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Objectives in Quality Policy


Starting to get Involved
I have just started at a new company. Their quality policy states " . . will undertake to provide the following objectives:". It then lists 12 "objectives" such as "communicate with stakeholders"; "adequate and suitable information, instruction and training"; "maintain a customer focus . . ."

These are not SMART objectives and I cannot find any information on any other objectives (but they may be there).

In my previous job an auditor commented that if the policy states "objectives" you should have a plan on how to achieve each objective. Do you agree?

I have found that the H&S and Environmental Policy is set out the same way with multiple "objectives".

I don't want the rock the boat as it seems this hasn't been picked up by auditors previously, but it seems wrong to me

Thoughts please :)

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
Separate policy (timeless) from objectives (updated more frequently).

Your instincts are correct but I suggest you solve the lack of agreed upon measurable objectives first.

When you have established the vital few objectives then invite the top manager to update the policy so it accurately reflects the values of your organization.

John Predmore

Involved In Discussions
Show your management team that ISO9001 requires Quality Objectives fit all the elements of SMART goals.
(I highlighted more than 5 words because some people choose different words to spell out the acronym SMART):

6.2.1 ... Quality objectives shall:
a. be consistent with the quality policy;
b. be measurable;
c. take into account applicable requirements;
d. be relevant to conformity ... and customer satisfaction;
e. be monitored; (Actionable)
f. be communicated; (Agreed upon)
g. be updated, as appropriate. (Timely)
6.2.2 When planning how to achieve its quality objectives, (Attainable) the organization shall determine:
a. what will be done; (Specific)
b. what resources will be required; (Realistic)
c. who will be responsible;
d. when it will be completed; (Time-based)
e. how the results will be evaluated. (Measurable)
You just started. Table your issue until your more familiar with the company. They might have their measurable goals somewhere else. The "quality policy" may just be fluff. You'll need some standing to make any changes, so tread lightly till you have some experience. Walking in and saying "this is all wrong" isn't a good look. Good luck.

John Predmore

Involved In Discussions
Why waste and ignore so much knowledge already exchanged herein
I will attempt to answer your rhetorical question (I think it was rhetorical), apparently directed to AliGuff. I saw that AliGuff is "starting to get involved". IMHO, Knowledge here is only wasted and ignored if the new, "starting to get involved" user is aware they have access to it and can readily access what they would benefit from. Perhaps a new, "starting to get involved" user is not familiar with the search function or is not as accomplished with searches as a Staff member. Perhaps the results of a search on an issue which has been discussed "so many times in the past" are so lengthy as to be intimidating to a new "starting to get involved" user. If you know of a concise, relevant answer to a sincere question, pointing a new "starting to get involved" user to that concise relevant answer would have been a real service to this and other new members of the community IMHO.

We are all at different points on our quality journey. I gave what I thought was an insightful, helpful answer to the core issue in the question asked by @AliGuff. I figured out my answer for myself based on my own reading of the standard and thought, and in fact, I have copied that answer for my own use in the upcoming end-of-year Management Review at my company. So I actually benefited from the endeavor to answer a question for somebody new. I did not research whether somebody here previously made the same point using the same words when this issue was "discussed so many times in the past." If my attempt to be helpful to somebody new was redundant to previous entries on this site, I apologize for being wasteful and ignorant. I do not apologize for the benefit I derived from the endeavor. That keeps me coming back to this site.

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
One of Marc's sig lines is/was a search is a terrible thing to waste. My point on my previous post is very clear: this issue has been discussed many times, with tons of insight already provided. There is nothing wrong in establishing one more thread on an issue that has been debated ad nauseum in the past. But, some people might not engage in the discussion simply because of subject fatigue.

Thanks for sharing your insight and feel free to keep doing it; after all this is a place for people helping people. But any rookie cover should be aware of the search function power and reach. Otherwise, the knowledge is wasted.

Search results for query: objectives

Bev D

Heretical Statistician
Staff member
Super Moderator
I take a slightly different view of this.
since these 'objectives' are in the quality policy and reading what they are, they sound more like mission statements (directional and aspirational) rather than hard and fast goals for critical measures of success. I would look for SMART goals in the annual goal statement or something like that not in the policy. The policy might outline what smart goal looks like and how often they are set or reviewed, etc.

of course all words have multiple meanings...
What [AliGuff] described is a quality policy written by somebody who did not understand the requirements, that has not yet been noticed or cared about by an outside auditor. Don't worry, it will be noticed soon enough.

As the others said, learn your way around the place and find out who the parent of that statement is.
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