We are advancing to a corporate structure in our 4 plants. We have a paperless system (Master Control) to manage our documents through a terminal server from our corporate office. In moving to this corporate structure, I have some questions as to how to manage the documents at each individual location. Each of our facilities has a unique customer base, creating the need for plant specific documents. There are, however, documents that some in our organization think we should share. These documents will contain information specific to one of the locations, but have nothing to do with the other 4. In your opinion, how would an auditor view all these documents that have information on them that have nothing to do with that particular facility? If we have a lot of spaces marked "N/A" on a document, will an auditor consider these documents "cluttered" with unnecessary information? Also, in most corporations, are all the existing plant locations listed in the letter head of all these documents, or just the address for that plant specific location? We are QS 9000 registered and have been for a number of years, but we are new at this corporate structure venture. Your comments will be appreciated!
I can't go into multi-facility registration issues but just from common documentation issues:
Is your Corporate policy the same?
Are your procedures the same?
Are your forms the same?
I can only assume that the main difference would be on the work instruction level and possibly record retention.
You are a step ahead if you are using a computerized system.
Could you make the prefix/suffix of a document number in line with the different facilities but traceable back to a formal corporate policy or procedure?
Would applicable employees have adequate access to the documents required to carry out their functions?
My thinking would be that it revolves around how you structure you Level II Procedure and the ability to show a consistent system of compliance.
It's been my experience that if you show an auditor that you are using currently approved documents and that they are reviewed, approved, integrated, and destroyed as applicable they will leave you alone.
I have also been in the situation where an approved document has not been implemented in a timely manner and the auditor finds they do not match a "master list". They/I can be real bloodhounds!
I think I just used up my allotment of words for February.
I believe it could add confusion to "share"
procedures within a common QMS that are not applicable to several of the other plants. If the purpose of sharing is to identify best practices at other plants, it would better be done outside the formal QMS. If you really want to have a common QMS, then you need to have an easy way for everyone to know what procedures are applicable to them. You could do this with a matrix, a separate Master list for each plant, or (as I have used before) with a Web based listing with links to the applicable procedures for each plant.
Hope this helps.
I can't see a good reason for sharing a document with 4 plants if only 1 plant is going to use it. I think it adds confusion and increases the chance of mistakes especially for newer employees. I also think some auditors would have problems with it.
But ,if you really want to do it there are ways to do it. Have a matrix that identifies
applicability for each plant, have a smart server that provides the applicable documents to each plant, or (an approach I have used) each plant has a web listing of their applicable documents and links to pull them up from the common storage area.
Hope this helps.