Google Analystics

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

What frequency does ISO 9001 require for measuring customer satisfaction?

Actually, ISO 9001:2008 doesn't require a frequency. All the ISO 9001 Standard stipulates is, "The organization shall monitor information relating to customer perception as to whether the organization has met customer requirements. The methods for obtaining and using this information shall be determined. (8.2.1)." This is an interesting case where aiming to meet the letter of the standard can get in the way of meeting the Standard because you are shooting for the wrong target. It's a bit like the question, "What is the minimum level of quality necessary to satisfy the customer?"

Enhanced customer satisfaction
My suggestion is, put the Standard aside. Decide, and I mean seriously decide, whether you are or want to be an organization that continually enhances customer satisfaction through the way you meet customer requirements. Assuming the answer is yes, what measures or criteria of success or failure in meeting this aim are you using, and are you monitoring them with sufficient frequency to give you sufficient information to know what to improve? ISO 9001 (8.2.1) offers a list of example tools: customer satisfaction surveys, customer data on delivered product quality, user opinion surveys, repeat/lost business analysis, compliments, warranty claims and dealer reports. (Ultimately, the most important criteria are:
1) Have you done business with them more than once and would you do business with them again?
2) Have you ever recommended them and would you recommend them to a friend?)

Don't do this in order to meet a standard. Do it to be a more successful company and you will not only meet the ISO 9001 Standard but you will also be a more successful company.


Monday, 24 November 2014

ISO 9001:2015 - Where will you document "Context of the Organization"?

Whether or not they have any kind of ISO certification, there cannot be many mature organizations with sustained success which have not taken the trouble to identify and document in some manner the external and internal issues relevant to their purpose prior to formulating or reviewing their strategies and objectives. How else can you develop a strategy? The same motivation applies to identifying "interested parties". For such organizations, meeting the requirements of 4.1 and 4.2 will be a piece of cake: they will already have the evidence documented somehow, somewhere - probably in their business plan.

Issues and Interests
For organizations with less mature strategic plans this will be an opportunity to develop their business strategy. The prior question to ask is, "What information do we need as input to develop a three or five year strategy?" It is up to the organization to decide who the parties are with an interest in their product or service and what the issues are that need to be taken into account. It doesn't matter where and how they retain the evidence that they weighed and decided these things, just so long as they can show the evidence when asked. The Standard does not stipulate. Do it in the most effective and efficient manner to the degree it has value for the organization, not because it is an ISO requirement. Then the requirement will be met. Voila!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Hospitals grinding to halt because of stranded seniors, CMA head says

In a press release put out today the head of the Canadian Medical Association, Dr. Christopher Simpson, a cardiologist at Kingston General Hospital, describes 'gridlocked' hospitals around Canada struggling to make room for incoming patients with acute medical problems because so many older patients needing chronic care and having no other place to go are taking up about 15% of the acute care beds.

"Thousands of older Canadians are taking up acute care beds at $1000 a day even though they are well enough to be discharged because they have no place to go."

"There either isn’t a long-term care bed available in their area or there aren’t the support services they need to live at home. About 15 per cent of acute care beds in Canada are taken up this way.

“We are warehousing them. We do the best we can. But it’s not anywhere near good enough.”

Video quotes from Dr. Christopher Simpson can be downloaded from this link:

Friday, 14 November 2014

Aging - the effect of stereotypes

Researchers have reported, in the journal Psychological Science, that an implicit intervention can work subliminally to strengthen older people’s positive age stereotypes that leads, in turn, to stronger physical functioning. Put simply, physical functioning in seniors can be improved by exposing them to positive age stereotypes. The less explicit this exposure the better.

Read the study in Psychological Science

Read the New York Times blog article about the study, The New Old Age

Read Dr. Mercola's take, When it comes to Aging Well, It's Mind Over Matter

Friday, 7 November 2014

Can Culture be the Root Cause of Noncompliance?

Actually, that was a trick question to get your attention. Right off the bat, let me say that the answer is "No." Although I am certain that the absence of an effective organizational culture of quality can be a cause of noncompliance, I do not believe that organizational culture can be a root cause of noncompliance because it still begs the question, "Why?" If you can still reasonably ask another 'why?' then you have not yet come to root cause.

All successful organizations have a vision, mission and goals that are pursued according to certain principles which are subscribed to as values within the organization. However, not every organization with a declared vision, mission, goals and set of values is successful. Compare Toyota, on the one hand, and the investment banker Goldman Sachs who was a major player in the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis.

The difference, very often, is between the formal, espoused value principles and the informal principles which form the basis of what actually happens in the organization. What actually happens, 'the way we do things', is what constitutes the 'culture' of the organization. For example, the Goldman Sachs business web site states: INTEGRITY AND HONESTY ARE AT THE HEART OF OUR BUSINESS. Jane or Joe Public can be excused for reading this with a degree of cynicism given the actual cultural history of that organization.

Is your culture rogue?
It is important, then, to establish where there may be significant gaps between identified, desired organizational behaviours that would support the espoused principles on the one hand and actual behaviours suggesting a different, rogue set of beliefs, organizational culture or 'way of doing things' on the other.

Peter Drucker is credited with saying, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." You will not be able to successfully implement an organizational strategy aligned with the organization's vision and mission if the prevailing organizational culture, "the way we do things", does not have the same alignment. On the other hand, if the culture is properly aligned, the new strategy is half-way to success before you even start.

How does your organization 'do things'? How big is the gap between your organization's formal and informal principles? Which behaviours is your organization rewarding?

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

ISO 9001 Moves to Final Draft

New revision still on schedule for release Q4'15.
Main elements:

  • Process based (not new)
  • Plan Do Check Act (not new)
  • Risk based (New emphasis)

The interviewer found this exciting. Really? You be the judge.

Monday, 3 November 2014

PSA testing for prostate cancer screening - Lies, damn lies and statistics

The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care has urged doctors (and patients) to stop using the prostate-specific antigen test, or PSA, to detect cancer in its early stages and uses statistics to back up its guidelines published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Dr. S. Larry Goldenberg, chair of the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, a professor of urologic sciences at the University of British Columbia, and the author of An Intelligent Patient Guide to Prostate Cancer, provides a scathing retort in a short article, "Dropping PSA test for prostate cancer puts men’s health at risk", pointing out that the task force is comprised entirely of non-experts in the field.

Read why he says you should ignore the Task Force and why he says, "As a urologist, I’ll continue to urge my patients to check their PSA. As a man, I’ll continue to check mine, too. So should you."