KAIZEN™ Approach to ISO 9001:2015

Make it Add Value This Time!

Finally … the new version of ISO 9001:2015 has released!  “Hurray”, I can hear many of you screaming … or … not.  More realistically, I am sure many of you living in the KAIZEN™ world are thinking to yourself … “yeah, so what?  That’s so 90’s.  This stuff has nothing to do with real KAIZEN™ and, in fact, it oftentimes creates bureaucracy and more waste.”  Any yet, if your Quality Management System (QMS) is currently wasteful (as I am sure it is), and we as KAIZENers are all about reducing waste in systems, then it makes sense that you should look at eliminating the waste in our QMS’s and right now, is the perfect opportunity to do so, since the revised standard is practically begging us to do so.

I would argue that most QMS’s are wasteful because of the way an organization created and deployed its QMS and has nothing to do with living the spirit behind the requirements, which are really just good business practices. There are absolutely no requirements in the ISO 9001:2015 standard that runs counter to KAIZEN™ thinking.  (The registration process is another story that will not be addressed here.)  Both ISO 9001:2015 and KAIZEN™ practices are built and based on the PDCA model. Both are based on solid and proven business practices that have been developed over the years, but unfortunately, rarely have they been integrated together.

With the recent release of the revised ISO 9001:2015 standard, your organization now has the opportunity to overhaul its overly documented, non-value-adding, wasteful quality management system and create a system that supports all KAIZEN™ practices, helps to sustain all KAIZEN™ efforts, and adds true value to your organization!

I challenge all KAIZEN™ oriented individuals to get involved with the development of your new quality management system KAIZEN™ Transformation System (KTS) to make it lean, purposeful, respected, value adding, and able to provide to sustenance to KAIZEN™ improvements, just as it should do and can.

Why?  Is there an open door for a KAIZEN™ oriented person to get involved in the restructuring of the QMS to allow it to become more valuable to all of our KAIZEN™ efforts?  Well, yes, because one of the new requirements (5.1.1c) is that top management must “demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to the quality management system (QMS)  … by c) ensuring the integration of the QMS requirements into the organization's business processes”.   This is a huge new requirement!  This requirement is telling us that we should include the integration of all KAIZEN™ processes including standard work, communication cells, visual management, Gemba walks, 5S, work cells, total productive maintenance, etc. into the QMS, since these are our business processes.

Furthermore, the documentation requirements have been decreased quite a bit from the previous revision.  For example, there are no requirements for documented procedures or a documented quality manual!  A company must still have “documented information”, but this can come in whatever form thought to be necessary by an organization to achieve planned results, be it in the form of standard work, standard work combination sheets, leader standard work, one point lessons, job breakdown sheets, 5S assessment sheet, Gemba walk form, 3C, A3, etc.  It’s time to integrate KAIZEN™ documents into the QMS and become a major part of the QMS!  This is an opportunity to get rid of the many wasteful documents in your organization that no one uses or the many wasteful sections within documents that no one ever reads.

In fact, it is highly recommended to use the 5S approach on the current documentation system to create a leaner system.  In many cases, I have helped to reduce a company’s documentation system by 50 – 80%, without eliminating any valuable content.

Another new key requirement (although it has always been implied) is the need to address risk management at all levels within the organization.  Of course, one of the best ways to mitigate risks within an organization is through the constant focus on the elimination of waste.  The revised version of ISO 9001 is practically begging us to use the principles, practices, cultural elements and tools of KAIZEN™ to reduce risk.

Practices such as SWOT analysis, SIPOC, PDCA, and Hoshin Kanri are ripe for usage in a culture that is truly trying to reduce its risks at the strategic level.  At the same time, practices such as root cause analysis, poke yoke, nemawashi, FMEA, jidoka, and TWI Job Instructions lead us on the path to reduce risk at the granular level.

We as KAIZENers strive for continuous improvement in all that we do.  Quality personnel, in “charge of” the quality management system strive for the same.  In having two systems, a traditional quality management system and a KAIZEN™/Lean management system, with both attempting to accomplish the same goal in different ways, we are all actually being wasteful as we departmentalize the improvement process and avoid integration. It’s time to rid all of the continuous improvement practices of their wastes and integrate all systems into one system.  This is your challenge!

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