07. Jan 2013

Getting to a brand in a well-aimed and simple manner by using quality management

Brands successfully brave crises - this could be read again quite recently (MillwardBrown Optimor). However, a brand is no product of coincidence. Many fail, above all if the processes do not fulfil the value proposition. What reasons are guaranteed to lead to failure?

What obstacles for developing a brand will occur again and again? Experts for brands state six factors:

1.    the fact that understanding of the strategy is missing;
2.    inefficient Top Management Team;
3.    lack of systematic processes;
4.    insufficient internal communication;
5.    missing coordination of the functional areas;
6.    insufficient skills and capabilities

 

And what does branding have to do with quality management?

It is exactly these factors that can be managed proactively, in a well-aimed manner and systematically. Instructions for being successful can also be found in the Quality Management Standard ISO 9001. The relevant guidelines can be deepened and sharpened even more by Total Quality Management Tools, such as those provided by the EFQM Business Excellence Model.

How can what the International Management Standard ISO 9001 says be summarized?

 

1. Leading on the basis of your clear strategy (MbO - Managing by Objectives)

Top Management is responsible for the vision, policy and objectives. It is not only the direction that is established but also the framework and guardrails for everyday life and work. It also is a matter of documenting them, making them accessible to the employees, actively imparting them and ensuring that they are actually understood. In this respect, the communication process is of utmost importance. This process will help to systematically do something about the fact that understanding of the strategy is missing and correspondingly align the way the employees think and act to the strategic goals. As Quality Austria sees integrated management systems, this is top-down integration.

 

2. Managing effectively

Thanks to the Plan-Do-Check-Act approach, which also is called PDCA Cycle and is required in strategic and operational terms, effectiveness and efficiency of what you are doing is not only fostered on the top level but also on the other levels. Furthermore, ISO 9001 demands a periodic management review with the aim to scrutinize and assess what has been implemented. This process will be fed by results of the measurement of process performance and relevant lessons learned, customer feedback and complaints, internal and external audits, the previous review, implementation of preventive and corrective action, etc. Thus the management review will become a very effective steering tool for an organization. This means that the first reasons of failure that are guaranteed have been turned around. Side step: According to the earlier productiveness studies made by Alois Czipin, insufficient planning, communication and controlling are important causes for losses of productiveness within the companies.

 

3. Design your processes

The process approach is the heart of the Management Standard ISO 9001. Based on the customer needs, it is necessary to identify, document, measurably design and monitor the key processes for the operational value added chain, quasi the correct sequence of operations. Interfaces to processes that have been outsourced but are relevant for value creation will also have to be modelled. Moreover, it is required to record and assess interactions and interrelations to possible support processes. Here it becomes obvious how the processes are interlinked and influence one another. It also is within the organization that the following motto should apply: “The next process is your customer”. The result is the company specific process map, which will thus become the organization’s backbone. Even more so: The process approach will become the integration platform for additional requirements relating to such areas as industry standards (e.g. ISO/TS 16949, ISO 13485, TL 9000 (Telecom Leadership), ISO 22000, IRIS (International Railway Industry Standard), social responsibility (CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), ONR 192500), environmental protection (ISO 14001, ISO 50001) or OH&S (occupational health and safety) (OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series), SCC (Safety Certificate Contractors)). As Quality Austria sees integrated management systems, it is a question of integrating the requirements and their interactions and interrelations.

In this respect, it should be emphasized that the process map always needs to be scrutinized and developed further and must not be chiselled in stone so that it can continue to live up to the changed basic conditions. Even more so: Processes need to be improved continually. This also is required by ISO 9001. Side step: It is with a good reason that KSV 1870 (“Kreditschutzverband” - “Association for Credit Protection”), points out in its analysis of causes for insolvency that the fact that the processes are not improved is one of the causes for the bankruptcies in Austria.

 

4. Enter an active dialogue

Communication is leadership. Communication helps to give a sense and purpose to what you do every day. Repetitive communication will set new impulses again and again so that tension and concentration can be maintained. ISO 9001 also requires a communication process. The strategy, objectives and targets and corporate policy should be no business secret of management. Training and measures for raising awareness are required by ISO 9001. It is necessary to clarify what information the next operating step precisely needs to enable troublefree continuation.

It always is required to make target-performance comparisons and align the actual state to the desired state by, e.g., measuring customer satisfaction or considering complaints (number, type, causes). This will help to find out whether you are on the right way. Thus we have also already successfully overcome the 4th obstacle.
Some other requirements placed by ISO 9001 actively support this process: control of documentation and records, assessment of action implemented in CIP projects (continual improvement process) and preventive and corrective action. Internal and external audits also are important and very instructive communication platforms for scrutinizing the organization (system), the processes and fulfilment of the value proposition for products and services systematically and constructively.

 

5. Foster interplay

This will also help you to overcome the 5th obstacle “Missing coordination of the functional areas”. For it is clear modelling of the processes, above all the key processes in interaction to the support processes, incl. the documented procedures and work instructions, that is to achieve this coordination, in particular. Different audit methods, such as process focused audits, change focused audits or function focused audits, are very effective tools for detecting the “sand in the works”. Or let us use still another image: blind interplay like at the “ Tiki-Taka” of FC Barcelona.

 

6. Develop competencies

Even today many companies lament about the lack of skilled workers. The only constant is change: new business models, new markets, new technologies, new products, … In this light, qualification will soon be obsolete. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to define relevant competencies so that new situations can be mastered successfully while focusing on problem resolution on different levels and in technical, methodological, personal and social terms. However, the challenge is not that of generating profiles of competence but rather that of measurement and assessment. It is not only in ISO 9001 that these requirements (training, raising awareness, role profiles) are described fundamentally. Other standards and regulations, such as ISO 19011, ISO 17025 (auditing), ISO 29990 (organizations providing further training) demand management of competencies. In this respect, finding out what contribution can be made to quality management and implementing the relevant actions particularly devolves on HR (Human Resources). It is a question of the skills and capabilities necessary today and, above all, tomorrow.

The key to success is quality management. ISO 9001 gives systematic instructions to success if the requirements are met specifically to the respective companies with esprit, endurance and consistency. Quality management is organizational development. Quality management fosters the power of the brand - quasi automatically.

Contact Person

Team

Mr. Axel Dick, MSc

Executive Vice President Business Development Environment and Energy, CSR

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