Slide 94 of 262
8.5.1 Continual Improvement
The company shall continually improve the effectiveness of the quality management system through the use of.....
8.5.1 implies that your company must plan and manage the processes necessary for the continual improvement of the quality management system. It brings together the continual improvement cycle. Now there are better links between the continual improvement elements throughout the standard and there are also new requirements which help support continual improvement.
The basic structure for continual improvement is supported by elements throughout the ISO 9001:2000 standard. Most of the continual improvement elements were required in the old standard, but some (such as measurement of customer satisfaction) are new. Identifying the requirements that support continual improvement in your quality system is not straight forward, and it can be argued that all elements of your quality system support continual improvement.
8.5.1 serves as the locus for all of the elements that help facilitate continual improvement, and ties them together by requiring you to plan and manage all of these elements.
Potential Audit Questions
1. How does your company use the quality policy, objectives, audit results, analysis of data, corrective and preventive action and management review to facilitate continual improvement?
2. Please explain your most encouraging, or discouraging, experience with ISO 9001 and your quest for continual improvement. Have most of you found that your company has managed continual improvement throughout the life of your quality system, or have you managed to save a lot of improvement for later?