly improve processes and reflect on customer experience. There is no point transferring activities that can be finished in one department to another department.

  1. Systems Approach to Management

This involves managing group of related processes as integrated systems. The aim just like the process approach is to improve efficiency.

  1. Mutually Beneficial Suppliers Relations

Smooth mutually beneficial relations with suppliers ensure that positive customer experience is encouraged. For a JIT (Just-in-Time) philosophy to be effective, suppliers of raw materials and other necessary inputs must be reliable and trusted.

Imagine what will happen in a JIT factory when suppliers that is supposed to supply raw materials fails to supply due to some altercation with the CEO of a business.


Part of management functions is to ensure that the objectives of a company are achieved. This article has discussed how ISO 9001:2005 8 principles of quality management can be used to improve positive customer experience which will go a long way in ensuring that a company’s objective is met

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