By Rick Townsley, Ph.D.
Editor’s note: In this four-part series, contributor Rick Townsley offers a lively, if imaginative, look at an ISO 9001:2015 implementation at a single small business. Here, in part one, we’re introduced to the situation, which is all-too-common for many struggling organizations. Any similarity to actual businesses are purely coincidental.
The ISO 9001:2015 standard is somewhat less prescriptive than previous versions. Some organizations are reluctant to register or re-register due to a lack of familiarity with this version of the standard.
In this following tale, I employ the somewhat humorous example of a fictitious pizza shop to tell a story explaining each of the quality management system (QMS) requirements. The story is designed to be simple, describing the QMS for a product to which most people can relate—pizza! The intent is to use this information as guidance for any organization that wishes to learn more about ISO 9001:2015.
Luigi Back from College
It’s a typical day at The Pizza Shack—or is it? Luigi, the son of Mario, the owner, is just back from college. “Pop,” says Luigi. “Did you see the place down the street? Somebody has opened another pizza shop!”
“I heard about it, son, but didn’t know they were open yet,” replies a concerned Mario. “I think they call themselves the ‘Houses of Pizza’.”
“Yes, there were a lot of cars in the parking lot and I saw four people carrying out pizzas and stuff in bags,” says Luigi.
“Look, go and check out this place. Come back and let me know what you find.” (Clause 4.2, Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties).
An hour later, Luigi returns. “Pop, you aren’t going to believe what this place has to offer,” he sighs. “You can order flavored crusts and up to six toppings, including pineapple.”
“Pineapple?” asks a startled Mario.
“Yeah, pineapple. I guess people like pineapple. You can even order different types of sandwiches. When I went in, people were picking up their orders by putting in a code and opening a door to get their stuff. Then they just walked out.”
“What? Son, have you gone mad?” grunts Mario. “Stop messing with an old man!”
“Pop, I’m serious.”
“OK,” replies Mario. “We’ve been in business for more than 50 years, however, I have noticed a slight decrease in sales lately. That new place is probably part of the reason (4.1, Understanding the organization and its context). I don’t think we need to go in same direction as the ‘House of Pizza’ but maybe we should rethink the way we do things to meet our customer expectations and to work more efficiently (4.3, Determining the scope of the quality management system; 5.1.2, Customer focus; and 8.1, Operational planning and control). Things aren’t the way they were 15, 10, or even five years ago.” (4.1, Understanding the organization and its context).
Typical Day – Current State
“You know,” Mario says, softly, “I hired that kid that’s a friend of yours, Robert, to work part-time (4.4.1, Quality management system and its processes; 5.1.1, Leadership; 6.2.2, Quality objectives and planning to achieve them; 7.1.2, People; and 8.1, Operational planning and control). He’s a nice enough kid but can’t make pizzas worth a darn. The crust always comes out burnt. We’ve had a couple of complaints, too (8.2.1, Customer communication; and 7.1.5, Monitoring and measuring resources). He blames the oven, but I think it’s mostly him (8.7, Control of nonconforming products). I don’t have a problem with my crust” (7.1.6, Organizational knowledge; 7.2, Competence).
“Pop, I know Robert, and I’m sure he is doing the best he possibly can,” says Luigi. “How much training did you give him?” (7.1.6 Organizational knowledge).
“Training?” Mario responds rather loudly. “No one had to train me. I let him watch me a few times” (7.1.6, Organizational knowledge).
“Well, that’s your problem, Pop,” Luigi is quick to respond. “You assume everyone knows as much as you do. After all, you’ve worked the bugs out over the last 100 years or so since you’ve been doing this” (7.1.6, Organizational knowledge).
“Hey now! Let’s not go there,” puffs Mario.
“I’m kidding, of course, but I think you need to provide more guidance and maybe watch him make a few pizzas. That way you can see what he’s doing wrong and help him to make a better pizza in a non-confrontational way (7.1.2, People; 7.1.6, Organizational knowledge; 7.2, Competence; 7.1.4, Environment for the operation of processes; and 10 Improvement).
“And another thing, Pop,” says Luigi. “The oven we use is pretty old” (8.5.1, Control of production and service provision; and 7.1.3, Infrastructure). Have you had it serviced and calibrated lately?” (7.1.5, Monitoring and measuring resources).
“Of course!” barks Mario. “Ralph was in not long ago and everything checked out.”
“Ah, how long ago?” Luigi asks.
“I don’t know, probably a year ago,” responds Mario. “Check the file cabinet in the office.”
After looking up the data, Luigi says, “Pop, Ralph was here more than three years ago and he reported that the oven was near end of it life, and that you should look around for a replacement” (7.1.3, Infrastructure).
“Oh, don’t remember that.”
“It’s right here in black and white,” snaps Luigi (7.1.5 2, Measurement traceability). “Pop, you know, it’s time we take it up a notch and move into the 21st century” (4.1, Understanding the organization and its context).
“OK,” asserts Luigi, “If we are going to stay in business, this is what we need to do: First, we’re going to create a charter, mission, or policy (5.1, Leadership and commitment; 7.3, Awareness). We need something that defines what we do and what makes us better. Then we’re going to figure out how we’re going to make it happen (5.1, Leadership and commitment; 7.3, Awareness; 6.2, Quality objectives and planning to achieve them). Pop, how’s this sound? ‘At The Pizza Shack we strive to be the people’s first choice for fresh tasty pizza.’ As we get better, we can revisit our mission and policy to include more stuff (10, Improvement). We can get new and better ovens, a deli counter, a wider selection of beverages, hire more people, and open more stores” (4.1, Understanding the organization and its context).
“But Luigi,” whines Mario, “I’m a poor man, what’s this going to cost and are we going to get our money back? (4.4, Quality management system and its processes). Look, son, I’m not sure about all this. Who else is doing all these things?” (4.1, Understanding the organization and its context).
“Everybody, Pop!” exclaims Luigi. “Well, not everybody, but a lot of people” (4.3, Determining the scope of the quality management system).
“Assuming I go along with this, how do we become the people’s first choice for fresh, tasty pizza?” (5.2.1, Establishing the quality policy).
“That’s the way to think, Pop!” responds an excited Luigi. “We need to figure out our objectives (5.1, Leadership and commitment; 6.2, Quality objectives and planning to achieve them; and 7.3, Awareness). Let’s keep it simple and start with something we can measure (9.1.1, Monitoring, measurement, analysis, and evaluation). Let’s start with 100-percent customer satisfaction. We can monitor the number of pizzas sold and track any verbal complaints or refunds for anyone who doesn’t like our pizza (8.2, Requirements for products and services; 10.2, Nonconformity and corrective action; and 8.2.1, Customer communication). Second, we can set a goal that no customer must wait more than 15 minutes for in-store pick-up no matter how large the order” (7.3, Awareness).
“Sounds corny, but we can do it,” says Mario. “If it’s late, we automatically give a 10-percent discount—I can’t believe I just said that! Anyway, I think I know the busy times and can get help when business gets heavy” (7.1 Resources; and 7.2, Competence).
“Yeah,” Luigi eagerly adds, “we can track discounts and percent of on-time orders. Third, we can promise free delivery for any order of more than $20 within 5 miles… Actually, as I think about it, most of the other guys do this already (4.1, Understanding the organization and its context). We need to do better (7.3, Awareness; and 10, Improvement). I know, we’ll offer free delivery (7.1, Resources) within 10 miles and within 45 minutes of placing order, or customer gets an automatic 10-percent discount. I’m pretty sure our customers will monitor this for us! (6.2, Quality objectives and planning to achieve them.) Maybe we can even set up some type of automated delivery system for online pick-up.”
“Slow down, son,” cautions Mario. “Let’s try one thing at a time. We can talk with our customers to see what services they like best and keep score (4.4, Quality Management system and its processes; and 8.2.1, Customer communication). We currently don’t have the resources and I’m not sure how this automated delivery process would work and what potential consequences it might cause if it doesn’t work” (4.4, Quality management system and its processes; and 6.3, Planning of changes).
“OK!” Luigi exclaims loudly. “Now that we have a plan and a strategy to execute it (6, Planning), let’s get the message out to our employees and customers (7.3, Awareness; and 8.2.1, Customer communication). How about we post our Policy and Objectives next to the menu board? (5.2.2, Communicating the quality policy; and 7.5.3, Control of documented information). Next, we need to have meetings with the staff explaining our expectations and providing the necessary tools and guidance (5.3, Organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities). I’ll take responsibility for making this happen (7.4, Communication; 5.1, Leadership and commitment; and 5.3, Organizational roles responsibilities and authorities).
In part two, we’ll see the changes to The Pizza Shack begin to take shape.
About the author
Rick Townsley, Ph.D., is a Principal QA Engineer at Raytheon in Largo, FL. He holds a Ph.D. in business administration from Kennedy-Western University in Cheyenne, WY. A senior ASQ member, Townsley is an ASQ certified quality auditor, engineer, and manager of quality/organizational excellence. He is also an Exemplar Global QMS auditor.
©, Rick Townsley. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, no part of this publication may be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting on the internet or an intranet, without prior written permission from the author: firstname.lastname@example.org.