Undertaking strategic planning based on ISO 9001 might seem somewhat distant from your reality. Perhaps you’re thinking: “But QMS, I’m the quality guy, this isn’t my role, what do I have to do with this? I am the quality guy, strategic planning is a matter for the Senior Management”.
However, I now invite you to take on this responsibility and help steer your company’s strategic planning with a focus on Quality! After all, strategic planning that doesn’t consider the quality of the products or services your organization provides is doomed to imminent failure!
Therefore, using ISO 9001 as the focus and basis for the inputs of strategic planning is a great way to ensure that important aspects of the Quality Management System (QMS) are considered, planned, and more than that, will be the focus of future actions! This way, success is guaranteed for your company!
In this article, I will talk about the main input available due to the implementation of ISO 9001 and how it is essential for strategic planning. After reading this content, I invite you to watch my video on our YouTube channel – I’ll leave the link at the end of the article – where I explain step by step, with practical tips, how to use this information and give a “recipe” with 3 more vital aspects of the 9001 in strategic planning. Now, let’s get to the content.
Inputs for Strategic Planning Using ISO 9001
One of the most fundamental parts of strategic planning is undoubtedly the analysis of the current situation of the company. From this information, we start to outline plans, address problems, and direct the future of the entire organization, as well as its strategic objectives.
ISO 9001:2015 is based on the renowned Annex SL, a high-level structure for all ISO standards. And here lies the beauty of this standard (and all ISOs already updated for Annex SL), as it brings various information focused precisely on understanding the current state of the company (the scenario), so that we can act upon it. Let’s look at one of the main examples of this:
The Context of the Organization is the Scenario Analysis Itself
Due to Annex SL, the standard starts by requiring that the company assesses the current scenario of its processes, a normative requirement present in item “4.1 Understanding the organization and its context”.
This item states that the company needs to establish its internal and external issues related to the QMS. This leads us to naturally perform a complete scenario analysis. This needs to be updated and redone from time to time. In fact, if your Organization’s Context is outdated, take the opportunity to revisit it.
Just as a tip, one of the most common ways to analyze the organizational scenario is, not coincidentally, to use one of the strategic planning tools called SWOT Matrix. With it, we evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the business. With such a tool, we have a large part of the information necessary for strategic planning.
Another item that is present in the ISO 9001 standard and is vital for strategic planning is related to the famous Stakeholders. In item “4.2 Interested Parties”, ISO requires the company to determine its interested parties and their needs. Using this information, we can create a strategic plan more focused on quality and what we expect from it, as well as what our clients (internal or external) seek from the company.
For instance, new investors may emerge during the company’s history. As interested parties of the organization, these investors are important and should be included, in one way or another, in the company’s strategic planning. And the 9001 reminds us of this and helps to add this factor to processes and people’s routines, which is vital!
The Context of the Organization is Just a Part of the Whole!
In this article, I have only talked about the context of the organization to keep the content concise. However, various other common inputs from quality management can enrich and even direct strategic planning.
For example, risk management itself can be extremely useful when drawing up strategic plans. This is because many of the identified risks are strategic, risks that can directly affect the organization in the medium and long term. Therefore, they must be part of the actions, that is, they need to be considered in strategic planning.
All this needs to be present at the initial moment of planning, when we think about the current scenario and what will direct the process as a whole. With this, we ensure greater coverage and much more assertiveness in the process and in the company as a whole!
In this way, the most important and vital information will be considered, analyzed, and studied so that new objectives can be created or old objectives validated. Moreover, taking all this into account helps align what the company expects with its own policies and objectives of quality management!