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