How to have employees buy-in of quality procedures. Best practices?


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I work as a QM in a large organization HQ (300+ people) and we are still struggling to have people complying to QMS procedures.
Our flow is pretty standard.
We help other functions write the key procedures (mostly interfunctional processes), we publish them in a intranet folder and we audit with scarce regularity.
This is not driving very good result. After some years everything still sounds pretty much as 'quality business'.

I'm sure there are people here that had the same struggles but managed to succeeding.

What is your best practical advice for a real breakthrough?
Any idea is appreciated.
Thank you a lot.


Super Moderator
If this is a real problem, causing actual harm, investigate and if necessary discipline the offenders. If this is something you're blowing out of proportion, rethink what you want and what you're doing.


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My opinion is that if they don't take responsibility for it, they will never truly follow it. The new versions of the standard put so much emphasis on the process owner actually owning the process that I am using that advantage to include the procedures. We no longer update SOPs from my group (except for processes we own). We write an NC for procedure/actual process mismatch and assign it appropriately. They have to come through us for compliance approval and we give advice but we won't do their work. Last year, after announcing this "new style" to management, the Doc Control group sent all SOPs out for re-approval. This gave people a chance to review them and request updates if necessary before they were audited. Of course, writing a new SOP isn't the easiest thing so our position on that is, we will write it out but first we request a "process flow" flow chart from the owner. It's an uphill battle that has not been perfected yet but we are making headway.
Ah, but taking responsibility and taking ownership are 2 totally different things! Who wrote the procedures/work instructions? Partly it's management and supervisions' responsibility for ensuring people understand the need to comply, but in the creation of such documents is when you need buy-in. I've experienced "honking big binders" of instructions written by engineers with degrees in Engineering - for use by high-school (if we were lucky) grads. No matter what you expect, those people aren't going to "follow" the documents...


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Agreed! The ownership is a work in-process. Much easier to make the procedure match the process and tweak it along with behavior for compliance IMO. I too have played a part in the big honking binder game and 5 page work instructions for something that takes an operator 5 minutes to do! A step deeper than what I said into work instruction territory.......we are simplifying everything by including the supervisors and operators. We are using the LPA process (more lean than Chrysler) and the idea boards to get the operators to suggest re-writes. Most of our operation instructions are down to a page or less now. Basically, I am working a complete re-boot of the management system. I reiterate, it's not perfect or even pretty sometimes and is requiring heavy resources but we are already seeing a payback.

Sidney Vianna

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Staff member
In my experience, this "lack of discipline" is the clear result of failure to position the quality function in the organization. Most operators think: " boss is the production manager; why should I listen to this quality guy?..."

I have been advocating it here, for the last 15 years and, finally, the ISO TC176 embraced my position when they included the requirement in the latest version of ISO 9001 (actually it is in the HLS common text) that the quality system requirements have to be embedded in the organization's business processes (ISO 9001:2015 5.1.1.c).

So, in answer to the OP, you fix this by getting rid of QMS procedures and embedding the requirements into the business process documentation, whatever shape or form that is.

Good luck.
So, in answer to the OP, you fix this by getting rid of QMS procedures and embedding the requirements into the business process documentation, whatever shape or form there is
Can we also throw in there, these awful document numbering schemes recently discussed, which go to reinforce some kind of mystique - and therefore scare people off (if they don't "get" the ju-ju of numbering?)

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