The process approach is a keystone feature of ISO 9001 – a globally recognized quality standard that benefits employees, managers, companies and, ultimately, the consumer.
In the latest version, ISO 9001;2015, the “process approach” is highly emphasized for mangers to practice. We’ve touched on the process approach and how it fits with ISO in a previous blog.
But what exactly does this mean?
- The process approach pushes an organization to plan its processes and their interactions.
- It incorporates the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle and risk-based thinking, which means that any organization should manage and control the processes that make up their organizations.
- The processes include the interactions between these processes, and the inputs and outputs that tie these processes together.
- It also means that they manage these process interactions as a system.
- The PDCA cycle enables an organization to ensure that its processes are adequately resourced and managed, and opportunities for improvement are determined and acted on.
Another way of understanding the process approach
Another way of understanding the process approach is that it’s … the quality assurance system that consists of related processes. Fully grasping how results are gained in this system lets an organization optimize processes and performance.
When a company embraces the process approach it enables managers and their teams to hone in on windows for improvement. Whereas some goals may be missed on an unfortunately regular basis, the approach can yield predictable and consistent outcomes through aligned, systemic processes.
Managers can hurdle cross-functional obstacles and make better use of resources with meaningful process management. By tightening potentially troublesome areas with these process improvements, business partners and other interested parties can have more confidence in a manufacturer.
What do I need to do to use the process approach?
Essentially, anyone who wants to improve their process, whether it be building a part or processing an accounts payable check, can utilize the helpful principles in this ISO 9001-based approach. A shop floor worker can think about how it can be applied to his or her production area. A supervisor can discuss it with upper management, and upper management can talk about how to improve company systems with the CEO/president.
As with most things in life – diet, exercise, education, career, family, etc. – the more you give yourself to the process approach, the more you will gain from it. With that, it’s worth seriously considering becoming ISO 9001:2015-certified.
Again, the principles behind ISO are fairly generic and can be applied to just about any organization. Why? – Because everyone utilizes process one way or another. Think about it …
- proc·ess: noun … a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end. verb … 2. perform a series of operations on (something) in order to change or preserve it.
Another way of understanding “process” is that it’s any set of interrelated activities – or actions that interact with one another. Anyone from a kitchen worker in a restaurant to Ford Motor Company to nonprofit organizations stands to benefit from process analysis and the targeted improvements that are yielded.