SNV Story No. 4: Quality management implies continuous learning

Standards in education – a view by SNV Academy lecturer Sandra Schieferli

Which standard is the best known in the world and can even be found in documents with otherwise foreign characters? If they had to place a bet, most people would probably guess ISO 9001. And they would be sure to win that bet. Incidentally, the standard is available in Switzerland with identical content as SN EN ISO 9001:2015. Whether companies are assessing new suppliers or customers are looking for a quality product – this standard provides security. Quality management officers, QM managers, executive management and lead auditors who want to improve their quality management from a strategic point of view will find the optimal platform for this in the SNV Academy’s further training courses.

Quality management is not boring
Sandra Schieferli is convinced that quality management, when applied properly, is a decisive factor in the success of any company. Where a quality manager makes a proper and innovative contribution, that position becomes the linchpin of the company. Today’s quality manager is no longer some professor in a corner, alienated from people and drawing diagrams, but a courageous innovator. He or she is proactive, embraces future trends and guarantees innovation while maintaining quality. In addition to specialist knowledge, sensitivity is also required when dealing with a wide range of stakeholders. «My greatest passion is people», insists Sandra Schieferli. Thanks to her professional background and taking various further training courses, she knows how important it is to communicate respectfully and to involve all staff and stakeholders. In the Quality Leader course of the SNV Academy , these elements represent the core course content, and the exchange among participants provides valuable insights into other companies and their individual handling of the standard.

Quality management is more than working on a product
The standard was developed in the 1980s, and its initial focus was clearly on product quality. The 2015 revision of the standard is the first to focus on people and psychosocial conditions in the workplace. In today’s world, where everything needs to be faster and higher as well as go further, we are paying a steep price: stress. A bit of stress can cause pain in the neck, but can often lead to burnout when it escalates. The SN EN ISO 9001:2015 standard has taken this into account and defined specifications on psychosocial stress in the workplace (social/psychological/physical factors). Companies that address this issue early on have a lot to gain for their employees and their organization. This development of the standard shows strikingly how relevant it is for quality managers to enrol in further training courses. Only in this way can the full potential of the standard be seized, implemented and continuously optimized.

Quality management is individual custom work
The chapters of SN EN ISO 9001:2015 are clearly structured into «Plan, Do, Check, Act». But there are many different reasons why companies seek training or certification. Some are clearly driven by market pressure or profitability, others by the profound belief that this is the only philosophy that will move them forward. During courses, Sandra Schieferli is often asked which companies act as models of best practices. «I am wary of simply listing company names and giving examples of best practices in the course», she adds. «This would not do justice to the individual requirements and uniqueness of each organization.» The standard’s implementation works best when it is built on a company’s values and reality. Quality management must not be imposed from the outside, but must grow from within.

Quality management is alive
«At the start of my career, ISO 9001 was also more of a must for me», admits Sandra Schieferli unequivocally. Still, she took the trouble to read the 42-page standard and discovered its potential. «Some sentences make for insipid reading – and the standard does not read like a novel», she adds, «but each standard triggers something different in each company, and a company’s own story develops from it. It is important to me to use visual language in the classroom. I extract the essentials, discuss focal points and provide inspiration on what implementation can look like.»

Quality management as a mirror of the times
Standards say a lot about the state of the economy at the time changes are made. Today, topics such as new technologies, digitalization or sustainability are more important than 10 to 15 years ago. The standard always contains the common denominator that can be agreed upon throughout the world. A standard is systematically reviewed after five years at the latest. If the experts believe that the standard needs to be revised, the standard goes into revision. That is, they are not afraid to remove from the standard what has become outdated and to accommodate new developments. In the past, the company was at the centre of the universe and everything around it was a black box. Today, risks and opportunities outside the organization are included deliberately. Quality management is also a sport of innovation that helps shape the future. It is exciting to see that SN EN ISO 9001:2015 is always trending in waves in one sector and then another. Thus, in a course like the Quality Leader, it is guaranteed that the group of participants always represents an exciting mix and discussions take in the most diverse perspectives.

Quality management is worth real money
When survival is at stake in times of crisis, quality management is never given top priority. Only once the storm has subsided does it become clear how errors and losses in the entire value chain could have been avoided or mitigated. Lack of a systematic approach, duplications, poor interface management – all this can cost a lot of money. The SNV Academy is currently seeing a renewed focus and emphasis on quality in its course registrations. It is worth taking a step back and starting with the question of what a company really wants to offer its customers. This is, in fact, where the journey starts.

Quality management as the starting point for intensive discussions
«What motivates me about my work at the SNV Academy is that participants make a conscious decision to take a quality course», points out Sandra Schieferli. They all start from the same level of interest. The different levels of knowledge and the mix of people guarantee that constructive discussions take place and plenty of illustrative examples from the real world are provided. Participants are encouraged to continue using their new network after the course. It is not uncommon for WhatsApp groups to emerge in this way, which also intensively exchange information about current problems and possible solutions in everyday life.

Quality management is for everyone
Are you interested in quality management without working through the catalogue of standards as night-time reading in tedious individual study, but rather be taken on an exciting journey? If so, the Qualitätsmanagement Basis foundation course in quality management is ideal for beginners or those who need a refresher. The Quality Leader course (including SNV certificate) is recommended for managers who are caught between management and employees and who focus on specific implementation. «The SNV Academy is unique in Switzerland. No one is as close to the world of standards and can initiate change», says Sandra Schieferli enthusiastically. «I come from a practical background, and SNV is very accessible. A win-win interaction that is incredibly enjoyable.» Such enthusiasm for SN EN ISO 9001:2015 is contagious.

Next courses with Sandra Schieferli (only in German)
Betriebliches Gesundheitsmanagement | 28 to 29 April 2022 | online
Quality Leader/in | 5 to 6 May 2022 | online
Überblick – Arbeitssicherheit und Gesundheitsschutz SN ISO 45001:2018 | 17 June 2022 | Winterthur
Qualitätsmanagement Basis | 25 to 26 August 2022 | Winterthur
Quality Leader/in | 8 to 9 December 2022 | Winterthur

Sandra Schieferli

lic. oec. publ. Sandra Schieferli is the owner of sandschi GmbH, a specialist in occupational safety (MAS Work & Health ETH Zurich/University of Lausanne), an environmental systems manager, a certified ZRM® trainer ISMZ and a certified autogenic training master coach. She teaches about management systems at numerous training institutions. She holds seminars, consultations and workshops on management systems and personal development. In addition, she has many years of management experience in the financial sector.

Lecturer at the SNV Academy and owner of sandschi GmbH

Sandra Schieferli

Lecturer at the SNV Academy and owner of sandschi GmbH

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