Not Aware of Department Objectives



Not aware of the department objectives

Quality objective has been identified for each department but the majority of the personnel in a department ,except the Head of department and supervisor ,are not aware of any objectives for their department.
Can this be raised as a Non-conformity during the audit? If so, to what clause?

I feel it is a non-conformance to 6.2.2 d) of ISO9001-2000.


Fully vaccinated are you?
Your Opinion?

Andrews said:
Quality objective has been identified for each department but the majority of the personnel in a department, except the Head of department and supervisor, are not aware of any objectives for their department.
Can this be raised as a Non-conformity during the audit? If so, to what clause?

I feel it is a non-conformance to 6.2.2 d) of ISO9001-2000.
This is an old post we 'missed'. But I was going back through some 'oldies and saw this.

Any takers?

This is a question I have been considering. There are 3 main responsibility levels:
  1. Enterprise (Upper Management)
  2. Managerial
  3. Operational
So - what should each level 'know'? My concern is expectations at the 'Operational' level.

M Greenaway

I think 5.4.1 says it all really.

"Quality objectives also include objectives for products, and should be established at relevant functions and levels."

Great - the question is, what is a relevant function and a relevant level, and relevant to what ????

My interpretation, and thats all it is, is that the operators should know the specific quality objectives for the product they are producing today, as this is what they can influence. So for example they should be aware of product requirements from drawings, inspection sheets, control charts, etc.

Process owners, or department managers on the other hand should have and know of performance against overall department or process objectives, such as reducing scrap, rework, etc.

M Greenaway

Bear in mind that telling operators how the overall process is performing against overall process objectives will not improve the performance of the process against these objectives.

The operator performs in a system and it is managements responsibility for the performance of that system.

Management by objective wont make things magically happen.

Randy Stewart

I'm not so sure as to the Non-conformance. I'd have to see other evidence of the objectives not being rolled out. However, the operator should have an idea as to how they fit in the system. It's their process, so they should know how it promotes or adds value. At the very least they should understand how it affects customer sat! If they have been "empowered", then they have a grasp on reduced scrap/rejections, some process improvements etc. To know the objectives verbatum is not something I look at to close, unless they are posted in the departments.


Write 'em up


Yep, you're right on the money. People not being aware of objectives is one of the most common nonconformities I write. And what could be more important? Hardly anything. I agree on the ISO reference: 6.2.2d. It says, "The organization shall...ensure that its personnel are aware of the relevance and importance of their activities and how they contribute to the achievement of the quality objectives..." That pretty much sums it up. ISO 9001:2000 doesn't discriminate between different levels of the organization (enterprise, managerial, operational, etc), though many organizations structure their objectives in a multilevel manner. The standard simply says that everyone needs to understand the objectives that apply to them. This is one of the "global" questions I ask every person I come in contact with during an audit. Not only is it an explicit ISO 9001:2000 requirement, but it adds a lot of strategic value to the organization when personnel are able to deliver of the requirement.

Keep in mind that objectives can be established in lots of different ways. Large organizations may establish separate objectives for every department, and smaller/less complex organizations may simply establish a single set of objectives that apply to everyone. There are many, many different ways to slice and dice it. And some organizations don't even call them "quality objectives," which of course is fine (and in my opinion preferable). As long as everyone has some reasonable answers for how they contribute to objectives, then I'm happy. Ignorance, confusion, and blank stares are signs that someone has dropped the ball.

Here's a reference for those who are interested. Please note that some of the points in the article are implementation points, not audit points (i.e., they're not requirements of the standard, just good ideas for getting more value from the system): (Quality Digest, Nov 2000).

Talk to you later,

Craig Cochran
Center for International Standards & Quality
Georgia Institute of Technology
[email protected]

M Greenaway

Lets be clear,

Setting an objective doesnt mean that the objective will be achieved.

Collating data and measuring performance against an objective doesnt mean that performance improvement will just happen.

Letting eveyone know that there is an objective, right down to the toilet cleaner, does not mean that the objective will be achieved or improvement seen.

The so called 'requirements' of the standard regarding objectives are hollow, meaningless and unclear.

Expecting everyone to know the quality objectives is much like the old audit question of asking everyone what the quality policy is - a bleedin pointless question.

In my opinion - no, everyone does not need to know.

In my experience - no, this was not asked during the external audit.

In my opinion those that should know are those that can effect achievement of the objective - management.


Mr. Greenaway,

There's a world of difference between someone understanding the quality policy and someone understanding relevant objectives. The quality policy is generally high-level, philosophical material. Objectives, on the other hand, are specific and measurable. If the organization chooses the right objectives, then there is much to gain from employees understanding how they can help the organization work toward achievement of them. The organization is much more likely to achieve its goals if personnel have some awareness of what the goals are and specifically what they can do to work toward them.

I respectfully must disagree with you that the requirements in 6.2.2d of ISO 9001:2000 are "hollow, meaningless, and unclear." They're very clear, powerful, and unambiguous. The problem is that people (managers and auditors alike) often overlook them, since they are somewhat buried in the training and competency section of the standard.

Should personnel have understanding of all objectives? Not in my opinion; only the ones that apply to their jobs, unless the organization has stipulated otherwise. But the requirements in 6.2.2d are very straightforward. Not meeting the requirements would mean an audit nonconformity. Even worse, not meeting this requirement would mean employees really don't understand how they fit into the organization, which is not the way to be successful in business.

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