Seeking: Ideas for Measuring the Processes as Required by ISO 9001:2000


Khaled El Gohary

Can anyone tell me some ideas for measuring the processes for the new standard . specially in the service sector?
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Andy Bassett

You were asking for possible measurements for the new standard.

Are you sure you want to measure the processes laid out in the standard, or would it be better to measure the actual processes that exist within the company.

It depends what layout you have in the handbook, but if you follow the general trends discussed on this site and elsewhere the best approach is to define the actual processes you have in the company, and then link the standard to the processes, not the other way round.

My quick review of the new ISO 9000:2000 makes me think that measuring the performance of your processes will become more important. For this and other reasons, i now implement measurements on nearly every process that exists, and complie one A3 sheet with every statistic on in bar chart format, and distribute it to management monthly.

If statistics are relatively new in your company, make sure you select issues that are consistent and very easy to compile. Ie of a dept has to spend more than 30 minutes a month compiling a statistic, you can guess that after three months it will no longer work.

Andy B

Jase Eyre

I do agree with Andy, particularly with regard to charting your processes ('process mapping') and then linking them to the requirements of the standard. This will allow you to address the standard without the need to impose its structure on the actual work practices of your firm.

One problem I have come across - and I think it's a defining feature of the services sector - is the difficulty in measuring the performance of processes. Unlike manufacturing where outputs are tangible and quantifiable, the services sector often produces outputs which are intangible and difficult to quantify.

The only really reliable methods I have come across so far is the measurement of throughput time for particular processes, and the measurement of customer satisfaction itself. Other attempts to quantify intangibles tends to become problematic, though my research in this area is still in its early stages.

I would be interested to hear what anyone else has to say on this matter.


Andy Bassett

Hello Jase
Why dont you throw up a couple of examples and we will see what we can do with them. In my particular environment mechanical defects are more difficult to trace and i spend more time measuring non-tangible problems.

Yesterday i went into a sales organisation and pulled out all the orders for January. It took me two hours to go through them and make a statistic on;
How many of the orders were written
How many customers received written offers.
How many orders were fulfilled directly.
How mayn official order confirmations were sent out.

I hate to admit this, but my activity made the sales people so nervous that they proposed 2 or 3 improvements on the spot without me opening my mouth.
...our Order Confirmation system is a little complex, but i suppose we could fax the customer order back to the customer with 'Order Received' written on...
...our Order Confirmation programme is not working, but we will chase the software company tomorrow...
etc etc

If you are interested, when i define the processes in a company i make sure i have also the management processes, my experience is that most companies i know need better management rather than more quality initiatives (remind me to make my user name
annonymous in future).

For example one particular company i know is very bad at defining what projects have to be done, by who and when.
We set up a process which basically involved defining all the project details on a Project Release Sheet and circulating. The result we have at the moment for example is about 12 projects running but only 3 Project Release Sheets (and a lot of chaos of course).

By the way, the boys in the overalls see this as a much more balanced approach to systems improvement.

Give us some examples of your processes.

Andy B

Khaled El Gohary

Thanks Andy and Jase

What i usually do when i document any system is to start by analysing the bussiness process and the supporting , by making flow charts.And this is not a problem ( sometimes it is depend on the company),to measure the performance of any process is my big problem. From your reply i got am idea for the service sector , is to analys their processes and to measure them by defining the non-conformites that can be rised from the process ( or ask how can this process acheive wrong output, like how many times this form was delayed(time)? , how many times this form was not completed?.But i guess my problem will be how to monitor it by using what? to define time intervals for the mointor ? or use the non-conformity note to mointor the process performance?

Thanks in advance.

Jase Eyre


Sorry for the time it's taken to reply (Don't worry, I've issued myself a CAPR).

A most interesting discussion this (for me at any rate).

Khaled, your last response raises an interesting distinction vis a vis, the difference between measuring whether an activity has been performed or not (which is relatively easy), and whether or not it has been performed WELL (which is important for 9001:2000 continual improvement imperatives). Your solution - identifying potential non-conformities in the planning phase and working to avoid them during realisation - is innovative. My company is working to implement exactly that sort of practice, but more to satisfy the 'preventive action' requirement than the monitoring one. Now that I think about it, I suppose such provisions can be applied to WHAT is monitored. As to the HOW, we leave that to the experts - the people who use the system (In our new as-yet-to-be-implemented QMS, there is a requirement to 'establish criteria for assessment' in the planning phase of a project). I am hoping (!) that so long as this assessment criteria is documented, it will satisfy third parties (sound of beads of sweat forming on furrowed brow...).

(Interestingly enough, it occurs to me that the number of 'unexpected' non-conformances that crop up during a project can be tallied up as a method of monitoring the effectiveness of the planning process!!)

Andy, in response to your request for examples of processes...

My company is in the design business. A brief is established, scope and specifications determined from the client, and off we go. The actual 'realisation' of our 'product' involves a lot of to-ing and fro-ing back to the client for verification purposes. Most non-conformances arise out of co-ordination and communication errors (ie. "You showed the client design x? But design y is the current one!" That kind of thing). With vast quantities of designs coming in and going out, it is difficult to keep up without imposing cumbsersome checklists, release forms and the like, which actually tend to make things worse as they take up lots of peoples time (our 'new' QMS will attempt to soften the blow somewhat by simplifying the way the documentation system is set up, and by reinfocing the need to ensure the currency of customer requirements during the lifecycle of the project).

'Product(ie. service)realisation' is for us an ongoing, iterative, concern, rather than a matter of working to requirements with final product release as a defined endpoint. We have a constant stream of little 'releases' rather than one big one at the end of a project. Traditional approaches to monitoring (so far as I have seen)tend to focus on the latter rather than the former situations. I am relatively new to this field, so I'm learning all the time. Any insights will be readily gobbled up.

Thank you both for an intersting thread.


Alan Cotterell

Perhaps it may be possible to take a more wholistic approach to process performance measurement. The following paper I wrote some years ago proposes a different approach to poductivity gainsharing based on a positive performance indicator which considers organisational performance which reflects internal processes, rather than individual processes themselves. - Best Regards, Al


There have been schemes proposed for ‘Productivity Gain Sharing’. These are usually based on payment of cash bonuses as a result of assessment of arbitrary productivity indicators.

I suggest that the payment of this type of bonus is undesirable for the following reasons:

a) impact of the bonus is essentially short term;
b) areas such as occupational health and safety, and environment can be neglected by workers to more easily achieve payment of the bonus.

The new approach to quality management offers an opportunity to implement Productivity Gain Sharing in a much more effective manner.

The usual implementation of ISO9000 quality management systems involves documentation of work practices as ‘quality system procedures’, development of quality policy and mission and vision statements.

ISO9000 standards place a strong emphasis on ‘continuous improvement’ and the next phase may be implementation of Total Quality Management TQM. This activity concentrates on improvement of work practices through worker participation.

The normal sequence of events of TQM is:

a) plan a quality improvement to a process and document the process ‘warts and all’;
b) brainstorm for possible solutions using a group activity, and implement changes to the process;
c) check that an improvement has actually been achieved (use statistics) and that other processes have not been adversely affected;
d) act to consolidate the changes by updating process documentation (such as quality system procedures).

Thus the effectiveness of the quality management system depends on achievement of a high level of worker participation.

Employee Share Ownership (ESO) programs offer an excellent opportunity to drive the ‘continuous improvement’ concept and achieve a higher level of business competitiveness.

I suggest that public listed companies should sell shares to their employees at a discount rate dependent on increases in productivity.

Productivity of a company can be assessed by calculating the ratio of ‘profit’ to ‘wages bill’(provided there is not a greater investment in plant in any given year). This calculation takes into account gains and losses due to the management of the organisation.

The formula for calculating the share discount should be made available to the employee.

The advantages of this approach are:

a) the ‘continuous improvement’ program is driven by self interest;
b) employees gain a sense of ownership;
c) impact of rewards is long term;
d) the shares can be converted into cash and provide a ‘cash bonus’ if required;
e) employees can have an input at shareholders meetings and direct organisation policy. This would effectively implement Industrial Democracy.

To the employee this approach should look like ‘going to the races and riding the horse he/she has bet on’. Nothing motivates like ‘a piece of the action’.

Alan Cotterell
5 July 1995

Andy Bassett


Alan - The direction you are going in is blindingly obvious, but at least in my mind a little novel (at least i have never seen it done).

Why not tie Bonus or Share schemes tied to the performance of the employee in the improvement of the processes that he is involved in.

Very interesting, and i will give it more thought. I dont care what people say about Mazlow and Herzberg, money talks!.

Khaled, i think your problem is how to actually gather these measurement results. If you are working with a open minded team that are supporting your project (and these are about as common as Dodo's, it should not be a problem for them to supply you or a Systems Manager on a regular basis.

The only other option that i am most often reduced to going through files to compile the stats myself. Boring for me and expensive for the company, but i still think its worth it.


Andy B

Alan Cotterell

Andy - I've never seen it done either. It's interesting to speculate what could happen.
The 'maturity model of organisations' I mentioned in the ISO9000:2000 forum, might be relevant. I don't know any company at least in Australia, which has reached the 'integrated' level yet, let alone the 'optimised' level. I don't really know what an organisation would be like where the management system and processes are optimised to respond efficiently to customer wants and needs, and control all risks. I don't know whether the strategy I proposed would work in pratice.
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