ISO 9001:2015 and Cost Reduction

21/03/18

Despite not being commonly talked of, quality management systems based on a series of ISO 9000 standards have a significant economic component related to the quality costs incurred for carrying out inspections and non-quality related costs incurred due to internal errors - scrapping or reworking - and external errors - errors induced by clients and their orders. Quality, in its strictest sense, is compliance with requirements. Since the start of industry as we know it, with this data coming from the start of the last century, this has been a key objective for organisations that wish to retain their clients.


When the Control Is Not Enough

The first step used by the organisations, even before the implementation of quality control management standards, was to carry out a quality control inspection. Post-activity follow-up checks to determine whether or not the product or process has met its parameters or specifications.

It is, without a doubt, a necessary action but has a basic limitation. Inspections are a filter that separates the "good from the bad" but they do not make a product or service that is non-compliant compliant. Later, despite reducing the costs of external errors, internal error costs cannot be avoided, or even reduced, even when inspections are carried out.

Confidence as a Profitable Strategy

The adoption of the ISO 9001 standard, since its first version, introduces a new management concept - the guaranteeing of quality. This does not just entail checking a product or service after completion to ensure it complies with the necessary requirements but rather focuses on generating confidence that the said product or service will be compliant with them all at the time it is provided to the client.

The main quality guarantee measure is standardisation, i.e.: the adoption of defined criteria and methods. These criteria and methods are known and followed by everyone involved in the specific task, to meet the client's expectations. Standardisation avoids reworking or scrapping costs resulting from excessive deviation in terms of materials and procedures. Once an adequate degree of confidence has been achieved, this will result in reduced inspection activity itself and in costs deriving therefrom.

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