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Documentation/Work Instructions - Uncontrolled - Hung up at workstations



Here at our facility, we are seeking QS9000 certification. There was an issue that came about involving work instructions hung up at workstations (not actual controled work instructions, sort of a "memo" or statement). We have a work instruction defining material handling (i.e. where to place when through, etc). My question is this: There is a work instruction (a controlled doc), but there is a "homemade" statement placed on some paper and attached to the work area. Would our registrar/auditor have a problem with non-controlled statements like these hung up around the shop? Please advise on this situation.

Joe, the hated QA/QC man!


They'll have a problem with it if it 'tells employees how to do something' which relates to 'the quality' of the product. Generally 'personal' notes and such aren't a problem, but be ready for questions such as "...why does the employee need to keep notes? Is training not adequate?"

I would have something specifically written to define the conditions under which an 'uncontrolled' document can be posted.

If they are 'memos' from 'somebody', does your system address these types of documents? Often 'memos' or 'statements' are in response to a problem. Should they be 'Quality Alerts' or something of that nature.

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member

Lassitude is correct. You will have issues. Your registrar will ask you if these "reminders" are used in the day-to-day (to control quality of product or service), in which you would reply yes.

Many times I will find that new associates and sales folks tend to create these little cheat sheets. Registrars know this, so they often look for them. Do a careful sweep of the facility to detect the areas where these may be found.




We had to go so far as to make "notes" and "sticky tabs" illegal except in a rare instance in our system, due to those issues stated. Some people took liberties, and this created confusion for the operators.

I believe the standard requires a form of authorization system for instructions. If anyone can post temporary instructions, imagine what the org chart would look like.

Keep your Operator instructions simple and meaningful. At many of our work stations, a couple of sheets were all that was needed, so our document controller would laminate them. This also helps to keep them clean.

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
you can set up a local control procedure where the facilitator in the area controls them, by date and signature authority, laminated is an awesome idea...if its noted from an industry source, it should indicate that as well.

Andy Bassett

I agree with the last comment, and i think its an essential part of a QMS.

If your QM System is a real one, not a ghost system, it will be changing nearly daily. HoD's can generally see the point of a documented Work Instructions, but they hate the idea and all the bureacracy associated with having to do print-outs, sign them, get them approved by the QM copied and circulated etc.

I beleive quite strongly that if you want to keep the HoD's on board you have to give them a simple tool. For this reason i always base the Work Instructions around departments ie i allow Purchase Dept to have WI's just for themselves. I then base everything in a Intranet and arrange that if anybody prints one out they are automatically printed with the words 'Uncontrolled Copy' (Possible in Word).

I then allow one person from each dept to have change rights so that they can update their own WI's (usually the HoD'S secretary).
As you can imagine this can be done directly during the Dept weekly meeting for example if a PC is close by connected to the network. No paperwork at all.

This of course does not solve the problem where personnel do not have access to PC's, and it also has other disadvantages, but the biggest single advantage is that it helps the system to 'live'.

Sadly to satisfy auditors we have to arrange that the QM printsout all changed WI's and checks that any changes conform to the ISO 9000 Standard

Lastly in a recent company we have created a mask called 'Tips and Hints' which is for items that do not influence the quality of the product. ie How to claim expenses?, What to do if you have an accident in a company car?, how to use the phone system etc etc. And we state in the handbook that these are uncontrolled documents (To avoid problemns if they are hung on walls etc).

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member

I hear you loud and clear on the "sticky pad" issue. Tough to clear a system of these once folks find it so convenient to scratch and stick friendly little reminders.


I have done similarly with giving limited authority to department managers in the control of content and distribution of these reminders(the initial and date thing). But sadly, this is abused or not followed through on, so it no longer exists as an option.

I also received a passing comment from a Registrar who asked if these notes and memos exist somewhere on a Master List of Documentation.

Is there a perfect solution to the problem? Not that I know of. But some solutions are better than others, so I opt to deter against memos, post-its, and cheat sheets and work towards better written documentation. Guess what? It still ain't perfect!




Captain Nice
Staff member
I have not had a problem with well defined local control of 'certain types' of documents. I do agree where the folks are not disciplined it could lead to serious problems.


Thanks you guys. I'm having to fight the battle of Normady to get our quality system running smoothly (if you know what I mean!). I somewhat made the same judgements on this matter, but a Shift Forman and I didn't see eye to eye on this subject. After explaining things over and over to him, he finally "got it"! Thanks for all of your help!

Joe W. Guy,
QS9000 Administrator



I am looking for standard plastic injection setup sheet templates. I am trying to help our Molding Manager develop a standard setup sheet for his production tooling. ANy ideas where I could find these ?

Thanks !
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