ISO Management Systems and the Mining Industry

CIM Montreal 2003
Abstract Continual improvement is the key to success in today’s competitive global arena. You require tools that promote dynamic quality management, deliver cost savings to your bottom line and provide the foundation for process improvement. ISO management systems are those tools.

This paper is in two parts: 1. The global relevance of ISO to the mining industry, focusing on case studies and return on investment. 2. ISO management systems as the foundation for effective implementation of TQM and Six Sigma initiatives.

Why have over 300,000 companies worldwide, including major and mid-sized mining, mineral exploration companies and their equipment and service suppliers, implemented ISO 9001:2000 management systems?

Management systems are not restricted to quality and business alone. Mining industry companies that have implemented ISO 9001:2000 have also implemented or are implementing environmental (ISO 14001) and health safety (OHSAS 18001) management systems as well. These systems go beyond best practice, they are tools for continual improvement, provide further controls for prevention and risk reduction and a positive image to stakeholders and the public.

ISO management systems are clearly defined, internationally accepted, third party audited and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of process management. Companies that have implemented ISO management systems report that the ongoing assessment of their practices, procedures and processes provide them with increased efficiencies, reductions in lost man-days and losses due to waste and rework and measurable returns on their investment.

Some companies are moving beyond ISO undertaking TQM and Six Sigma initiatives in order to further strengthen their business and competitive advantage. The common pitfall is to run before you can walk. Before embarking on advanced process improvement initiatives, you need to have a disciplined and structured management system.

TQM emphasizes management support, strategic quality planning, process management and continual improvement. Discipline and control are the foundation for process improvement. ISO 9001:2000 provides this foundation and focuses on these areas with particular emphasis on process management. ISO 9001:2000 is the tool that shifts an organization's culture to allow successful implementation of TQM and Six Sigma.

Implementation of ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001, individually or as integrated management systems, is helping the mining industry build upon its successes, enhance its credibility and enables its member companies to improve and compete globally.
Keywords: Six Sigma, TQM, Mining, ISO, Management systems, Global, continual improvement
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