ISO 9000 Where to Start

Big Jim

Admin
Awareness of the procedures and work instructions that relate to their position/department is a no brainer. But why do they need to be aware of the standards requirements that are behind the procedure or work instruction. To require knowledge of requirements that are inapplicable to them seems to be a waste of time, energy, and finances. If they are interested in it, then by all means let me them pour over the standard.

You are assuming much more than I said. Much more.

However, more simply put, the higher the level of awareness of the requirements of the standard in an organization the easier it is for them to comply with it. It is easier to comply when you understand why and you would be less likely to drift away from it.
 

Paul Simpson

Trusted Information Resource
I would reply on this but it might be taken personally and that is not how it's meant. Clause 7.3 exists in ISO 9001 as it is necessary for organisations to make all individuals aware of how their role is important in the QMS
  • How they can help to ensure customers get the products and services they want
  • How, if they don't follow the system, this could result in nonconformities of output, product or service
The 7.3 requirements are for the organisation to make people aware of the two bullets above and the organisation's policy and objectives.

No mention of the standard itself. In my experience, the best way of communicating with a workforce is to keep well away from ISO 9001 text.

The text is aimed at more mature (but not necessarily older) users of standards.
 

Big Jim

Admin
I would reply on this but it might be taken personally and that is not how it's meant. Clause 7.3 exists in ISO 9001 as it is necessary for organisations to make all individuals aware of how their role is important in the QMS
  • How they can help to ensure customers get the products and services they want
  • How, if they don't follow the system, this could result in nonconformities of output, product or service
The 7.3 requirements are for the organisation to make people aware of the two bullets above and the organisation's policy and objectives.

No mention of the standard itself. In my experience, the best way of communicating with a workforce is to keep well away from ISO 9001 text.

The text is aimed at more mature (but not necessarily older) users of standards.

First of all, I cited 7.3 as an example that all people in the organization need to have knowledge of at least some of the standard.

You have taken a very elitist attitude about the standard. Only the elite should know how it works? Don't even attempt to write it so that a layman could understand? I'll say it again Paul, you need to climb down from your ivory tower, down to where the rubber meets the road. Where it is to be applied and used. Intentionally making it hard to understand is counterproductive and serves no legitimate purpose.
 

Cari Spears

Super Moderator
Leader
Super Moderator
Well then, I guess I'm also taking a very elitist attitude about the standard. :rolleyes: The majority of our organization can understand "*how they can help to ensure customers get the products and services they want, and *how, if they don't follow the system, this could result in nonconformities of output, product or service" without knowing a single thing about ISO9001.
 

Big Jim

Admin
Well then, I guess I'm also taking a very elitist attitude about the standard. :rolleyes: The majority of our organization can understand "*how they can help to ensure customers get the products and services they want, and *how, if they don't follow the system, this could result in nonconformities of output, product or service" without knowing a single thing about ISO9001.

You just listed two.
 

RoxaneB

Change Agent and Data Storyteller
Super Moderator
In my mind, I'm picturing a lovely Venn diagram - one one side is the word "semantics" and the other side is "arguing in circles." and in the middle is where this thread has landed.

The majority (please note that I did not say 'all') of us here will likely agree that staff, regardless of their position or role within an ISO 9001 organization, should understand ISO 9001-related concepts such as how they, in their role, ensure client requirements are consistently met or what to do if they find out about a nonconforming product/service.

Whether you put it under the heading of "ISO 9001 Training and Awareness" or "Stuff We Do Training and Awareness" is moot. What does matter is that people know what they need to do, are competent at it, and know where to go (or what to do) if they experience an issue.

For those days when external auditors are visiting, one thing I always did was explain to them about our company culture and language. We did not necessarily do or say things because of ISO 9001. Their guides from our organization were aware of how to translate our company-speak into ISO 9001 if the auditor was confused. I learned this the hard way.

Early on in my career, I watched an external auditor ask a shop-floor employee "What is your quality policy?" The poor individual looked stunned and eventually managed to utter "Quality is job #1." (FYI...that was for Ford...and we weren't Ford). The auditor asked the same question to several other shop-floor employees and received equality 'wrong' answers. We received a finding that no one knew our quality policy.

To be fair, if you had asked me, I probably wouldn't have been able to parrot it back either. We asked the auditor to reframe the question. People were likely nervous and he was interrupting their job, so maybe try a more open-ended ask such as "What does quality mean to you?" And while we did receive some pretty memorable answers (my personal favourite being "Quality means that if someone gets killed, it's my fault."...fyi, this individual programmed the electronic display signage that you see above the windshield of a city bus :ROFLMAO:), the overall gist of them was aligned with the intent and spirit of our quality policy. the finding was removed.

Words matter and words can also have more than one meaning. Too often, consultants, external auditors, and even folks here in the Cove, can be so focused on the wording and details if it doesn't perfectly match the phrasing they/we use. I challenge each of us to take a breath, read slowly, and, rather than confront/challenge someone's perspective, explore it a bit to understand where that other person is coming from.

In the infamous words of Willy Wonka,

"If you want to view paradise,
Simply look around view it.
Anything you want to do, do it.
Want to change world?
There's nothing to it."
 

Big Jim

Admin
In my mind, I'm picturing a lovely Venn diagram - one one side is the word "semantics" and the other side is "arguing in circles." and in the middle is where this thread has landed.

The majority (please note that I did not say 'all') of us here will likely agree that staff, regardless of their position or role within an ISO 9001 organization, should understand ISO 9001-related concepts such as how they, in their role, ensure client requirements are consistently met or what to do if they find out about a nonconforming product/service.

Whether you put it under the heading of "ISO 9001 Training and Awareness" or "Stuff We Do Training and Awareness" is moot. What does matter is that people know what they need to do, are competent at it, and know where to go (or what to do) if they experience an issue.

For those days when external auditors are visiting, one thing I always did was explain to them about our company culture and language. We did not necessarily do or say things because of ISO 9001. Their guides from our organization were aware of how to translate our company-speak into ISO 9001 if the auditor was confused. I learned this the hard way.

Early on in my career, I watched an external auditor ask a shop-floor employee "What is your quality policy?" The poor individual looked stunned and eventually managed to utter "Quality is job #1." (FYI...that was for Ford...and we weren't Ford). The auditor asked the same question to several other shop-floor employees and received equality 'wrong' answers. We received a finding that no one knew our quality policy.

To be fair, if you had asked me, I probably wouldn't have been able to parrot it back either. We asked the auditor to reframe the question. People were likely nervous and he was interrupting their job, so maybe try a more open-ended ask such as "What does quality mean to you?" And while we did receive some pretty memorable answers (my personal favourite being "Quality means that if someone gets killed, it's my fault."...fyi, this individual programmed the electronic display signage that you see above the windshield of a city bus :ROFLMAO:), the overall gist of them was aligned with the intent and spirit of our quality policy. the finding was removed.

Words matter and words can also have more than one meaning. Too often, consultants, external auditors, and even folks here in the Cove, can be so focused on the wording and details if it doesn't perfectly match the phrasing they/we use. I challenge each of us to take a breath, read slowly, and, rather than confront/challenge someone's perspective, explore it a bit to understand where that other person is coming from.

In the infamous words of Willy Wonka,

"If you want to view paradise,
Simply look around view it.
Anything you want to do, do it.
Want to change world?
There's nothing to it."

It most certainly looks like you had a weakness in employees being aware of the quality policy. From what you reported it looks like they were clueless. As to if it warranted a nonconformance I wasn't there, but it certainly has that flavor. I'm not sure if you chose a good example.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Leader
Admin
The Auditing Practices Group has spoken on the subject of auditing Quality Policy. They addressed awareness in terms of understanding how we contribute - "how it relates to their activity" - and came right out with it in saying "Do not ask persons to recite the quality policy."

I don't think of myself as an elitist, but more like a stealth operator in that there is a limit to my expecting what the rank and file know about the standard. Certainly its text, which was written in a way to make it more readily translatable, seems pretty elitist to me. Employees are expected to know how their efforts contribute to the goals. They should know what their goals are; if they don't, I point to the management but when meeting a panicked look or glazed expression, it's always possible they believe I am expecting them to tell me more of the standard's elitist text than I do. I want to hear what they think, not what they've memorized.

Let us remember why the book ISO 9001 In Plain English is so popular, and why it gets so many recommendations for people who are new at ISO.
 

Funboi

On Holiday

Big Jim

Admin
The Auditing Practices Group has spoken on the subject of auditing Quality Policy. They addressed awareness in terms of understanding how we contribute - "how it relates to their activity" - and came right out with it in saying "Do not ask persons to recite the quality policy."

I don't think of myself as an elitist, but more like a stealth operator in that there is a limit to my expecting what the rank and file know about the standard. Certainly its text, which was written in a way to make it more readily translatable, seems pretty elitist to me. Employees are expected to know how their efforts contribute to the goals. They should know what their goals are; if they don't, I point to the management but when meeting a panicked look or glazed expression, it's always possible they believe I am expecting them to tell me more of the standard's elitist text than I do. I want to hear what they think, not what they've memorized.

Let us remember why the book ISO 9001 In Plain English is so popular, and why it gets so many recommendations for people who are new at ISO.

I'm familiar with that guidance and believe I practice it. I have never expected someone to quote it perfectly although some do.

The example that Roxanne gave seems to be a total lack of awareness. I believe that if I were auditing and received a response like that with an ANAB witness auditor present, that I would have been written up if I would not write it up.

Paul, I hope you caught the comment about ISO 9001 in plain English.
 
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