TRENDS


BUSINESS TRENDS

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TECHNOLOGY TRENDS

Quality Management System - Requirements
(by A.K.Puri, Consultant & Trainer)

ISO 9001-2000

The standard ISO 9001: 2000 has just been issued in draft form and will replace the ISO 9001/9002/9003 series of standards issued in 1994.

The format and content of the new standard has been extensively revised. Its title now reads "Quality Management System -Requirements". The new title reflects the emphasis in the standard on addressing customer satisfaction in addition to product quality assurance. It adapts a process approach to determine customer needs and expectations, converting them into requirements and fulfilling them to achieve customer satisfaction. It recognises that customer satisfaction requires to be monitored in order to evaluate and validate whether customer requirements have been met.

Another significant aspect is that the organisation’s ‘Quality Policy’ must include the organisation’s commitment to continual improvement.

However, it still remains a ‘common-sense standard’, that can be logically applied to any organisation, irrespective of size, or type of the activities performed, if the requirements are understood. With commitment from top management and the management system documented in a simple and effective manner an organisation should be able to improve the utilisation of it’s resources, thereby reducing costs and improving profit and increase the customer base by ensuring customer satisfaction, bringing about overall improvement in business performance.

Certification of the management system by an independent, reputed and international accredited certification body enhances the organisation’s confidence as well as customer confidence together with international recognition.

The new standard ISO 9001:2000 is highly compatible with standard ISO 14001:1996 entitled ‘Environmental Management Systems - Specification with guidance for use’. This standard requires the organisation to identify those significant aspects of its business activities that may have an impact on the environment, frame realistic environmental objectives and targets, draw up time bound environmental management programmes to achieve these targets, and declare its commitment towards continual improvement and prevention of pollution in an ‘Environmental Policy’.

An interesting aspect is that the organisation’s ‘Environmental Policy’ has to be available to the public.

Business houses must realise that most of the money spent on reducing and controlling pollution through recycling or process changes or other means is eventually recovered through the sale of products and bye products, and at the same time contributes to making our planet healthier together with lowering the burden of the social cost to nations of treatment of ailments caused by pollution.

In 1987, ‘the World Commission on Environment and Development’ produced its report defining sustainable development as ‘MEETING THE NEEDS OF PRESENT GENERATION WITHOUT COMPROMISING THE ABILITY OF FUTURE GENERATIONS TO MEET THEIR OWN NEEDS’ but very little has been done by underdeveloped countries to combat the hazard of pollution or by developed nations to reduce their excessive consumption of fast depleting natural resources and affecting the ecosystem we all live in. More damage to Mother Earth has been caused over the last two centuries since the Industrial Revolution than any time before. MOTHER EARTH IS FRAGILE and survival of life on this planet depends on how best we care for our MOTHER from now.

ISM CODE

The ISM Code, which is now chapter IX of SOLAS, was developed by IMO in response to increasing public concern about loss of life and environmental pollution associated with a number of major maritime incidents.

The requirements of the code are a result of a ‘risk analysis’ carried out on the operation of ships. Since risk cannot be totally eliminated the approach is to reduce it to As Low As Reasonably Practicable, popularly known as ‘ALARP’.

In order to apply the code logically with a view to improving safety on board and protecting the environment one needs to consider the type of ship, the equipment on board, the trade route it is employed on, the competency of the personnel on board and their familiarisation with the work assigned to them, amongst other issues. The code requires the ship and its equipment to be maintained properly and the crew to carry out drills and exercises regularly to be able to respond effectively to emergency shipboard situations.

It is the commitment for safety from top management together with competence, correct attitude and motivation of individuals at all levels, whether at sea or ashore, that determines the safety of a ship and prevents pollution.


 


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