What do you think of when you hear Lean ISO Quality System? Actually, what is the first thing you think of when you hear the term “ISO 9001”? Lengthy policies, complicated procedures, and miles of forms to fill out? A bureaucracy that rivals the US government in size and complexity? Intense, week-long audits that make waterboarding seem like spa therapy? You may be misinformed — ISO 9001 is based on sound business practices and is designed to help your organization improve incrementally.
Now, what do you think of when you hear the term “lean”? Are you thinking “no fat”, as in Jack Sprat? Do the words “efficient”, “effective”, or “no waste” come to mind?
Why do many organizations implement a large ISO 9001 quality management systems, with hundreds of pages of policies, procedures, and forms, with seemingly limitless bureaucracy?
Few organizations are satisfied with the ISO 9001 systems they’ve built for themselves, yet they typically don’t want to change them. Why stick with a system that causes more pain than it removes?
If we put the two terms together, we get Lean ISO 9001, which means a quality management system (QMS) with no fat…an ISO 9001 system that is efficient, effective, and reduces waste within your organization. Who wouldn’t want that? Why not throw the old system out if it’s that bad, and replace it with a lean ISO quality system?
Think of this: a lean quality management system — one that’s a mere dozen pages or so of easy-to-follow procedures, rules, and requirements, a minimum number of uncluttered forms, and no bureaucracy, which means you spend much less time maintaining your ISO 9001 QMS in top shape.
It might be easier than you think to create a lean ISO quality system: mix one part ISO with two parts lean and you get a great quality system. Really, ISO is pretty straightforward once you introduce lean thinking into your organization. Add lean kaizen improvement events for your corrective and preventive actions, lean standard work to create lean procedures, lean value stream mapping to define your processes, a lean dashboard to track your quality objectives, and a lean quality policy focused on your customer.
Starting with lean makes a ISO 9001 quality system implementation simple — certainly, much easier than trying to introduce a Six Sigma (DMAIC) process into your organization. Once you get lean, you’ll get ISO 9001 as well. Both are aimed at producing the same result — more satisfied customers.
To sum it up, don’t get started on the wrong foot by trying to design and implement a quality management system without Lean. Think of “a QMS without Lean” as something like “building an airplane from scratch”. It could be done, buy why would you? Start with lean thinking and make getting your ISO 9001 registration a piece of cake. Lean ISO quality is the way to go.
Need help “leaning out” your ISO 9001 Quality Management System? Contact Bizmanualz to learn how you, too, can have a Lean ISO Quality system of your very own.