Keeping Procedures Simple - 15 person machine shop using text procedures


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To revisit the discussion and thoughts concerning procedures, I would like to ask a question of the forum.

As a functional base for a small 15 person machine shop using text procedures with or without process or flowchart supplements, excluding design responsibilities, with competent personnel..

How many text based procedures would you recommend?

The required

*Document Control
*Record Control
*Internal Audit
*Control of Nonconforming Product
*Corrective Action
*Preventive Action

Is it ever adviseable to keep it so simple that the only formally written procedures are these six?

My procedures are as follows

*Document Control
*Record Control
*Internal Audit
Control of monitoring and measuring devices
*Control of nonconforming product
*Corrective Action
*Preventive Action

I worry about leaving completely blank the following areas:

7.1 Planning of product realization
7.5 Production and service provision
8.2.4 Monitoring and measurement of product

Yet, I don't know how to approach those areas with a functional procedure.

If I stuck with what I have now and was keeping all of the records required as stated in Annex B of the Introduction and Support Package "Guidance on the Documentation Requirements of ISO 9000:2000," am I covering all the bases?

Should I cover those three areas I have in mind by building systems that don't already exist?

Should I be looking at other areas as well?


M Greenaway

Dare I suggest that asking others what procedures you should have is, to say the least, an impossible question for an 'outsider' to answer.

You say that you feel you need extra procedures, then go do them. Your feeling may be based on past bad experience, gut instinct, or formal FMEA of your processes. Regardless, if you feel the need then you should create them.

I had a similar interesting question asked of me today. A manager asked me what documentation he needs for the quality system to cover his installation activities that he manages. Never has so much mis-understanding of what a QMS been rolled up into one question. Again the feeling proliferates that all a QMS is is a set of documents, and you need plenty of documents for an effective QMS.

How many years will it take to get the process approach fully instilled in peoples minds, in place of the documentation mindset ? 10 years, 20 maybe 30 ???

Craig H.


Couldn't you consider having your Purchasing and Measuring Device procedures a Preventive Action? I tend to look at ours that way. So, at some point you decided that your company's exposure to risk in these areas was sufficient to warrant having those areas documented. Just approach the other areas in the same way. The fact that you are involved in the process makes you the best one to answer the questions asked.

Hope this helps.



Leave it to me to be brief !

Do the six required, and do them well--so they add value to your company.

Do others only as needed---do them well---so they add value to your company.

You can easily tell when any parts of the process fail and need tightened up via a documented instruction. If there is a payback, do one. If not, dont.

Make all of them easy to understand and use pictures / flow charts / small words, always. Good luck and let us know how you're doing !;)

Randy Stewart

I don't see a problem with having too many procedures when you first start - as long as they are used and make sense. As a system matures you see where the procedures muddy the water and can back off.
Simplicity in a system should come from a good grasp of what needs to be accomplish and a strong view of the "big picture". Your processes and procedures, no matter how many, should never hinder the accomplishment of the companies goals.


Set it up to what works best for your company. I try to keep them short and simple. Here is a sample of what I set up recently for a software client:

1. Corrective & Preventive Action
2. Document & Record Control
3. Internal Audits
4. Management Review
5. Training
6. Custom Software Development (included nonconformance control)
7. IT Staffing (included customer complaint resolution)
8. Commercial Software Development (included nonconformance control)

Everything was flowcharted as much as possible to keep it simple.


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Remember the 00 standard requires only 6. You can have 6,9,27,...., if you are worried add what you need. The length, amount and detail will depend a lot on the competence of your employees. KIS(s)
gpainter said:
Remember the 00 standard requires only 6. You can have 6,9,27,...., if you are worried add what you need. The length, amount and detail will depend a lot on the competence of your employees. KIS(s)

Agreed. and with no more than 15 people involved the KISS principle can be used extensively. Remember note 2 in ISO9001:2000, clause 4.2.1:

The extent of the quality management system documentation can differ from one organization to another due to
a) the size of organization and type of activities,
b) the complexity of processes and their interactions, and
c) the competence of personnel.

I repeat this every time I get half a chance, because of its importance: You can build a system suited to your needs and still follow the standard.

The size of the organization: 15 people... Obviously you won't need as much in writing as a bigger organization would.

The complexity of processes and their interactions: I don't know about that, but you do. Is it easy, hard or somewhere in between? What do your staff need in the way of written guidance?

The competence of personnel: More or less the same as the above. What do they need?

There is also 4.1 to consider.

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