ISO 9001 - 5.5.3. Internal Communication clarification

C

ChrisDanger

#1
Hi,

I'm just looking for clarification on Clause 5.5.3.

Top management shall ensure that appropriate communication processes are established within the organization and that communication takes place regarding the effectiveness of the quality management system.
I have an "Intro to ISO 9001:2008" document that advises that the effectiveness of the QMS must be communicated by management to the staff. (See below.)

One of the main purposes of establishing a management system is to have a means for communicating organizational and customer requirements to staff. Now top management is being asked to communicate back to the organization information on how effective the system is.

Remember that the effectiveness of a management system is a measure of the effectiveness of the management team. The standard requires that this information is shared.
The way I first saw it was that the standard does not clearly state to whom the effectiveness needs to be communicated. But examination of clause 5.5.2b shows that communication to top management is covered there, with the implication that the "effectiveness" part of 5.5.3. may refer to communication to other levels of the organisation (being to those that are involved in the processes under consideration).

Can anyone provide clarification, or irrefutable evidence of this?

Many thanks,
Chris
 
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M

Michael T

#2
Hi Chris...

One way to look at this is to ask how management communicates important issues from management review to the personnel on the floor (or maybe branches in different geographic locations, etc). Many times management makes decisions and changes that directly effect floor personnel. The floor folks have no idea why these changes are being made or what the purpose/goal of the change is. They are just told to do it. This makes change difficult. When people don't know why they are being asked to change, they have no stake in the change and no buy-in.

Unless there is good communication between management and the lower levels, those in the lower levels have no idea whether or not the QMS is effective... and at times they have no idea what the QMS even is. It is really telling when you ask an associate from the floor what they think the QMS is... many times they will answer "controlled documents". That is the extent of their understanding of the QMS and why I believe that clause 5.5.3 exists.

Also... communication of the effectiveness of the QMS tells people how well they are doing. How do you determine effectiveness? Metrics... how do people know how they are doing? Again... Metrics... Metrics from an area on the floor feed into higher level (departmental) metrics which in turn feed into higher level (organizational) metrics, which should be directly linked to your Quality Objectives. Are Quality Objectives being met? Yes? No? If they aren't, why not? If they aren't, the QMS isn't effective. This information needs to be shared so that people know how the work they are doing contributes to the overall success of the organization.

Just my :2cents:

Cheers!!!!

Michael
 
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insect warfare

QA=Question Authority
Trusted Information Resource
#3
I'll take the devil pixies' side here...

Imagine for a minute that you disavow all logic - take all forms of internal communication and throw them out the window....rip the phones out of the walls, take down all the visual management cues (like notification boards, posters, etc.), disable emailing functions, cancel all future meetings and reviews of important things, and then have everyone work in total silence. This is of course a worst case scenario, and would never happen in actual reality, but going to fictitious extremes sometimes puts certain things into a better perspective.

Now, how long do you think it will take before all this invokes an adverse effect on your QMS? Probably not very long - in fact, the effects would probably be immediate and only get worse with time. No one can speak to each other, phone calls cannot be made, emails cannot be sent, nothing is posted to give you any indication of anything. Are you really doing a good job? Are the other departments even doing theirs? Sounds ludicrous (and scary), don't you agree?

5.5.3 requires that you establish appropriate communication processes within your company, and a lot of this is naturally taken care of through the very nature of doing business, albeit it is not optimal for some. Without communication, how can one ever expect to know anything on any level about their company's performance....even the minor details....much less how to facilitate improvement?

Brian :rolleyes:
 

Kales Veggie

People: The Vital Few
#4
Here are my two cents:

Management sets Quality Objectives and has to communicate those. These objectives have metrics and targets (e.g. scrap, customer complaints per month, resolution time for complaints) and potentially some kind of charting / graphing / tracking over time.

For all team members to work towards the same objectives and targets, management has to communicate those to every team member and explain how they can contribute in reaching these targets (example: daily team meetings, newsletters, information board in the break room, walk-about board).

The effectiveness is the QMS is determined by meeting the targets.
 
M

Mueller Time

#5
I agree with all of the above, remembering that showing effective communication is part of the clause. While meeting the company's goals is the ultimate answer, the goals (QMS metrics, customer requirements) themselves must be communicated clearly (posted openly, discussed in meeting- with appropriate minutes, part of processes, on drawings, etc.).
As far as who needs to know those goals, it is the company's decision per 5.5.2b & c, but unless you have a very segmented organization, those goals/metrics/performance should be shared openly with all. Per your book staff=??. We generally follow up using internal audits to see if people have an idea of what the goals really are.
 
C

ChrisDanger

#6
Thanks everyone for the input. I now have a much clearer meaning of what this section is asking for.
 
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