Goals and objectives setting is crucial for organizations. Improvements in companies wouldn’t be possible if these latter are not clearly set. Goals and objectives provide a clear vision to employees in companies about the purpose they need to serve and to enable them to unleash the potential of the QMS. Hence, Quality management system goals were initially launched as a part of the ISO quality management program. ISO required the usage of quality goals at each and every essential field of an organization’s performance. Although a lot of small companies don’t have ISO accreditation, employing a quality system goal helps increase the level of quality in the firm.
Quality Objectives and QMS
There are different types of quality objectives ranging from senior management to the production department. The main objective in every single case is to encourage a culture of continual improvement through a well-defined quality management system.
Some advanced QMS helps you monitor and track your SMART quality objectives. These latter should not be limited to products’ quality but should also tackle the overall goals that the company set.
In this digital and ever-changing phase of the economy, you cannot expect better results without doing something different from your competitors. Your quality objectives should be strategic and visionary so that it becomes easy for your teams to work towards the specific targets.
Not to mention that you should not miss focusing on the employee’s engagement and contribution. You should communicate with them as and when required for the specific improvements as that can affect the ultimate goal of customer satisfaction. An effective QMS can help you fill the communication gap as well.
Setting SMART Quality Objective
Setting SMART quality objectives is the first step in implementing QMS. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Oriented.
As well understand that setting quality objectives is the first step in implementing a quality management system, it is important to set objectives using SMART philosophy. This makes objectives clear and easy to understand, whilst making sure they provide clear goals for a business.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bOUND. Make sure each objective is:
• S – Specific. This means that objectives must be clear, for example, it must state that a business needs to make more profit, reduce waste, reduce environmental impact, increase sales
• M – Measurable. A business must be able to measure whether they have met an objective. A business needs to specify an amount. For example, a business may want a $10,000 increase or a 25% decrease
• A – Agreed. Stakeholders in a business must agree about their objectives, this will give objectives a much better chance of succeeding
• R – Realistic. Objectives must be realistic for the size and scale of the business. For example, a small coffee shop wouldn’t have an objective to make a $1 million profit
• T – Time-bound. Objectives must have a time limit, for example, 6 months or 1 year
Implementing SMART Quality Objectives
Once you have identified all the quality objectives, the next immediate step you need to perform is the effective implementation of those objectives. Here are the steps you need to follow:
Make sure you document all the quality objectives identified and agreed to meet. Earlier there was a quality manual to refer to, but it is not required now. The updated standards in ISO 9001:2015 requires an organization to document everything for validation and verification purpose especially during a regulatory visit. The best option you can go for is an electronic document management software that will help you record all the important data and activities like nonconformances, and the action plan implemented. You can also record the results for an evidence-backed decision-making process.
Also, keeping the quality objective documented will help you give quick guidance to your team towards the organizational goals.
2- Communicate with Team
Once the quality objective is identified and documented, make sure you communicate those objectives clearly to your team. There are various ways to establish smoother communication including awareness sessions, the establishment of a centralized platform wherein your team can collaborate and communicate. There are many quality management software that enable organizations to foster a culture of clear communication to avoid any hassles or quality risks due to miscommunication among the teams.
Also, communicating the objectives and their respective strategies to the team ensures that the entire organization is going in the right direction.
3- Establish Evaluation Methodology
For measuring the quality objectives, you should establish proper mechanisms for every team, department, and function. These evaluation mechanisms should be planned at regular intervals so to evaluate the need for updates or upgrades in the quality objectives. The tracking also helps you ensure compliance since you maintain an audit trail for every action performed and its respective outcome.
In short, you cannot afford to invest your time, money, and resources on quality objectives that cannot drive the culture of continuous improvement.
4- Review the Objectives
Once you have set the quality objective, you need to continuously evaluate them as well as the mechanisms established to record the ongoing performance of those objectives. There are two ways to review the quality objectives, one is through the management review, and the other one is internal audits. This will help you to keep a check on process quality if the workflow is managed and maintained properly.
However, you can implement an audit management software to ensure a timely review of the quality objective as well as the mechanisms set to evaluate their performance regularly.
5- Address the Risks
It is quite often a case that your organization fails to meet quality objectives due to some or other reasons. You can expect a process or workflow to generate the same results for every quality objective you set. There could be a need for process change or improvements to improve the performance of quality objectives. For this, you need powerful quality management software that enables you to configure different workflows as per the need of the hour while helping you identify the improvements to make your existing processes better and aligned to organizational goals.
Maintaining and managing the performance of quality objectives is one of the important functions that a quality management system needs to serve. Also, it helps in making the process highly effective and more efficient than before.
Now that you’ve learned about Setting SMART Goals and Objectives, learn more about the difference between ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.