ISO 8402 defines quality as “the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs” Basically, “quality is satisfying customers need both present and future” (Charantimath, 2006).
Quality captures a product’s fitness for use, ability to distinguish feature or grade of the product in appearance, performance among others, degree to which a specific product is preferred over competing products of equivalent grade, degree of general excellence and finally it is concerned with how well a product conforms to design and other specifications (Charantimath, 2006).
For a company’s product or service to be competitive, then all these attributes have to be preserved and enhanced from time to time. Total quality management is the process which managers use to continuously identify and administer the activities needed to achieve the quality objectives of an organization with an aim of offering high value products and services.
Reasons why Abu Dhabi University implemented ISO system
ADU quality policy states that “it is committed to providing quality degree programs to its students. Focusing on the needs of students, it engages in a process of continuous improvement grounded in evidence-based assessment of students leaning and satisfaction with their Abu Dhabi University experience” (Abu Dhabi University, 2011).
ISO system was adapted to aid in executing this policy. An interview with Mr. Stephen Deunch’a (Quality Officer Assurance) revealed that implementation of ISO facilitated establishing processes and procedures in all department of the University. Secondly, it improved effectiveness of the processes and quality services. Finally, it introduced commitment to continuous improvements of quality.
Timeline of the whole project
The process of acquiring ISO certification is lengthy and requires a lot of company’s time and resources. There are five major steps for obtaining ISO certification. ADU began the process in December 2008 and completed in January 2010. The process involved documentation of procedures, documentation of quality manual and policies, revision and approval, Internal Auditing and semiannual management reviews.
Impact of acquiring ISO certification
Standards are important to stakeholders of an organization as they ensure positive characteristics such as quality, durability, efficiency, safety and environment friendliness are reinforced. For instances, all the employees of ADU have a universal understanding of procedures of various processes. Also, the University will direct resources in processes which are internationally standardized hence minimizing wastage. ISO also benefits the community at large because there interests are catered for and so it builds their confidence in the products.
ADU’s Vision, Mission and Values
ADU’s Vision 2013:
“Abu Dhabi University is recognized as a national University of choice for quality education, applied research that drives regional economic development, and enjoy international accreditation” (Abu Dhabi University, 2011)
“The Mission of ADU is to offer highly rewarded career oriented undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs aligned with the needs of UAE and the region through excellence in teaching, student learning, faculty scholarships and engagmnet in community development” (Abu Dhabi University, 2011)
ADU’s Culture and Shared Values
“ADU’s community is student-centered, commited to faculty/staff development and prides itself in collegiality, inclusiveness while respectful of Arab culture, integrity, equity, innovation, agility and service above self” (Abu Dhabi University, 2011)
Office responsible for implementing ISO
Execution of ISO standards is the responsibility of every employee. However, the Executive Director of Quality Institutional Research and strategy Departement has the primary responsibility of implementing ISO 9001:2008. Assurance Unit has been asigned the responsibility of implementation of ISO system.
The Provost is responsible for achieving and maintaining internationa institutional accredation while the Dean of each college has the primary responsibility for achieving and mainintg individual program international accreditations for all programs in their college where such accreditations exist (Abu Dhabi University, 2011).
Currently, the Univeristy has implemented Balances Scorecards to be used for performance assessment of all managers. The University should extend measuring for all core processes, it should consider self measurement because scorecards is a perfomance measurement system that only track programs which lead to achieving strategis plan. It does not assess an individuals contributions towards achiving the strategic goals.
Abu Dhabi University. (2011, November 30). Vision and Beyond. Retrieved from http://www.adu.ac.ae/en/article/about-adu-vision-and-beyond.html
Charantimath P. (2006). Introduction to total quality management: Total Quality Management, (3), 1-3.