Downsizing the number of documented procedures


Anton Ovsianko

At the initial stage we have developed a lot of documented procedure for a company. Now we think that all are getting more experienced with the Quality System. So, there is no point having so many procedures, which make too complicated to manage the documentation.

We decided to decrease the number of documented procedures within the company’s Quality System.

Are there any suggestions on how we should perform it?
How should we document this process? :confused:


Jim Biz


There are probably a number of more simplistic ways to accomplish "removal"

- but "what we do" is require an internal audit on the documentation in question - record the findings - list the reason for the removal of the procedure / work Instruction / form etc. as a result of the audit findings correction.

The best part of doing this is that we have evidence that everyone involved has signed off and is aware of the removal.


Quite Involved in Discussions
If the document adds no value-get rid of it. Excess documentation is waste and overhead. One good area is forms, much info is repeated. Combine forms and if possible have a form that moves along with the product. Use a team approch,involve the users of the documents being compressed or deleted. K.I.S.S.



An alternative to getting rid of procedures is to simplify the ones you have. If they are several pages reduce them to 1 or 2 pages. If they are already short, consider replacing them with a flowchart. I am a strong supporter of eliminating unnecessary documentation, but I always say that you must be able to show adequate training in the absence of documented procedures. There needs to be consistency in processes. When you're describing to an auditor how you are suppose to do something, he/she may ask, "how do you know?" It may not be enough to say that "we have experience, or that's the way we've always done it." The auditor may want to see evidence that everyone is following the same procedure or has been trained in the same method.

If you find that some of your procedures really are of no value, then I like the approach stated by Jim Biz. :)

Best Regards,
Hank Fowler

E Wall

Just Me!
Trusted Information Resource
Streamline Documentation

You didnt' mention here if you were in a manufacturing environment or corporate or serviceing...but if you apply relational thinking to adapt what I provide this should be clear.

I work in a manufacting plant. The approach I'm trying to get agreement on in-house is:
(After you have identified your processes and indicate what records must be maintained based on your goals/objectives/measureables)

1. Create Point of Use references (SOPs) as needed for individual process components (Detailed reference information not left up to memory).
2. Create a Process Instruction that relates what the process consists of, referring to any SOPs developed (do not replicate detailed information) and all forms used to record any necessary data.
3. Develop Job Cards that identify what processes an operator is responsible for - referencing the Process Instruction as the first level training documents (which lead to the SOPs & forms).

This streamlines documentation. There will still need to be (for us) higher level documents i.e., material and product specifications (and test methods if these have been standardized throughout your organization at all locations).
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