How to conduct SWOT analysis as per ISO 9001:2015?
Quality management is a gradational process that can never be mastered in a single shot. It requires continual surveillance and modifications for due maintenance. There are innumerable strategies discussed in detail under the ISO 9001:2015 certification for enhancement of the Quality management system. One of them is the SWOT analysis.
#1. What is a SWOT analysis?
SWOT is an acronym for Strengths & Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats. SWOT analysis is a very basic technique that can be exercised in any type of situations or activities, in almost all types of operations. It is an apt method for strategic planning. As a QMS enhancement activity, SWOT analysis is involves brainstorming of the processes by recording strengths, weaknesses, and the resultant opportunities and threats in a process, product, or organization.
#2. How is the SWOT analysis conducted?
The SWOT analysis is a stepwise approach that involves detailed stages.
- It takes into consideration internal resources & capabilities. These are referred to as strengths and weaknesses. It helps in determining the positive aspects of a process and the shortcomings, the combination of which has resulted in a loophole.
- Besides, the external aspects are determined. These are referred to as opportunities and threats. These give a clear picture of the potential threats or risks.
Given below is a template for SWOT analysis:
ISO 9001 QMS Issues
Years of Experience
Strong Customer Relationships
Lack of customer variety
Lack of knowledge of new equipment
New business development
High demand for a product
Competition Change of industry regulations
Strength of dollar
Access to capital Expiring Patents
#3. Why is the SWOT analysis conducted?
The results of the SWOT analysis are thoroughly and formally reviewed. The main aim of the entire process of SWOT analysis is converting the findings of the SWOT analysis into meaningful action plans to address the potential threats or risks. This is ensured by the framing of the following questions in a group discussion:
- How to maximize the usage of our strengths?
- How to combat the threats determined?
- What to overcome the weaknesses identified?
- How to gain benefits from the opportunities?
These questions cater to the central objectives of SWOT analysis.
#4. How is SWOT analysis implemented into ISO certification 9001?
The ISO 9001:2015 certification lays due stress on the requirement to conduct a SWOT analysis. The significance of SWOT analysis is discussed under clause 4.1 of ISO 9001:2015. The 4 aspects of SWOT analysis are considered in ISO certification 9001 with respect to client satisfaction.
#5. How are “Strengths” observed in ISO 9001 QMS?
As per the ISO 9001 directives, the real strength of an organization lies in the perception of the business environment and the needs and expectations of the stakeholders. Using their organizational knowledge to a careful analysis of the strengths will gradually assist the organization to grab opportunities for improvements.
#6. How are “Weaknesses” determined in ISO 9001 QMS?
The ISO 9001:2015 standard requirements highlight the need for a fair evaluation or appraisal of the QMS to determine where the organization stands viz-a-viz the desired position. This approach is also referred to as the ‘gap analysis’.
The aim is to address those gaps which act as key factors behind the challenges of an organization.
#7. How to ascertain the “opportunities” in ISO 9001 QMS?
- As per the ISO 9001:2015, the opportunity of an organization’s top management lies in being fully involved in the QMS by formulating the quality objectives vis-a-vis the quality policy.
- Evidently, the related ISO standards also discuss the opportunity to spread awareness of the quality policy of the organization and quality objectives at all managerial levels.
- Furthermore, the ISO certification 9001 emphasizes to look out opportunities for proactive enhancement instead of a reactive enhancement. This means to work out on preventive actions rather than taking actions only when the things go wrong.
#8. What are “Threats” under ISO certification 9001?
Under ISO 9001:2015, Risk or ‘threat’ is elaborated as “the effect of uncertainty”. This can be favourable as well as detrimental. Hence, the organization must:
- Recognize its potential business risks
- Ascertain the consequences of those risks
- Engage in risk management activities
- Monitor the scenario for any adversity.
The process of risk management as explained above is common to various ISO standards such as ISO 14001, ISO 45001, ISO 22000 etc.
Exercising the SWOT analysis as discussed above can really enhance the quality management system as per ISO 9001 directives.
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