QMS Alignment on Capital Projects Through ISO 9001 Standard
Houman Payami, Quality Manager, Fluor, Diamond Bar, CA USA
Keywords: ISO 9001, Capital Projects, Alignment, QMS, Project Execution
Trillions of dollars are spent annually on capital and infrastructure projects. Due to the heavy investment on these projects identifying and preventing the potential problems that could derail the project is of utmost importance. A contributing factor into project challenges is the lack of alignment between the two most important project participants: the owner and contractor. The misalignment between the contractor and owner is somewhat natural. The capital projects involve relatively large organizations whose interests are not aligned. Punitive actions towards contractors for their failures has fostered a culture away from true partnership. Opposing perspectives become evidenced by poor collaboration.
Even with all the good intentions on all sides of the contract if alignment processes are not systematically structured into each party’s involvement undesirable results will ensue. Specifically the project quality management system (QMS) has high potential for misalignment. Each entity brings their own QMS requirements to the project which may not talk to those of the other parties. This could lessen the prospects for valuable synergies. ISO 9001 requirements can serve as a basis for striking QMS alignment on the project. ISO 9001 standard is applicable to any industry and organization and can effectively align the QMS of companies with varying sizes cultures and organizational structures. Using this internationally recognized standard as a common platform creates QMS uniformity on the project and bolster the collective intention to align. Every single clause in ISO9001:2015 standard deserves attention for creating intercompany alignment. The “Context of the organization” facilitates the agreement on the overall project QMS scope. The “Leadership” requirements bring top management on all sides together and ensure the project QMS is led by the competent management team capable of establishing implementing maintaining and improving the suitable management system.
The “Planning” clause is highly relevant to various circumstances encountered on capital projects and can align parties on risk quality objectives and change management. The “Support” section focuses on the necessary elements of the projects that may be fallen by the wayside by one or more project participants because such activities are not part of project mainstream processes. The “Operation” clause addresses the core of project execution issues in which the interfaces between the owner and contractor impact the project outcomes greatly. Lastly “Performance Evaluation” and “Improvement” requirements are critical items to agree on to keep the project on track and make continual improvement a joint objective. Focusing on alignment areas that will be elaborated in this presentation will improve collaboration to create a cohesive project QMS throughout project execution. Much of alignment efforts are finding the common grounds agreeable by both parties. ISO9001 standard provides such common grounds.