The process approach is one of the most important elements when building a successful quality management system. The QMS consists of interrelated processes. Understanding how results are produced by this system enables an organization to optimize the system and its performance.

The primary focus of quality management is to meet customer requirements and to strive to exceed customer expectations. Meeting or exceeded customer expectations will be impossible without understanding their needs. Therefore customer values must be understood.

ISO 9000 defines the 7 Quality Management Principles. These are fundamental to a successful quality management system (QMS). Quality Management Principle 4 is Process approach, let’s take a look at what that means.


Consistent and predictable results are achieved more effectively and efficiently when activities are understood and managed as interrelated processes that function as a coherent system.

Key benefits of the process approach

Some potential key benefits are:

  • enhanced ability to focus effort on key processes and opportunities for improvement;
  • consistent and predictable outcomes through a system of aligned processes;
  • optimized performance through effective process management, efficient use of resources and reduced cross-functional barriers;
  • enabling the organization to provide confidence to interested parties related to its consistency, effectiveness and efficiency.

What do we mean by the process approach?

Key to this is to determine your processes and understand how they react to achieve the intended results.

Organisations can do this by taking the following actions:

  • define objectives of the system and processes necessary to achieve them;
  • establish authority, responsibility and accountability for managing processes;
  • understand the organization’s capabilities and determine resource constraints prior to action;
  • determine process interdependencies and analyse the effect of modifications to individual processes on the system as a whole;
  • manage processes and their interrelations as a system to achieve the organization’s quality objectives effectively and efficiently;
  • ensure the necessary information is available to operate and improve the processes and to monitor,

Note: a process has inputs, outputs resources, process owner, process methods and results

Next look at a system of process and their interactions set up to meet intended results and most importantly achieving or exceeding customer expectations

Then consider a single process:

The key points here are PDCA of the process approach:

  • Plan – the process
  • Do – carry out the process
  • Check – monitor and measure
  • Act – improvement the process
  • Interact with other process – inputs/outputs

If you want to know more about the subject we cover these topics in our courses, namely: