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Quality management systems: guidelines for export companies.

A recent series of international standards can help export companies meet quality requirements on major markets.

To compete on international markets companies in developing countries need a sound quality management system. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recently developed a series of standards providing guidelines for such systems, referred to as the ISO 9000 standards. By formally adopting these, companies are recognized by foreign buyers as meeting internationally agreed requirements for producing goods at acceptable quality levels. Although these standards are being widely used by suppliers in developed countries, many producers and exporters in developing countries are not fully aware of them and of the benefits that they offer. Because the quality management system outlined in these standards is now the accepted norm in the major industrialized markets, exporters in developing countries should seriously consider adopting them to optimize their foreign trade operations.

The concept

Increasing trade globalization has made a uniform system of quality assurance essential. The ISO 9000 series of standards on quality systems makes it possible for suppliers of goods and services to provide objective evidence to buyers of the operation of a quality-assurance system in their companies. The application of these norms in the firm can be audited and certified by third-party certification bodies, which is a key feature of the standards.

The use of the quality systems outlined in these standards is beneficial not only in meeting buyers' quality requirements. It is also of value to suppliers themselves because ad hoc quality control systems can be transformed into organized, cost-effective systems.

The ISO 9000 standards have been adopted by a large number of national and regional standards bodies. Some of them use the standards without modification, while others use the ISO texts but apply their own numbering systems. For instance the European Standardization Committee (Comite europeen de normalisation or CEN) has issued the ISO standards under the EN 29000 series. The European Community has endorsed the quality systems based on the EN 29000 series and has created the European Organization for Testing and Certification (EOTC) to harmonize quality-system and certification practices in its member states.

Quality policy

The ISO 9000 standards require the management of a company to document formally its policy on quality, ensure that this policy is understood by all concerned and take appropriate steps to see that the policy is fully implemented. When defining quality policy, management should clearly state that one of the enterprise's primary objectives is the full satisfaction of its customers.

Quality building is a cooperative effort and cannot be achieved by directives from the chief executive. The quality policy should therefore be developed with the participation and consensus of all concerned. It should take into account the firm's background, technological developments, market trends and the management's long-term goals.

The quality policy should be issued under the signature of the chief executive, thereby demonstrating the enterprise's commitment to quality and helping to ensure effective implementation at all levels of the company. The policy should be given the widest possible publicity within the firm, and managers at all levels should emphasize the importance of it. Top management should stand by the policy even when its implementation may involve rejections, scrapping of material or temporary cost increases. Accepting compromises or deviations from procedure would send the wrong message to employees down the line about the need to adhere to the policy. A typical example of a company's quality policy and objectives is given in the box on page 12.


The overall responsibility for the quality of a company's products lies with top management. It is thus essential that quality-management functions be under the direct control of the chief executive officer (CEO). It should be clearly understood however that the primary responsibility for quality assurance remains with the individual units and departments in the company whose activities influence the quality of the end-product. A core quality-management group, cutting across all functional departments, should be established to coordinate and monitor implementation of the quality policy throughout the firm.

Individuals in various departments should be aware of the scope of their quality functions and their impact on product quality. Authority for quality activities in each department should be delegated to teams. The teams should have a clear understanding of their responsibility, channels of communication and means available to them to meet unforeseen situations.

Although quality assurance is primarily a staff function, certain line responsibilities such as final inspection, verification and laboratory testing activities, which are closely related to quality assurance, should be assigned to the quality-assurance department. A small team should be set up for monitoring, surveillance and audit. It should provide data to the head of the quality-assurance department and to top management so that timely corrective action can be taken when quality problems are encountered.

The formal organizational structure provides only the framework for the quality system. The effectiveness of the system depends, among other things, on the CEO's commitment to and enthusiasm for the scheme.

Quality council

The activities in a quality system are spread throughout a company. To exercise control over all of those functions, the CEO needs an institutional mechanism such as a quality council or committee. Such a body usually consists of senior executives responsible for line and staff functions. It is headed by the CEO and serves as a forum for discussion and decision on all important quality matters, organizational objectives, quality policies and annual quality plans. The council helps develop a company-wide consensus on quality-related issues. A typical agenda of the council includes the following:

* Operation of the quality system: progress to date and problems.

* Quality levels of the company's products compared to those of the best products in the market.

* Customer complaints: progress of investigations.

* Training, motivation and involvement of employees.

* Quality publicity.

* New developments in quality-related matters.

The quality council can also function as an executive body for the following activities:

* Identifying quality-improvement tasks.

* Allocating authority for various projects, research experiments and related studies affecting quality.

* Providing direction and guidance where necessary.

* Monitoring progress and deciding on follow-up action.

Verification resources

Specifying a set of quality requirements or issuing detailed instructions on implementation will not achieve the desired result unless resources are available to verify compliance. Some or all of the broad categories of resources listed below may be required, depending on the product or service to be verified and the ISO standard being implemented:

* Adequate number of trained personnel for verification work.

* Standards and support material in the form of detailed instructions and check sheets to guide the verification personnel.

* Well designed equipment such as tools, gauges and measuring equipment.

* Production schedules that allow adequate time for activities such as inspection, testing and verification.

* Easy access to quality records generated inside the company or received from outside sources such as suppliers and testing laboratories.

* An environment that encourages a spirit of objectivity and cooperation on the part of all those involved in verification.

Overall responsibility

A management representative should be designated with overall responsibility for monitoring the functioning of the quality system. That person should also ensure that adequate resources are available to implement the system. The company's quality-assurance manager usually has this role. In smaller companies however a management representative may be responsible for a number of other tasks in addition to quality assurance. In such a situation he or she should be able to maintain the independence of the quality-assurance functions and uphold the company's quality policy without any conflict of interest with other duties.

Management review

The quality-review process and the reasons behind it should be known and understood throughout the enterprise. Management should conduct such reviews, covering the following items, among others:

* The organizational structure, including the adequacy of staffing and resources.

* The structure and degree of implementation of the quality system.

* The quality of the end-product or service in relation to quality requirements.

* Consumer feedback and internal feedback on the system (for example the results of internal audits, process performance and product or service performance).

Many companies have found that annual management reviews are appropriate, but this interval is by no means mandatory.

Chronic problem areas should receive special attention. Results should be documented and analyzed for trends that may indicate systemic problems. Difficulties should be discussed with the persons concerned. Required changes in the quality system identified during a management review should be implemented in a timely manner. The effectiveness of such changes should subsequently be evaluated.


The ISO standards stipulate that suppliers should maintain a documented quality system to ensure that the products conform to specified requirements. Documentation for this purpose takes the form of manuals, procedures and instructions.

The quality manual is the main such document. It should briefly describe all of the required elements of the firm's quality system. It should be complemented by a quality plan, standardized procedures for all departmental activities affecting product quality and work instructions. These documents are described below.

Quality manual:

A quality manual serves the following purposes:

* Communicate the quality objective and policy of the top management to company staff, customers and vendors.

* Project a favourable company image, win the confidence of customers and meet contractual requirements where specified.

* Impress upon suppliers the need for effective quality assurance for goods provided.

* Serve as the authorized standard of reference for implementing the quality system.

* Define the organizational structure and responsibility of various functional groups as well as delineate channels of communication on all matters relating to quality.

* Ensure streamlining of operations.

* Educate employees on the elements of the quality system and make them aware of the impact of their work on the overall quality of the end-product.

* Serve as a basis for quality audits.

Preparation of the manual:

The quality manual should be prepared in cooperation with all persons directly concerned with quality-related activities. Companies may be tempted to use the manual of another firm with a good reputation for quality. This should never be done. No two companies are alike.

Similarly, one should not expect that an outside consultant can be called in quickly to write a quality manual. The manual should be based on the practices and systems existing in the company. As a first step, all these practices and procedures -- gathered from the persons actually performing the tasks -- must be written down. They should then be analyzed from the point of view of their effectiveness in assuring quality. If required, the procedures should be modified after thorough discussions with the personnel concerned and their supervisors. Before the modifications are finalized, their practicability on a continuing basis must be ascertained. The system should be kept as simple as possible.

Contents of the manual:

The manual should provide guidance on the requirements of the quality system based on the ISO standard being implemented. It should contain instructions and broad procedures for quality assurance in all functional groups concerned as discussed below.

Quality objective and policy: Chapter 1 should clearly define the company's quality objective and its quality policy. This statement will form the basis for all quality-related activities throughout the company.

Organization: The manual should describe the company's broad organizational structure and also provide the detailed organizational set-up of the quality-assurance department, as well as the structure for various quality-assurance functions delegated to other departments.

The objective is to present a complete picture of quality-assurance activities being carried out in the company as well as their linkage to top management.

Design and development: This chapter should cover activities from product conception to finalization of design:

* Procedures for studying existing products in the market as well as consumer needs and preferences.

* Analysis of customer complaints about existing products.

* Formulation of design specifications.

* Incorporation of standardized components and materials in the design.

* Laboratory testing and field trials of prototypes.

* Safety, reliability and value analysis of the product when required.

* Standardized formats for design, drawing and process details.

* Tolerances and standards for visual examination.

* Procedures for making changes in the design and control of documents.

* Design-review procedures.

Process engineering: This phase is the most critical in ensuring conformity to quality requirements. The quality manual should therefore provide detailed guidance on the:

* Conduct of process-capability studies to enable the process planner to make optimum use of existing plant and machinery.

* Development of process plans for materials, components and assemblies as applicable, providing detailed work instructions for operational staff.

* Planning of process controls and inspection test schedules.

* Design and manufacture of the procurement of special tooling jigs, and checking and measuring equipment.

* Organization of pilot production runs and adjustment of process plans based on the analysis of them.

* Procedure for making changes in process documents.

Purchase control: The quality of the final product depends on the quality of the materials and components used. This chapter should specify procedures to ensure suitable quality of such inputs purchased. It should discuss:

* Selection of suppliers.

* Incorporation of the quality requirements in the purchase order.

* Surveillance of quality at the supplier's works.

* Inspection and verification of incoming material.

* Procedures for reporting defects and the settlement of quality disputes with suppliers.

* Review and rating of suppliers on the quality of their materials and adherence to delivery schedules.

Control of production: This chapter of the manual should deal with the effective implementation of process plans and instructions. Its coverage should include:

* Process surveillance and inspection.

* Testing of products at various critical stages.

* Operation of process controls and data feedback for process improvement.

* Maintenance and calibration or production machinery, tooling and testing equipment.

* Measuring instruments.

* Material and product traceability.

* Investigation of defects and procedures for corrective measures.

* Review of nonconforming products and their control.

* Standing instructions on materials handling, storage and packaging.

* Final testing of outgoing products and maintenance of quality records.

Customer feedback: The final proof of the quality of a product is its performance. Product performance may be affected by lack of information and/or improper use by the customer. The manual should provide information for the guidance of marketing and service personnel. It should cover:

* Recording of all customers' requirements in orders.

* Procedure for the review of orders and contracts to ensure that requirements can be met and that all issues are clarified before orders are accepted.

* Transportation and handling of the product until it reaches the customer.

* Installation and functional testing of the product when required.

* Technical advice and training on operation and maintenance.

* Procedure for attending to customer complaints.

* Procedure for getting feedback from users.

* Analysis of failure and feedback data for the purpose of taking corrective action.

Quality audit and review: The continued implementation of quality systems needs close monitoring. This chapter should contain information on:

* Procedures for the internal quality audit of products and processes.

* Management review of the entire quality system.

* Procedures for the conduct of external audits to meet contractual requirements.

* Follow-up action on the results of various audits.

Training and motivation: Personnel are the most important element in the successful implementation of a quality system. The quality manual should clearly define the responsibility and procedure for organizing training programmes in the company as well as in other institutions.

Quality plan:

A quality plan is an aid to implementing the quality system. It lays down activities that must be undertaken at various levels and provides a system for monitoring them. Every product or contracted job requires its own quality plan, which should define:

* The quality objectives to be attained.

* The specific allocation of responsibilities and authority during the different phases of the project.

* The specific procedures, methods and work instructions to be applied.

* Suitable testing, inspection, examination and audit programmes at appropriate stages, for instance design and development.

* A method for implementing changes in a quality plan as projects proceed.

* Other measures necessary to meet objectives.

To provide a clear idea of the activities involved, the quality plan should include a flow chart showing the sequence of major operations or verification activities, from input of materials through packaging, dispatch and even installation where applicable. For each quality verification activity in the flow chart, an operation planning sheet should be provided indicating the factors to be checked and the references to the instruction sheet to be followed.


Another type of documentation required to support a quality system is that on procedures. All departments of functional groups engaged in activities affecting the quality of the end-product usually carry out certain tasks based on established practices. The activities may be of a widely varying nature, ranging from receipt and confirmation of orders to the issue of tools and gauges.

Standard authorized procedures help create a sense of accountability and facilitate monitoring and audit. The responsibility for preparing, approving and publishing procedures manuals for different elements of the ISO 9000 standard is that of the department concerned. The manual will nevertheless have to be prepared and reviewed in consultation with all involved departments.

Work instructions:

Work instructions are specific guidelines for performing various jobs. These should be sufficiently detailed and clearly describe the manner in which the work is to be performed and the quality level required. Work instructions are essential for special processes and for the completion of operations in the manner specified in manufacturing documents.

Quality records

The quality system described by the ISO standards requires the supplier to establish and maintain procedures for identifying, collecting, indexing, filing, storing, maintaining and disposing of quality records. Quality records provide the objective evidence that the required product quality has been attained and that the various elements of the quality system have been

effectively implemented.

Quality records kept by suppliers and subcontractors should also be considered when formulating procedures for maintaining quality records.

The two major categories of quality records (records on product quality and on the operation of the quality system) are described below.

Records on product quality:

These records cover the following types of documents:

* Product specifications.

* Drawings of the main equipment; specifications for components and materials used.

* Test reports on materials.

* Inspection and test reports at various stages of manufacture.

* Details of product deviations and concessions and the associated approval records.

* Records on nonconforming material and their disposition.

* Records on installation commissioning and servicing during warranty periods.

* Records on complaints on product quality and the remedial action taken.

Records on the system:

Records on the operation of the quality system demonstrate the proper working of the system and should include the standard operating procedures of functional areas affecting quality. These records consist of:

* Quality-audit reports and management-review records.

* Records of supplier approval and of supplier performance ratings.

* Records on process control and corrective actions.

* Calibration records for test equipment and instruments.

* Records on the training and qualifications of personnel.

Some examples of the types of quality records applicable to a manufacturing firm are given in the box on page 14. The list is not exhaustive and may vary with the products, the size of the firm, contractual requirements and the quality system employed. The list is based on ISO 9001.

Implementing a system

When a company is considering adopting a quality system conforming to the ISO 9000 standards, it should study two fundamental questions. What does the system mean to the company? How can the company benefit from it? To answer these questions, companies must consider their international markets. Importers in the European Community, for instance, will increasingly insist on compliance by their suppliers with the ISO 9000 series of standards, and the situation is similar in North America. A company's management should be strongly convinced that the ISO 9000 standards will be good for business, as a considerable effort is required to implement them.

A common misapprehension is that the ISO 9000 series of standards can be implemented only by large companies, as it involves elaborate documentation. This is not the case. Experience in the United Kingdom, which has a large number of companies with ISO 9000 certification, has shown that it is comparatively easy to implement the ISO series in small firms. One of the reasons is that it is easier to change attitudes among a small group of employees than a larger one with diverse functions and objectives. In the United Kingdom a majority of the companies with certified ISO 9000 quality systems employ between 60 and 250 persons. Some companies with as few as 10 to 25 employees have also been able to obtain certification.

Steps in certification:

The procedure for establishing a quality system conforming to the ISO 9000 series of standards depends on a number of factors such as the nature of the business, size of the company, current status of the firm's quality control operations and market requirements. Steps required could include the following:

* Consideration by the management board of the implications of the ISO 9000 series for the company and a decision to commit adequate resources for its implementation.

* Discussions with senior managers about taking up the ISO 9000 project and selection of the appropriate model of the quality system (ISO 9001, 9002 or 9003) to be implemented.

* Consultations with workers' representatives to explain the concept and benefits of the company's quality system.

* Constitution of a steering committee under the chief executive officer and of a fulltime task force to execute the project according to a set schedule.

* Training of task force members in the various aspects of the standards and the methodology of their implementation.

* Survey of the current quality control system to identify deficiencies or deviations in quality procedures in comparison to the ISO standards.

* Identification of the specific activities required and formulation of a plan defining work elements, allocation of responsibility to different departments and personnel, and setting of target dates by which the activities must be completed.

* Preparation of a quality manual for the company and an outline of system procedures. The outline should contain references to more detailed documents describing procedures and giving instructions for various departments.

* Writing of work instructions and procedures to comply with various clauses of the standard as they relate to the company's operations.

* Training of staff on standard methods and procedures.

* Issue of the company's quality policy and directives for implementing the standards.

* Determination of the date of introduction of the new system and issue of executive instructions for its implementation. (In larger companies, the new system could be introduced in phases, beginning with one or two departments.)

* Trial of the new system for a few months and undertaking of internal audits to assess its compliance with the ISO 9000 standards.

* Taking corrective action on the nonconformities revealed by the audit.

* Conducting further audits after a reasonable period and taking corrective action until the quality system is fully operational.

* Arranging a preliminary audit by an external agency.

* Taking corrective action on the observations of the external audit team.

* Arranging formal assessment by an accredited certification body.

Initial measures:

The implementation of ISO 9000 may involve major changes in operational systems and work patterns of the company. The chief executive therefore has to take a lead in this change to demonstrate the commitment of the management. The establishment of the quality system cannot be delegated to the quality manager or even the director of quality control, however competent he or she may be. Responsibility for initiating the scheme is usually taken by a steering committee and a task force or project team.

Steering committee: This committee could include the chief executive officer and heads of various departments. The functions of the steering committee usually consist of:

* Adoption of the quality policy of the company.

* Nomination of the management representative.

* Overall planning and direction of the ISO 9000 project.

* Allocation of resources for the project.

* Coordination of project work by different departments on major issues.

* Monitoring and control of the project.

The committee could meet fortnightly or monthly to review progress, resolve problems if any and fix targets for various work elements.

Task force: The task force or project team is usually composed of a project leader, who is an experienced senior executive, and one representative from each functional area with a thorough knowledge of the responsibilities of his or her department and an enthusiasm for setting up quality systems.

Among the responsibilities of the task force are:

* Assess existing quality-control operations.

* Undertake detailed planning of the ISO 9000 project.

* Prepare procedures, work instructions and a quality manual.

* Train personnel in the ISO 9000 system.

* Coordinate implementation activities by various departments.

* Monitor the progress of implementation and provide status reports to the steering committee.

* Organize periodic audits to assess conformity to the ISO standards.

* Advise on corrective action on audit observations.

* Coordinate with consultants or specialists employed to establish specific elements of the quality system.

* Arrange assessment by certification agencies and take follow-up action.

Once a company's management has formally approved the project and created the required organizational structure, it is up to the task force to implement the project.

The existing quality control system in the company should be studied. The purpose is to identify deficiencies in it using the ISO 9000 quality system as a reference. The study will form the basis for defining tasks to be carried out in implementing the ISO 9000 standards.

When the tasks for implementing the standards have been defined, responsibilities for these should be allocated to appropriate departments along with target dates for completion. Personnel responsible for implementation should be freed from all other responsibilities to devote themselves fulltime to the project.

Like any other project, success in implementing an ISO 9000 system largely depends on the ability and leadership of the head of the task force and the positive support that he or she receives from the chief executive officer.

Maintaining enthusiasm

The essence of a quality system is the attitude of the staff and their commitment to the company's goals. Ultimately it is the employees who will have to perform the various activities listed in operating standards and work-instruction documents. One of management's most important responsibilities is therefore to bring the significance of quality to the attention of employees and create the right environment for the implementation of the quality system. The ultimate aim should be for every employee to develop a personal concern for the quality of the products or services supplied by the company.

Example: company quality policy

The general objective of Company X is to achieve and sustain a reputation for quality in the domestic and export markets. The company shall strive to satisfy the needs of its customers by supplying products of consistently high quality, designed fully to meet their requirements at competitive prices, and backed by efficient after-sales service.

The company's quality policy is as follows:

* The product shall fully meet the customer's requirements, including functional, safety, aesthetic and reliability factors, with due attention given to economy of manufacture and operation.

* Specifications shall be strictly adhered to during manufacture, dispatch and installation, with emphasis on defect prevention wherever possible.

* The selection, evaluation and surveillance of suppliers shall be carried out on the basis of scientific techniques and procedures. Technical assistance shall be provided to help suppliers upgrade their equipment and improve the quality of their products.

* The customer shall be informed of proper usage and maintenance of the product by the sales and service network.

* Product performance at the users' premises shall be reviewed periodically, and quality improvements shall be planned and implemented on the basis of customer feedback and market surveys.

* Organized training shall be undertaken for all personnel to make them quality conscious and proficient in their jobs.

Checklist for quality records

* Does the quality system indicate the records to be generated?

* Have the input documents required from customers and the type of quality records to be provided by suppliers been identified?

* Are records properly filed and easily retrievable?

* Do records adequately demonstrate levels of quality achieved?

* Are appropriate storage conditions maintained to prevent deterioration of, or damage to, records?

* Is the retention period for various types of records specified?

* Have procedures been established for the disposal of records at the end of their retention periods?

Example: quality records of a manufacturer

1. Management responsibility:

* Records detailing the assessment of resources and personnel required for maintaining the quality system.

* Records of management review, its findings and action taken.

2. Quality system:

* Records on the distribution of the quality manual, quality plan and related documents.

* Records of amendments issued to documents on the quality system and the effective dates of their implementation.

3. Contract review:

* Minutes of reviews of contracts under execution.

* Records of the acceptance of review findings by the parties concerned for implementation.

* Any modification in the requirements specified in purchase orders and the details of their acceptance by both parties.

4. Design control:

* Details of design verification on the basis of design inputs from various sources including market surveys.

* Details of design outputs based on calculation and analysis; details of their verification in the production line.

* Details of agreed design changes released to production units for implementation.

5. Documents control:

* Details of documents available in the organization (including pro-forma documents), dates of issue and identification numbers.

* Modifications in documents issued and the dates of their implementation.

6. Purchasing:

* Details of purchase orders, including references to specifications, drawings and so on.

* Details of the assessment and selection of suppliers; list of approved suppliers.

* Records of inspections of purchased products; quantities accepted and rejected.

7. Products supplied by customers:

* List of products supplied by customers for specific orders.

* Records on the verification of these products to establish suitability for use.

* Reports on nonconforming materials.

8. Product identification and traceability:

* Details of the system for identifying products and or arrangements for ensuring traceability of various components, raw materials, processes and so forth, to facilitate investigation of the causes of nonconformity in finished products.

9. Process control:

* Records of observations and consequent decisions affecting process control.

* Records of corrective action taken to keep the process under control.

10. Inspection and testing:

* Inspection and test reports relating to receipt of materials, in-process operations, and the final stages of inspection and testing.

* Identification of finished products before clearance by the inspection authority, tracing the products back to their raw materials.

11. Inspection, measuring and test equipment:

* List of inspection, measuring and test equipment and their calibration records.

* Records of major maintenance undertaken.

* Details of disposal of nonconforming test equipment.

12. Inspection and test status:

* Details of releases of nonconforming products, including the identification of the inspection authority responsible for such releases.

13. Control of nonconforming products:

* Records of identification, evaluation, segregation and disposition of nonconforming products and notification issued to the functional groups concerned.

* Records of concessions obtained.

* Records of reworked products and repaired work.

* Records of rejects and scrap.

14. Corrective action:

* Details of corrective action expected for each type of nonconformity.

* Records of investigations into nonconforming products and associated analysis; records of corrective actions taken and the results obtained.

* Records of changes in procedures issued as a result of corrective action.

15. Handling, storage, packaging and delivery:

* Records of preservation and maintenance during storage.

* Records of packaging materials used and markings on the labels affixed to packages.

16. Quality records:

* List of quality records maintained to demonstrate attainment of required quality levels and the implementation of the quality system.

* Details of the types and locations of storage for records.

17. Internal quality audit:

* Records of internal quality audits carried out, their findings and corrective actions taken.

* Records of changes in procedures resulting from internal quality audits as well as the dates of their implementation.

18. Training:

* Details of personnel engaged in functions affecting quality.

* Records of the training needs of personnel.

* Records of training organized.

19. Servicing:

* Details of servicing undertaken as part of the contract or under warranty.

* Records of major nonconformities noted during the servicing operation, the corrective actions taken and changes in procedures or materials.

20. Statistical techniques:

* Statistical process-control documents.

* Records of statistical techniques used in analyzing defects and in testing design improvements.

Checklist for a quality system

* Have you identified which requirements of the ISO 9000 standards are applicable to your company?

* Have you determined the activities that require written procedures?

* Have you ensured that departments prepare detailed operating procedures of their functions that affect product quality?

* Has a quality manual on company policy, organization of quality-related functions and outline procedures for quality assurance been prepared?

* Have you determined the extent to which formal quality plans are required by your company and developed guidelines for preparing those?

* Have you established procedures for obtaining the customer's approval of quality plans when required?

* Have you established a mechanism to monitor the implementation of the quality system and the procedures for corrective action to make the system effective?

Harbans Lal is a former Director General of the Bureau of Indian Standards. This article is based on a new publication that he wrote, ISO 9000 Quality Management Systems: Guidelines for Enterprises in Developing Countries, published jointly by ITC and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
COPYRIGHT 1993 International Trade Centre UNCTAD/GATT
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Author:Lal, Harbans
Publication:International Trade Forum
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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