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Because different industry participants have different perspectives on what it means, quality management system documentation sometimes provokes conflicting reactions.
The main argument derives from the struggle, often extreme, that many businesses go through to record their quality management systems. It's interesting to note that the feared issues and their effects, especially the stress felt by project managers, are not necessarily true. The international level of quality is useful for QiC Company, a building and construction company, in light of these inherent difficulties.
An easy-to-understand framework that directs and informs organizational operations is provided by the quality management system. aImperatively, the document enhances sustainable consistency of processes and understanding of quality management system procedures while providing the necessary evidence for achieving desired objectives. As such, when designing this quality management system manual for a project, there is the need to focus on efficiency and create documentation that will be applicable to QiC Company.
In order for the construction company to efficiently carry out its obligations to customers, internal processes including related procedures that are meant to set up the basis of operational activities are often mandatory. ISO9001:2008 therefore clearly specify the stipulated procedures that dictate terms of compliance. Taking into account the intricate complexities of bigger infrastructural projects within the construction industry, the following six procedures lays the foundation for efficient quality work;
Efficient document control processes are deemed to be the hallmarks of compliant quality management systems. The significance bestowed on efficient documentation is reflected on its ability to direct auditing and compliance verification processes. The document control procedure should therefore extensively and accurately define the scope, purpose, and means required for effective implementation of quality parameters. The documented procedure should ultimately communicate the steps necessary to ensure that the employees in the construction company understand their mandate in managing the information in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
The implementation of a documented procedure will define the anticipated controls that are needed for the identification, storage, retrieval, dissemination, retention, and disposal of sensitive operational and organisational records. In this sense, the records need to be legible and identifiable during the period they are retained. Efficient records ultimately prove the efficacy of the quality management system. Quality company records help companies to prove compliance with requirements, develop and implement steps intended for control of records procedures while also maintaining access to legible documents and records.
According to the ISO 9001:2008, internal audit functions to assess the cumulative effectiveness and performance of the quality management system and organisation respectively. The internal audits need to be in sync with the company's planned arrangements to facilitate conformance and performance. Through internal audits, operational processes will be documented, implemented and understood. Also, internal audits will be able to confirm that each process in the design phase and implementation complies with minimum requirements that demonstrate continuous improvement towards quality and professional execution of projects.
Resolutions of nonconformance need to be documented to highlight how each case was dealt with. Keeping records of nonconformance and evaluating them from a qualitative perspective helps in the identification of negative trends to establish the root cause and design corrective measures to ameliorate the negatives. When negative trends are identified, corrective measures are then implemented to enhance fewer defective products hence customer satisfaction.
The stipulations of ISO 9001:2008, it is mandatory to consider a reactive action to an emergent problem. Corrective action precedes nonconformance and complaints from customers either on the quality issues of the projected being carried out or on the policies being implemented. Based on the foregoing sentiments, it becomes logical to opine that containing the problem is the first response by a manager. Secondly, the manager ought to then investigate the root cause of the problem in order to inform the desirable corrective action to prevent recurrence. Lastly, the manager then needs to develop a control corrective action to help mitigate non-conformity.
As a proactive measure, preventive actions are taken in anticipation of potential problems and make informed decisions to eliminate the inherent challenges and avert future occurrences of the same problems. Developing a preventive action plan, therefore, becomes the prerogative of the executing project manager to prevent potential violations of stipulated guidelines and non-conformity. In furtherance, the executing project manager needs to effectively report these violations, investigate their causes and determine their potential effects of the project. Responses are then developed and documented to prevent problems.
Leadership involvement in the design and implementation of quality management system cannot be understated. The top management is crucial for the successful implementation of QMS because without which the company is bound to run into serious operational challenges. If the top management is not involved in the implementation phase of the problem then chances are that the intended QMS might never succeed. Top management, therefore, needs to demonstrate its unwavering support for the QMS ensuring that adequate resources are availed in a timely manner to promote continual improvement that will focus on quality service delivery. Similarly, undivided commitment towards the realization of a successful QMS fosters the creation and implementation of quality policy and objectives that are consistent with the organizational goals.
In furtherance, the most significant role of top management will be to ensure that the quality management system remains as appropriate as possible while adequately addressing operational needs. A successful QMS must deliver but only if supported by the top management without which the company the quality management system will play second fiddle to other priorities. Hence, the perceived benefits accruing to the use of quality management system will be lost especially with regards to delivering on customer needs and expectations.
Since ensuring that QMS activities take place is no longer adequate to guarantee success, top management should focus on embedding quality in its routine business options. Therefore, if top management support is not included in the process of deployment and implementation of a QMS, the most likely consequences include a bleak future characterized by loss of market share, bankruptcy and potential litigations from unsatisfied customers.
The requirements of international standards for quality management systems within the construction industry are all tailored to tackle the challenges facing the construction industry. The technical and functional performance of these requirements depends on effective implementation of the international standards as much as it also portends economic and environmental gains for the construction industry. Strict compliance ensures that the construction industry becomes more efficient and effective while focusing on problem-solving through solutions at every stage of project implementation. The ISO standards also provide the construction industry and its relevant stakeholders with requisite information needed to make them competitive in global markets. Ultimately, the ISO standards provide a base for regulators which help to drive costs for customers and project implementers.
The ISO 9001:2008 being the hallmark of quality standardization has additional requirements for construction companies such as the need to demonstrate their capacity to consistently implement projects that meet customer specifications and regulatory requirements. Additionally, ISO 9001:2008 functions to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of the QMS. All these statutory requirements are geared towards the improvement of the system and the subsequent assurance of conformity to the needs of the customer within the regulations.
Established in 2003, ZTEC Construction Company has a total number of thirty-five employees. The company received ISO 9001:2008 QMS certification in 2009 and has been implementing it for the past eight years. The company adopted a direct approach to integrating top management leadership in its implementation which has proven to be successful.
The greatest benefit that ZTEC Construction Company has been experienced because of its management leadership, focus on customers, the involvement of people and taking a process-oriented approach to service delivery. Other measures taken by the company to ensure success include; continuous improvement on quality while using an evidence-based approach to informed decision making. The company consists of six different departments which include; administration, accounts, M&E, contracts, procurement, and engineering. With the implementation of ISO 9001:2008, every department has focused more on the company objectives which seldom happened before the implementation of the quality system. Additionally, with the existence of a proper management team, communication between various departments has improved tremendously. Such synergy is attributed to cooperation and making the right strategic decisions during the execution of various construction projects.
Consequently, everyone in the company feels valued and appreciated hence are motivated to realize their roles and functions. The implementation of the quality management system successfully improved the company's corporate image while boosting client confidence levels. In compliance with the ISO 9001:2008, all the previous company contracts since 2008 had been delivered on time while proper supervision by the supervisor and site managers reduced discrepancies in the execution of drawings and plans. During the same time, all the labor outsourced by the company was based on technical skills and knowledge leading to fewer problems on the site and contributing to the reduction of cost and time on avoidable mistakes and reworks. On occasional instances, delays were experienced because of the sophisticated house design and peculiar customer demands.
The challenges bedeviling noncompliance with ISO 9001:2008 standards are diverse with far-reaching consequences. When nonconformity supersedes project implementation, the first challenge is that project managers will rarely supervise their workers who might be inexperienced and lacking proper training. With the procurement of construction materials, non-compliance would mean that there is a high likelihood of materials and other products not meeting the standards set. Inherently, companies ignoring quality management system are prone to delays that affect product delivery to the client. Another serious issue if ignored is poor documentation and record keeping. A company that does not document its procedures may fail to update project specifications based on current updates and instead use old and superseded information.
ISO standards have been proven over time to be invaluable to the construction industry. ISO standards are also known to steer companies towards financial profitability because of their robust management systems which cover a range of processes. Part of the problems QiC Company endured included missing out on tenders because of a lack of a properly documented quality management system. Whereas gaining ISO certification almost guarantees a successful qualification for construction tenders and contracts, the lack of it portends problems. ISO 9001:2008, the best-suited quality management system for the construction industry since it has strict procedures to ensure conformity through its planning, action, and checking and intervention mechanisms. ISO 900:2008, therefore, helps to reduce errors, improve construction processes, and ensure that the projects are delivered on time.
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