Help! Are Training Docs part of the QS?


Shannon - 2007

Hi all,
I thought I knew this, but now our Home Office folks are changing things.:mad:
During a recent assessment, it was determined that our QS was too complex. We have approx 400 total docs in our QS (procedures, work instructions, forms). Much of these are detailed work insructions that we use to train associates with.
Here is what they want to do.
Review all docs to determine if they directly satisfy a requirement. If they do, keep in the QS. If not, they will become "training docs" that sit outside the QS, meaning that they will not reside on our Master Control Document nor will they be controlled using our QS Document Control methods. An example of a work instruction that doesn't directly meet a requirement would one that explains how to properly operate a palletizer.
This has raised several questions in my mind.
Is this coool? Can we really do this? Has any other Company taken a similar approach?
Most importantly, I'm concerned about the control of these docs. If we leave it up to the individual department managers to ensure that thier training docs are current, we may end up back to where we started from. Maybe I'm a control freak or paranoid, but this doesn't feel right.
The other advantage, they say, is that if the training docs are not part of the QS, they are not subject to being audited. Is this true?

Thoughts anyone?
Remember, if I push back, I better have a suggestion to help reduce the complexity of our QS.:lick:

David Mullins

Yes, you can make these non-auditable "guidance" documents.
We'd love to control them, but, the economic returns just don't materialise to warrant all the extra time and effort.

You can call the "GUIDES".
And still kind of control them via dates, numbers, whatever - a win/win?

Good luck - according to our production planning manager luck is a standard requirement for our plant to operate at a reasonable and consistent level!?!?!?! What the......?
Lean system

Hullo Shannon,

I can certainly sympathize with the wish for a lean system. I agree with Jim that the prudent course of action would be to find out what you need in your system.

Otherwise there is an obvious risk that you throw the baby out with the bathing water....

David Mullins said:


Good luck - according to our production planning manager luck is a standard requirement for our plant to operate at a reasonable and consistent level!?!?!?! What the......?

Wow David,

I'll be interested in hearing about what happens when his luck runs out?;)


Randy Stewart

What's Needed

Agreed, you must look at how deep the instructions really need to be. The standard never states that you should have instructions so that the receptionist could run the NC Mill in a pinch!
You put employees in positions that they are skilled and qualified to perform certain tasks, therefore the training has already been done. In that sense the instructions are there for reminders. What we have done is taken our process flows and hyperlinked the "Training Instructions" to a box in the flow. If a new person is hired they have all the information at a click to perform the op. When the auditor is here they view the process flow, if any questions are brought up all the individual has to do is click and there are the blank form, training (work) instructions, etc.
We have found this to be especially helpful in Inspection with the different requirements for both manual and CMM.
One other benefit is that the department is then responsible for the document control and the system person controls the process flow. It took awhile to get the buy in, but now they have fully accepted it. It gives the department managers more flexibility in changing training or work instructions based on customer requirements (VTTO's, PIST, etc) and the skill level of their personnel.


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Re: Re: Help! Are Training Docs part of the QS?

Jim Wade said:

So many organizations have 'procedures' that aren't in daily use by people (which means they aren't procedures at all!) rgds Jim


Aren't the things that are not used every day more important to document than the ones that are used every day? It's those things that only get used once a month that have people scrambling trying to find notes and crib sheets, and yes they are procedures. Just because you don't use them every day doesn't mean that they are not important to the operations/quality system.

Am I missing something here? I tell my people not to worry about the things they can do blindfolded. Those are learned by everyone who might possibly have to do the job, they are easy, intuitive and fairly self explanatory. On the other hand, if you have to dig into the bottom drawer of your desk to figure out what you are supposed to do, nobody else is going to know how to do it if you are gone for some unforseen reason.

Please tell me your reasoning for saying that something that is not done every day is not a procedure? (by procedure, I am looking at it from the standpoint of the actions themselves, not just the documentation, is that where we are going in separate directions?)


Sounds like an excellent idea. We done the same thing with our documents. We now allow each department manager/supervisor to control their own documents/work instructions to a common procedure. It greatly improved our level of control.


Jim, I like your summary.

"Think 'information' and 'communication' - not 'documentation'!"

That need sto be posted in each managers office.

Shannon - 2007

Thanks all for the feedback.
It has been very helpful.
My questions regarding if these training docs are "auditable" and that other Companies have taken this approach successfully, have been answered. That makes me feel better about the approach.


Steel Maiden has raised some very good questions that also concern me. It seems that the less routine a "procedure" is, all the more reason to document it. If we all agree that a document is needed, then the only answer left this doc a QS procedure or is it a training document, even though it gets used well after training was conducted.

Keep it coming, it's all good!


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Shannon said:

even though it gets used well after training was conducted.

Keep it coming, it's all good!

Hi Shannon!

I could say that you've answered your own question, but each of us needs to define what it is we want OUR OWN quality system to be. Now, I don't want to turn this into a fray folks, so bear with me.

If, and it is a big if, the goal of your system is compliance to a standard and its accompanying certification then stop at the compliance issue. If, on the other hand you are an idealist and think that a quality system should provide value, both monetary and culturally, then you need to think beyond the standard. Sometimes it is a battle, especially when you work with others that know the standard. You'll get the "that is not a requirement" and they will be right. Myself, I'd make it a procedure if it is referred to in performing the job, even if it is not one of the "6" required procedures.

The beauty of ISO 900X is that you can make as much or as little of it as you choose. Personally, I couldn't give a rat's posterior if we ever got certified, what I care about is that we provide product that meets the customers' expectations, both internal and external, so we can continue to grow. Quality is not only about the product, but our safety, our environmental stewardship, our relationships with co-workers and also family. i.e. quality is a way of life, not some certificate on the wall.
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