THE SMALL BUSINESS STANDARD

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1 Version 3.2 A basic standard for managing product and service quality in a small business This publication was initially developed by members of the Chartered Quality Institute s Management Consultants Register. It has been fully revised and updated by members of the Institute. January 2013 The Chartered Quality Institute 2 nd Floor, Chancery Exchange, 10 Furnival Street, London EC4A 1AB Tel:(0)

2 Contents 1. Introduction 2. Customer Focus 3. Management Action 4. Processes The Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) holds the copyright of the Small Business Standard, which is distributed free of charge and which may be reproduced free of charge. When distributing or reproducing the Small Business Standard the CQI copyright should be acknowledged. Notes: Text in italics is for guidance only and is not a requirement of the standard. The requirements relate to the whole business and it is not intended that they are imposed on a single individual. Introduction Running a small business is a challenge. It requires commitment, dedication and the ability to deal with many different issues at the same time. An effective quality management system can provide consistency of purpose and product. It can help regulate daily activities so that employees can focus on the unique requirements of each customer. The approach defined can lead to more successful results for the business and its customers. The Small Business Standard has been developed by a group of Quality Professionals with support from the CQI. It provides an effective approach to the management of quality. It is a standard for use in businesses where certification to an International Standard is not required. The standard is structured around three main sections. It begins with focusing on customer needs with management actions delivering these with appropriate processes. Customer Focus Quality Management System Processes Management Actions Working together to create a Quality Management System

3 Customer Focus Businesses depend on their customers, without them there is no income. In order to attract and retain customers, it is necessary to understand and respond to their needs and expectations on quality, delivery and price. Customers want confidence that their needs will be met. Delivering products or services right first time and on time will save time and money and build the business reputation. If genuine complaints are received, dealing with them in a professional way will increase the likelihood that the customer will return. In order to become customer focused the business shall: Listen to customers and create a policy for satisfying their needs and expectations on delivery, price and quality. Display or otherwise communicate the policy to all staff. Accurately describe the product or service offered in any advertising material or catalogues. Understand and agree the customer requirements with the customer before work commences. Accept only those orders where the customer requirements can be met in full. Include everything that significantly influences the price in any quotations given. Check before delivery of product or during delivery of service that it matches the original requirements. Inform customers of problems that may cause delay or change in the service or product ordered. Manage changes in requirements to the customer s satisfaction and in a way that meet the needs of the business. Protect customer property from loss or damage at all times. Resolve customer complaints ensuring the problem does not recur Assess customer satisfaction on a regular basis.

4 Management Actions Management actions are needed to create and maintain a social process. This includes accepting responsibility for the effective and economic planning of the business, control of the operations and meeting all legal requirements. In order to address the management actions the business shall: Ensure there is clear sense of purpose and direction. Set appropriate quality standards for the product or service. Ensure that all employees have the skills, knowledge and necessary information to perform their tasks. Provide resources so the demand for products and services can be met. Provide a safe and suitable work place. Select specialist suppliers for their capability to meet requirements. Monitor specialist suppliers for their performance and impact on the quality of the business product or service. Encourage employees to share their ideas for improvement. Locate, understand and fulfil legal requirements that relate to the business and its product or service. Conduct Business Reviews to confirm that:- Policies remain relevant to the needs of the customers and the business. Any changes to regulations have been identified. Quality standards are achieved. Agreed ways of working are maintained. Training needs have been fulfilled. Actions are identified where there is seen to be a problem. Problems do not recur. Previously agreed actions have been completed.

5 Processes Work is organised in processes that function together to form the quality management system. Each process is a series of activities that complete a given task and produce a result. Understanding how the processes interact and work together is a major step towards preventing errors and finding improvements. Keeping appropriate documents provides protection in the case of disputes and records provide the basis of assessing business success. In order to adopt a process based approach to the management of quality the business shall: Identify the key processes needed to produce the business product or service. Describe how these processes work together. Describe the sequence of activities within these key processes. Check at regular intervals that the agreed quality standards are being maintained. Define roles and responsibilities. Determine what documents and records need to be kept to minimise exposure to risk. Determine what records need to be kept enabling performance to be checked and improvements identified. Remove the potential for error and eliminate the recurrence of problems. Check at regular intervals that work is consistently completed in the described way. Manage changes to the processes in a controlled manner.

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