ISO 9001:2000 vs. Six Sigma
Originally, there are numerous examples and requirements, included in ISO 9001:2000. These criteria require any company to address the effectiveness of its quality management system. Further requirements specify the need for continual improvements to the quality management system – not just sporadic quality campaigns. The fact is that ISO 9001 system is mainly aimed at improving the quality management system, and, it is mainly a set of requirements for how the quality management system should be arranged. Thus, the effectiveness of the quality management system is closely associated with the issues of meeting and satisfying customers’ requirements.
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Six Sigma approach, in its turn, is mainly focused on the matters of strategy and methodology of the business performance improvement. Originally, Six Sigma is the set of tools, aimed at improving business performance by creating innovative approaches for the business strategy in general. Resorting to these tools, CEO of any organization will have to ensure that the quality policy entails the necessary commitment level in order to comply with the criteria and the necessity to increase the effectiveness of the managerial system in general. The fact is that, the overall result of using the Six Sigma model is an enhanced pro-active approach to meet QMS objectives and more importantly their related corporate business and / or financial objectives (Tennant, 2001).
Finally, it should be emphasized that the effectiveness of the quality management system in Six Sigma approach in meeting both quality and / or business objectives is likely to be the key attribute that ensures the ongoing support and resource allocation to maintain the ISO 9001:2000 quality management system within the corporate environment.
First of all, there is strong necessity to mention that Business Quality Culture refers to the degree of awareness, commitment, collective attitude and behavior of the organization about quality (Schniederjans, 2008). Originally, independently of the quality management system, whether it is a set of tools or the outline of the business quality management procedures, any organization should select the QM approach by its internal needs and practices, which define the business practices of the organization. Thus, the discussion on the matters of effectiveness seems to be useless, as the effectiveness fully depends on the process of managing audit processes.
Conformity to individual requirements of ISO 9001:2000 such as document control, control of records, personnel competence, and calibration of measuring equipment are important, but should not be the central focus of a quality management system. As Tennant (2001, p. 341) emphasizes: “ISO 9001 requires that an organization’s quality policy include commitments to meeting requirements and continually improving its QMS. The standard requires that product designs be validated to ensure they will meet requirements for given applications.” In the light of this statement, it should be emphasized that ISO 9001 also requires that the products and services of a company should be verified, as well as the set of requirements should be confirmed by all the managerial levels.
Thus, the International Standard Committee provides the necessary guidance on the matters of Quality Management and business performance in general, and emphasizes the necessity of the audit programs. The fact is that these programs are mainly intended at widening the range of potential users and clients.
Finally, there is strong necessity to emphasize that it is up to the management of a company to select the necessary approach.
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Schniederjan, M.J. (2008) Operations Management in a Global Context, New York: Quorum Books.
Tennant, G. (2001). SIX SIGMA: SPC and TQM in Manufacturing and Services. London: Gower Publishing.