Here we add several ‘influences’ on the company systems, including feedback loops. The feedback loops become important in ISO 9001. To most companies this is already a given. Feedback is historically important to most companies. While we can always cite examples of companies we believe do not care about any feedback (telecos, public utilities and government agencies are always being accused of not caring about customers), the truth is most companies are looking for and evaluating feedback. Sales is looking for information about their customers and what people want. Internally, manufacturing is always feeding back information to the design folks.
The biggest problem in the feedback loop is effectiveness of communications. As an internal example, I have seen very high walls between departments. Design and manufacturing and quality all often have very high walls. Manufacturing feeds back to design problems the have or are encountering where they think a design change should be evaluated and design says “Tough. We have our own problems.” Sometimes this is the result of a lack of resources but typically it’s a combination of that and a failure to work as a team. I believe this is one reason Japanese manufacturing works so well. My experiences with Mexican companies has also been that there is more of a team work atmosphere.