QA-Z Consulting Specialists on quality management systems:
More and more businesses in the manufacturing, industrial, commercial and service sectors are finding the need to gain certification in the Quality Standard ISO 9001:2000. This is largely due to the range of contracts available for tender with government departments and large organisations.
Some organisations have chosen to develop and implement an in-house quality management system either at the startup of the business or at the time of expanding into a new location.
This decision is made often because standardising effective systems at the point of entry can smoothly lead to certification further down the track as the business grows.
In order to achieve certification, a quality management system needs to be developed, implemented and maintained. The ISO 9001 documentation requirements state the system must contain a quality manual, documented procedures, planning documents, operational processes, management control processes, quality policy and quality objectives.
The ISO 9001 Quality Standard provides a generic outline of criteria to which the organisation must comply to get ISO 9001 Certification. Therefore, the writer of the organisation’s quality management system must learn how to specifically translate and apply each part of the standard to the organisation. This is largely to avoid the re-invention of existing management operations.
Whatever is written into the quality manual is what the organisation is required to comply with if proceeding to quality certification.
The documentation must reflect specific day to day functions and operations within the organisation. Therefore, it is important to be weary of industry specific generic quality manuals which some organisations provide to their management with the expectation of compliance.
Often in these cases, the procedures do not reflect the difference in operations between branches or locations. This may be due to the difference in management processes, resources, number of workers, and organisational culture or they may be outdated and need revising.
It is important to develop a quality management system which is relevant and user-friendly to staff on all levels, one that is guaranteed to be used either as an operating manual or for reference and can be utilised for the purpose of inducting new staff or for standardising the operations within one specific locality.
No one is likely to open a manual the size of the Sydney telephone book. If the organisation is to expect 100% compliance with the quality standard then nothing other than a relevant user-friendly quality manual which is specific to site, current operations and the organisation is acceptable.
The writer must be careful not to introduce many new systems and structures which may inadvertently cause management and administration headaches.
Firstly, assess the existing methods being used throughout the organisation and check whether the standard is being complied with by functioning in this manner. If there is room for improvement, this can be discussed with management personnel. Any changes to be made can be written into the quality manual possibly within a procedure.
Some QA organisations are able to assist appointed quality managers with training needs and introductions to ISO 9001. This is a good way to start writing a own one.