Consulting and service organisations have an inherent need to provide their services in accordance with their quality management principles. Whether formally or informally, this is true of all such organisations.
At a certain point of scale, or in response to the provision of services to government bodies or large corporations, they will find it necessary to formalise such principles and ultimately to achieve ISO (International Standards Organisation) certification under ISO9001.
In this blog we will run through the 7 quality management principles and explain how a correctly implemented PSA system (such as HarmonyPSA) can be used to underpin your approach to delivering quality service.
In the table below, the statements in italics are the PSA underpinnings of each quality principle.
QMP 1 - Customer focus
The primary focus of quality management is to meet customer requirements and exceed their expectations.
Your PSA system needs to be fully customer and contract centric where the requirements of the customer and the definitions of service are both embodied in the contract and instantiated in the PSA solution. Clear statistics relating to SLA achievement and customer satisfaction reporting are key to demonstrating these are being achieved. All aspects of customer relationship and service need to be in a single solution so a 360 degree view of customer interactions is available in real-time without the need for manual extracts.
QMP 2 - Leadership
Leaders need to actively promote the quality principles and create an environment in which all staff are engaged in achieving the quality objectives.
Leadership is all about communication and consistency. However, the PSA can underpin these messages though well structured process models, notifications and clean data for feedback discussions. Achieving consistency in metrics and KPIs delivered by a correctly configured PSA solution ensures management messages are accurate and meaningful.
QMP 3 – Engagement of people
Securing and assuring organisational quality requires all staff to be fully involved, empowered and component.
There is a huge quality benefit to be derived from an end-to-end customer lifecycle solution where hand-offs take place within a central solution that is used by all staff following correctly configured work-flow based processes. A lead to cash PSA solution can achieve this unity of purpose and enterprise-wide staff engagement.
QMP 4 – Process approach
Consistency and quality are achieved more effectively when all activities are understood, controlled and managed in a single coherent system.
Process is where the PSA system will come into its own. Not only by controlling the macro process environment of the customer engagement, but also by ensuring that individual tasks and issues are handled correctly with the right quality checks and workflows. Embodying both the macro and micro models in a single solution places process at the heart of the organisation's minute to minute activities. In addition, centralising all activities into a single task management environment allows effective resource management and a clear understanding of customer expectations by comparison to the organisation’s delivery capability.
QMP 5 - Improvement
Continuous feedback and process improvement is central to the ongoing maintenance of a successful quality framework.
Much like Agile thinking, continuous fact-based improvement is an essential component of your quality framework. An end-to-end PA solution provides the data and process clarity needed for challenge and adoption of improvements. The ability to modify product, data and process models centrally, easily and quickly and have those changes immediately reflected by all staff in their activities ensures this.
QMP 6 – Evidence-based decisions
Decisions based on clean undisputed facts are more likely to be carried through.
One of the major challenges with organisations adopting multiple point solutions as their internal systems strategy is the difficulty in re-assembling data on customer delivery in a simple, accurate and undisputed form. This derives from the various data model differences, data latency and reliance on manual process updates. An end-to-end PSA system with a clean central data model eliminates this challenge and ensures that facts are both readily available and undisputed, in particular where clear process audit tracking forms a central pillar of the solution.
QMP 7 – Relationship management
For sustained success, an organisation needs to build and manage its relationships with both suppliers and customers.
Central to good relationship management is clarity, accurate modelling, ease of interaction and organisational visibility of all touch-points so that openness is enjoyed on both sides and misunderstandings avoided. Again, the enforcement of a PSA solution that can handle all these interactions quickly and easily encourages adoption and helps to promote strong relationships.
It is clear that your PSA solution has a leading role when considering ISO9001 certification. Adopting a solution that can model your entire customer and supplier facing business in a single data model that unifies the efforts of all staff will greatly ease this journey.
If you are considering ISO9001 certification, here are 5 specific steps you can take immediately that will help you begin the journey:
- Use the knowledgebase to document your quality management principles and define your macro process model with clear responsibilities well defined. Diagrams can really help with communication of these
- Use your activity (micro) workflows by type to help drive staff interactions with each other and externally
- Ensure quality through correctly defined workflow stage checklists that assist staff to perform their tasks to agreed standards
- Put effort into defining your products and services correctly and comprehensively, with clear service level agreement definitions and controls
- Agree, both at the management level and with your staff, the key metrics you are going to use to drive your fact-based decisions. Start with those most easy to view and understand before moving on to more complex quality measures so that you get immediate benefits while laying a solid foundation to build upon
Harmony as a solution is designed with clear quality management as a central architectural pillar. It has all the functionality you need to underpin these quality management principles and help you achieve ISO9001 certification.
About the Author: Harmony Business Systems Ltd (HBS) is the company behind HarmonyPSA, the most complete cloud PSA software on the market. Developed with functionality to cater for even the most complex needs of MSPs, VARs, ISVs and Professional Services organisations, HarmonyPSA truly is the next generation of PSA systems. HBS is an independent company based in the UK. Follow HarmonyPSA on Twitter or LinkedIn