0.3 Process Approach
This International Standard promotes the adoption of a process approach when developing, implementing, and improving the effectiveness of a quality management system, to enhance customer satisfaction by meeting customer requirements. Specific requirements considered essential to the adoption of a process approach are included in 4.4.
Understanding and managing interrelated processes as a system contributes to the organization’s effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its intended results. This approach enables the organization to control the interrelationships and interdependencies among the processes of the system, so that the overall performance of the organization can be enhanced.
The process approach involves the systematic definition and management of processes, and their interactions, so as to achieve the intended results in accordance with the quality policy and strategic direction of the organization. Management of the processes and the system as a whole can be achieved using the PDCA cycle (see 0.3.2. with an overall focus on risk-based thinking (see 0.3.3. aimed at taking advantage of opportunities and preventing undesirable results.
The application of the process approach in a quality management system enables:
a. understanding and consistency in meeting requirements;
b. the consideration of processes in terms of added value;
c. the achievement of effective process performance;
d. improvement of processes based on evaluation of data and information.
Figure 1 gives a schematic representation of any process and shows the interaction of its elements. The monitoring and measuring check points, which are necessary for control, are specific to each process, and will vary depending on the related risks.
Figure 1 – Schematic representation of the elements of a single process.