Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle

PDCA Cycle:  Plan-Do-Check-Act,

PDCA-CyclePDCA is an  four-step management method used in business for the control and continuous improvement of processes and products. ISO 9001:2008 International Standard promotes the adoption of a process approach and PDCA cycle when developing, implementing and improving the effectiveness of a quality management system, to enhance customer satisfaction by meeting customer requirements.

PDCA can be briefly described as follows.

  • Plan: establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with customer requirements and the organization’s policies.
  • Do: implement the processes.
  • Check: monitor and measure processes and product against policies, objectives and requirements for the product and report the results.
  • Act: take actions to continually improve process performance.

QMS systems1


P is for Plan

In any project, you will first need a detailed plan. Make sure to identify your goals, delegate work properly and set a clear action plan with key milestones.

Don’t forget to document your plans in order to help you analyze its effectiveness later.

D is for Do

Once you have your plan, do it! As no plan is ever completely perfect, make sure you make a list of problems as you encounter them, and how you responded to them.

C is for Check

Once you’ve finished the project, immediately call the team to compile the list of problems and solutions they’ve encountered. Share the information with the team so that everyone knows and understands how to avoid these problems, or to fix them if they happen to reappear again later.

A is for Act

You now know the root causes of the problems, now fix them. Your job here is to ensure these problems don’t rear their ugly heads again the next time you carry out this project. Solving an issue by fixing the root cause is like uprooting weeds, as they won’t grow back again. If you solve a problem as they come along, then all you’re doing is cutting weeds. With a bit of time, they’ll just grow back and come back to haunt you.

Once the root causes are eliminated, it is important to standardize these techniques in order to ensure that everyone knows about it, and that they don’t happen again. That can be achieved through documentation and sharing this knowledge through PDCA meetings with your team.



By Source Management Systems Consulting

Why register your company to ISO 9001 .

Benefits of ISO 9001ISO 9001

ISO 9001:2008 aims to provide a practical and workable Quality Management System for improving and monitoring all areas of your business.

Achieving the standard is not about establishing a set of procedures that are complicated and difficult to manage. With the right support and the knowledge of your employees, you will end up with a system that will improve all areas of your organisation.

Implementing an effective and robust Quality Management System (QMS) will help you to focus on the important areas of your business and improve efficiency. The management processes that are established throughout your business will provide a sound foundation, leading to increased productivity and profit. This in turn will improve your customer acquisition and retention.

Some of the main benefits include:

  • Suitable for both small and large organizations
  • Better internal management
  • Less wastage
  • Increase in efficiency, productivity and profit
  • Improved customer retention and acquisition
  • Consistent outcomes, measured and monitored
  • Globally recognised standard
  • Compatible with other ISO standards

A valid ISO 9001:2008 certificate will be a prerequisite for some of your customers and a “nice to have” for others, when they are considering suppliers.

It gives your customers confidence that you are working to standards and procedures that will provide them with a high standard of customer service.

Benefits to your customers:
The ISO 9001:2008 standard is recognised worldwide and your customers will understand the benefits of working with companies that are ISO 9001:2008 certified. In fact, some of your customers will only do business with certified companies because it gives them assurance that you management systems are constantly assessed and approved.

They will know from experience that working with ISO 9001:2008 certified companies provides many advantages:

Minimizes mistakes:
Improves reporting and communications
Better quality products and service
More reliable production scheduling and delivery
Standards maintained by annual assessments

How to Select Quality Vendor

How to Select Quality Vendor

contact:  kris@themanagementsystems.comchoose-person

The vendor selection process can be a very complicated and emotional undertaking if you don’t know how to approach it from the very start. Here are five steps to help you select the right vendor for your business. This guide will show you how to analyze your business requirements, search for prospective vendors, lead the team in selecting the winning vendor and provide you with insight on contract negotiations and avoiding negotiation mistakes.

1. Analyze the Business Requirements

Before you begin to gather data or perform interviews, assemble a team of people who have a vested interest in this particular vendor selection process. The first task that the vendor selection team needs accomplish is to define, in writing, the product, material or service that you are searching for a vendor. Next define the technical and business requirements. Also, define the vendor requirements. Finally, publish your document to the areas relevant to this vendor selection process and seek their input. Have the team analyze the comments and create a final document. In summary:

-Assemble an Evaluation Team

-Define the Product, Material or Service

-Define the Technical and Business Requirements

-Define the Vendor Requirements

-Publish a Requirements Document for Approval

2. Vendor Search

Now that you have agreement on the business and vendor requirements, the team now must start to search for possible vendors that will be able to deliver the material, product or service. The larger the scope of the vendor selection process the more vendors you should put on the table. Of course, not all vendors will meet your minimum requirements and the team will have to decide which vendors you will seek more information from. Next write a Request for Information (RFI) and send it to the selected vendors. Finally, evaluate their responses and select a small number of vendors that will make the „Short List” and move on to the next round. In summary:

-Compile a List of Possible Vendors

-Select Vendors to Request More Information From

-Write a Request for Information (RFI)

-Evaluate Responses and Create a „Short List” of Vendors

3. Request for Proposal (RFP) and Request for Quotation (RFQ)

The business requirements are defined and you have a short list of vendors that you want to evaluate. It is now time to write a Request for Proposal or Request for Quotation. Which ever format you decide, your RFP or RFQ should contain the following sections:

-Submission Details

-Introduction and Executive Summary

-Business Overview & Background

-Detailed Specifications

-Assumptions & Constraints

-Terms and Conditions

-Selection Criteria

4. Proposal Evaluation and Vendor Selection

The main objective of this phase is to minimize human emotion and political positioning in order to arrive at a decision that is in the best interest of the company. Be thorough in your investigation, seek input from all stakeholders and use the following methodology to lead the team to a unified vendor selection decision:

Preliminary Review of All Vendor Proposals

Record Business Requirements and Vendor Requirements

Assign Importance Value for Each Requirement

Assign a Performance Value for Each Requirement

Calculate a Total Performance Score

Select a the Winning Vendor

5. Contract Negotiation Strategies

The final stage in the vendor selection process is developing a contract negotiation strategy. Remember, you want to „partner” with your vendor and not „take them to the cleaners.” Review your objectives for your contract negotiation and plan for the negotiations be covering the following items:

-List Rank Your Priorities Along With Alternatives

-Know the Difference Between What You Need and What You Want

-Know Your Bottom Line So You Know When to Walk Away

-Define Any Time Constraints and Benchmarks

-Assess Potential Liabilities and Risks

-Confidentiality, non-compete, dispute resolution, changes in requirements

-Do the Same for Your Vendor (i.e. Walk a Mile in Their Shoes)

6. Contract Negotiation Mistakes

The smallest mistake can kill an otherwise productive contract negotiation process. Avoid these ten contract negotiation mistakes and avoid jeopardizing an otherwise productive contract negotiation process.


Conducting Audits: Science or Art:


Conducting Audits can be a Science but Meaningful Audits is an Art:

  • Identifying missing elements and obvious     audit image6noncompliance/nonconformances is easy,
  • Identifying what is good and/or done right is necessary but difficult,
  • Identifying nonconformances to the intent of the standards or ineffective processes and activities is  difficult in a working environment,
  • Separating the trivial (observations and findings) from the Important takes judgement and experience,
  • Lecturing about audit conduct and policy is easy,
  • Asking the right questions is harder,
  • Getting people to talk and listening to what they have to say can be difficult,
  • Establishing credibility (audit has value) is an art, it must be earned,
  • Maintaining control of the audit without turning off communications takes leadership,
  • Separating fact from fancy takes experience; reliance on objective evidence, 
  • Making recommendations to resolve findings & observations is not good audit practice:          – Lack of familiarity with the process and practice                                                                                – Lose objectivity and become part of the problem,
  • Making suggestions that would stimulate resolution is recommended, where necessary.

Choosing Vendors

hand shakecontact:

Your vendors have as much interest in your company’s success as you do.

When you make a lot of sales, they make a lot of sales; when you get paid, they get paid. Having reliable and trustworthy vendors can help your business succeed, just as dealing with unreliable or shady firms can cause major setbacks.

Start by asking around; other business owners in your area can be a great source of information. Once you’ve got a list of names, call your local Better Business Bureau to find out whether any complaints have been filed against any of the vendors on your list. You can visit vendor Web sites and even tour their physical locations. You can ask for customer testimonials and for product samples as well. The key is to get as much information as possible before you make a large monetary commitment to a vendor you don’t know.

As you begin to choose vendors, particularly those who will stock your inventory, try to think of them as business partners. You want to choose the ones with whom your company can develop a long-term, mutually profitable relationship, and that relationship starts with your first request for a price quote. Don’t be afraid to ask vendors for quotes; they’re used to it and they probably expect it. After all, this is a major purchase, and it’s never wise to make a major purchase without shopping around — especially when you’re going to a vendor you’ve never dealt with before.

When you’re dealing with a new business and new vendors, make sure to get price quotes from at least two sources for any purchase over $150. If your order will be a lot more than that, consider getting at least three different quotes; more is even better.
If you’re having a hard time finding vendors, and an even harder time finding information about them, you can run your own test by placing a very small order, under $100 in total value. If that process goes well, take it up a notch and place a slightly larger order the next time. Once you feel comfortable with the vendor, you can place your full-blown orders without worry.

Getting Quotes

When you want to make a big purchase for your business, you need to know the total cost upfront. To get that information, you need to ask the people who sell whatever it is you want to buy. In order for that information to be fixed (as opposed to changeable), it’s best to get it in writing. When your company is buying a product, that information will come in the form of a quote; when it’s services you’re after, the quote is usually referred to as an estimate.

The best way to get a quote is to talk with a salesperson; quote requests that come by mail are often ignored. Phone contact is fine, especially after you’ve begun to build a relationship with that vendor or salesman. For your first time out, though, a face-to-face meeting could prove more fruitful, especially if you’re spending a significant sum. Even though salesmen themselves are seldom involved in setting company pricing policy, they often have some leeway when it comes to closing a deal. When you establish a personal connection with a salesman, he’ll work harder with you and for you; after all, making a sale to you is his bread and butter. Flexible areas often include lower unit pricing when you buy in bulk, and better credit terms.

Hitting it off with the salesman is a great start toward developing a good relationship with a vendor. However, don’t stop after getting a single quote just because you like the first salesman you meet with. Another vendor may offer better pricing, better terms, better merchandise, and maybe a salesman that you’ll like even better.

Avoid These Vendors

There are some vendors that you should avoid. If you run across a vendor with one (or more) of the following characteristics, run in another direction:

Accepts cash only

Asks for checks made out to cash

Won’t send a brochure or catalog

Won’t give you a price quote or estimate in writing

Dirty, disorganized stockroom

No warehouse or storage facility

If one (or more) of these factors is the norm in your industry, and the vendor in question has gotten high marks from a reliable source, it’s probably safe to keep him on your list. However, if it’s the vendor telling you this is normal practice, and you can’t verify that with anyone else, look for a different vendor.

Vendor Management Success Tips

Strategies to Strengthen Vendor Relations
Vendor management allows you to build a relationship with your suppliers and service providers that will strengthen both businesses. Vendor management is not negotiating the lowest price possible. Vendor management is constantly working with your vendors to come to agreements that will mutually benefit both companies.
1. Share Information and Priorities
The most important success factor of vendor management is to share information and priorities with your vendors. That does not mean that you throw open the accounting books and give them user IDs and passwords to your systems. Appropriate vendor management practices provide only the necessary information at the right time that will allow a vendor to better service your needs. This may include limited forecast information, new product launches, changes in design and expansion or relocation changes, just to name a few.

2. Balance Commitment and Competition
One of the goals in vendor management is to gain the commitment of your vendors to assist and support the operations of your business. On-the-other-hand, the vendor is expecting a certain level of commitment from you. This does not mean that you should blindly accept the prices they provide. Always get competitive bids.3. Allow Key Vendors to Help You Strategize
If a vendor supplies a key part or service to your operation, invite that vendor to strategic meetings that involve the product they work with. Remember, you brought in the vendor because they could make the product or service better and/or cheaper than you could. They are the experts in that area and you can tap into that expertise in order to give you a competitive advantage.

4. Build Partnerships For The Long Term
Vendor management seeks long term relationships over short term gains and marginal cost savings. Constantly changing vendors in order to save a penny here or there will cost more money in the long run and will impact quality. Other benefits of a long term relationship include trust, preferential treatment and access to insider or expert knowledge.

5. Seek to Understand Your Vendor’s Business Too
Remember, your vendor is in business to make money too. If you are constantly leaning on them to cut costs, either quality will suffer or they will go out of business. Part of vendor management is to contribute knowledge or resources that may help the vendor better serve you. Asking questions of your vendors will help you understand their side of the business and build a better relationship between the two of you.

6. Negotiate to a Win-Win Agreement
Good vendor management dictates that negotiations are completed in good faith. Look for negotiation points that can help both sides accomplish their goals. A strong-arm negotiation tactic will only work for so long before one party walks away from the deal.

7. Come Together on Value
Vendor management is more than getting the lowest price. Most often the lowest price also brings the lowest quality. Vendor management will focus quality for the money that is paid. In other words: value! You should be willing to pay more in order to receive better quality. If the vendor is serious about the quality they deliver, they won’t have a problem specifying the quality details in the contract.
8. Vendor Management Best Practices
Whether you’re a multimillion dollar company or a small business with a few employees, here are some Vendor Management Best Practices that any size business can use:

Vendor Management Best Practices: Vendor Selection

The vendor management process begins by selecting the right vendor for the right reasons. The vendor selection process can be a very complicated and emotional undertaking if you don’t know how to approach it from the very start. You will need to analyze your business requirements, search for prospective vendors, lead the team in selecting the winning vendor and successfully negotiate a contract while avoiding contract negotiation mistakes.

Vendor Management Best Practices: Scrutinize the Prospects

Once you start to look at individual vendors, be careful that you don’t get blinded by the „glitz and sizzle.” Depending upon the size of the possible contract, they will pull out all the stops in order to get your business. This may include a barrage of overzealous salespeople and „consultants”. Just because they send a lot of people in the beginning, doesn’t mean they will be there after the contract is signed.

As you begin your vendor search, ask some questions that will help you eliminate the more obvious misfits. For example, Is the proposed material, service or outsourcing project within the vendor’s area of expertise?

Vendor Management Best Practices: Remain Flexible

Be wary of restrictive or exclusive relationships. For example, limitations with other vendors or with future customers. In addition, contracts that have severe penalties for seemingly small incidents should be avoided. If the vendor asks for an extremely long term contract, you should ask for a shorter term with a renewal option.

On the other hand, you should be open to the vendor’s requests also. If an issue is small and insignificant to you but the vendor insists on adding it to the contract you may choose to bend in this situation. This shows good faith on your part and your willingness to work towards a contract that is mutually beneficial to both parties.

Vendor Management Best Practices: Monitor Performance

Once the relationship with the vendor has begun, don’t assume that everything will go according to plan and executed exactly as specified in the contract. The vendor’s performance must be monitored constantly in the beginning. This should include the requirements that are most critical to your business. For example: shipping times, quality of service performed, order completion, call answer time, etc.

Vendor Management Best Practices: Communicate Constantly

The bottom line in vendor management best practices is: communication, communication, communication! Don’t assume that the vendor intimately knows your business or can read your mind. A well established and well maintained line of communication will avoid misunderstandings and proactively address issues before they become problems.

By Source Management Systems Consulting