I will start to post a serie of post about Quality Management Systems and ISO 9001 as this is something a bit particular in Asia since many suppliers claim to be ISO 9001 certified but it may happen that certification doesn't refect their real capability to implement this ISO 9001 standard on their organizatin.
I will start to talk about the 8 quality management principles, which is the base of all quality management system being implmented.
Understanding the 8 Principles of quality management
The 8 principles are a set of guidelines that can be summarized as follow:
1./ Customer Focus
The organization depend on their customers and therefore should understand current and future customer needs, should meet customer requirements and strive to exceed customer expectations
I think the description is quite clear here: since companies need customers to live (as customer feed the company with income) then the company should be focused on the customer (the ressource of survival).
In China, you will find this customer focus probably ery strong at the moment before placing orders, however you may find the feeling of customer focus weaker when quality issue rise after the goods have been shipped. This is not true with all companies and factories in China, but this is something that many buyers feel when they manufacture products in China
Leaders establish unity of purpose and direction of the organization. They should create and maintain the internal environment in which people can become fully involved in achieving the organization's objectives.
Here it is indicated that leaders (= top managers) are the ones to give the direction where to go such as a general commands an army (the employee of the company) and to establish a mindset of unity to create a feeling of belonging to an organization (fraternity feeling).
This is leaders duty to make the environment (company) being enjoyable for the employee so they can involve themselves fully to the tasks.
In Chinese factories, the way the factories usually spread this unity mindset is by having common activities, making that all workers are wearing same clothes (making them belonging to a group), having the boss appearing like god etc...
3./Involvement of People
People at all levels are the essence of an organization and their full involvement enables their abilities to be used for the organization benefit
Here it is clearly suggested that the company is made of people from the top manager to the lowest level of employee and that whatever their position they all bring somethings benefical to the organization they belong to.
In China, I have always been impressed by the involvment that a worker or a group of worker are willing to help other when there is a production issue. Quite often in the past, I was astonished that if some quality issue rose, and that a reworking was needed, the workers were capable to mobilize themselves leaving all the other tasks they were on, straight away and working all together very efficiently to solve issue quickly.
Actually, when i think about quality issue in manufacuturing environment, I found out that it mostly come from manager and top manager who don't frame properly their ressources or don't lead efficiently nough.
4./ Process Approach
A desired result is achieved more efficiently when activities and related resources are managed as a process.
Here it means that efficiency (= performance ratio) related to the company is better if we consider people and their tasks as a process.
I quite often mention that whatever the activity you do: design, engineering, manufacturing, you have more chance to success and achieve if you consider your activity as a process because then you have a better visualization of the situation (input, output, ressource, control) and it is usually easier to identify issue, measure, and control what is done.
In China, you will find out that many manufacturers are not defining and formalizing enough their activity as process. In result, their ressources are not clear about what they have to do, where they are and what are the consequences of their actions.
5./ System Approach to Management
Identifying, understanding and managing interrelated processes as a system contributes to the organization's effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its objectives
Here, related to 4./ it means that controling a network of process being interconnected from each other is equal to creating a system that can be under management and control, hence it helps to improve and maintain the organization.
On mass production in China this is particularly true as you have several process involved in manufacturing a product. I particularly envision a manufacturing process as a succession of brick having itself its own activity with brick being interconnected to each other. This also working for electronic product design, electronic engineering, and product development in China.
6./ Continual Improvement
Continual improvement of the organization's overall performance should be a permanent objective of the organization.
Here, it means the company should have as objective to constantly improve itself over the time to become better and better.
7./ Factual Approach to Decision-making
Effective decisions are based on the analysis of data and information
In sample way, this principles indicate that all decision taken should be made using true factual fact (based on evidence)
8./ Mutually Beneficial Supplier Relationships
An organization and its suppliers are independent and a mutually beneficial relationship enhances the ability of both to create value
Simply speaking, it talks about fairness in business relationship to create value to customer.