Old QMS... NEW QM.. I don't know where to start


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Hi All

firstly i would like to say I LOVE ELSMAR COVE, its a brilliant place for anything Quality Related :applause:

Where do i begin...

Around about 2 years ago our Group Quality manager sadly passed away, he was a very intelligent person and had build our Quality System from scratch about 15 - 20 years ago.. i have been with the company for 4 years in my second year work dried up and i was on the redundant list :( but they offered me a position to assist the group quality manager who about 4 months later passed away, i have now moved into his shoes as Group Quality Manager.

I have been on training courses, etc but my knowledge is limited im afraid to say but the roll i have is an extremely important one. as well as looking after the quality system for the Group (UK) i also manage the quality system in 5 other companies who make up part of that group.


i have inherited a quality system that is very fragmented and OLD.. there are things all over the place and even after nearly 2 years in the job i am still finding things in the system.. I AM SNOWED UNDER AND LOST, i just do not know where to start in sorting out this system, there is NO one else in the business who knows what the old QM did, he just made it work and we kept our ISO approval (we still maintain ISO 9001:2008, but im struggling)

CAN ANYONE OFFER ANY HELP, where should i start? what should i prioritise ( i some times feel like scrapping the lot and starting again) we have everything in place for the system but its old and well doesn't work NO ONE USES IT AT ALL and its very frustrating.

I have been looking at QMS software as well as trying to make my own using access but its very tricky, i would like everything automated (to a degree and user-friendly so people will input and use the system), i want to get as much as i can out the system (get results) but at the moment im getting noting but a headache and problems all the time..

I even find the basics like auditing and NCR management hard, the internal audits are all based on old out of date procedures, when i audit these procedures or the standard there are ALWAYS NCRS and they always seem to end up being my responsibility to sort out (as well as everything else) because they are mainly system related, but trying to update a procedure is a massive job, the procedures we have in place now seem to be interlinked to many other procedures so for example a procedure for sale, enquires and quotations you would think would be fairly simple has ended up being a procedure that is around 50 pages long and contains lots of other different procedures, etc so trying to rational these is a massive job because not only are they massive they contain 4 companies who all operate differently.. i have managed to take out 2 companies because they are relatively small and they now have their own set of procedures but 2 others are massive companies and trying to split these and get people to help/cooperate is not happening.

I do have the support of the managering director but he is a very busy man so trying to get him to support me is very hard, other managers are not interested and one company ALL the management do not want ISO because its expensive on resorces etc but the MD has told them they are having is so as you can imagine i get nothing out of them, i conducted a management review meeting a few weeks ago and it was terrible, i came away with NOTHING at all..

I am dreading the next external Audit because it all falls on my lap but i am trying my hardest but i am just SWAMPED under so much so i find myself avoiding doing things..

I dont want to feel this way or back down from this massive challenge i just dont knwo where to begin

to run a side this we manufacture pressure vessels so we have the full traceability system (materials, welding, NDE, etc) this is just a MESS and a shambles but because its 'QUALITY' related i have to sort that out as well.. all databases we are using are Lotus smart suite 1997 and they are a nightmare :mad:


I am so so so sorry for rantying on, i feel i have no one to turn to but i dont want to quit my job, i want to make my mark and make this work and benefit what is a large group of companies UK wide

Just to add other companies do have their own QM and QMS i carry out the Cooperate audits to make sure they comply with ISO 9001, this is OK but there is a lot of inner group trading and their are always issues, there is nothing standard between them

AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:


Rant is officially over - Sorry



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Re: Old QMS... NEW QM.. I dont know where to start

It sounds like you have a lot of work on your hands!

My first thought is, do you have a team working for you? Are they suitably trained and competent? With the amount of work you have described and the multitude of companies I would hope you have a number of people that should be able to help.

You need to get them all together and thrash out a plan to move things forward. Without a direction you will be running around in circles. You will also then have something that you can get the other "non quality" staff to take an interest in and support.

With regards to actually fixing the system, if it is really as bad as you say you have to decide whether to start from scratch or modify the existing. I would always prefer to modify what I already have, because of the additional complications of starting from scratch.

You obviously already have a compliant system, or at least close to; so take the time to do a GAP analysis, look through the requirements and match with what you do already, there shouldn't be any gaps but it should also help you to identify weaknesses that need improvement and areas where fat can be trimmed. Prioritise these and work your way down systematically.

You are obviously concerned about maintaining your certificate...as you said, you survived the audit before so it must be compliant. Prepare for next time, if you have identified the weaknesses and have a plan to address them then that will go a long way in any future audit

Hope this helps


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Re: Old QMS... NEW QM.. I dont know where to start

thank you pkost, unfortunately i do have a lot on my hands and i do not have a team of any sorts, i am basically on my own with this one, there are 2 quality inspectors who have multi rolls with other companies and do not have time for 'mundane' tasks... That is it, just on my own really :(

We do have a compliment system, well it is as compliment as it needs to be to satisfy the external auditor (just) but the next audit visit is the certificate renewal visit (not good).. We basically have used the same Auditor for the last 15 years and he knows our business which helps but if it wasnt him who did the audit our system would be pulled a part and i feel could possible loose certification within some companies (we hold a multi site approval)

But at the moment the system does not work and does nothing for the company other than generate a lot of paper work to keep the certificate on the wall but surely a QMS should be more than just that.. that is how it is seen throughout the business which doesn't help, its seen as a hindrance not something that is useful..

its really starting to wear me down at work and at home now after almost 2 years and running in circles achieving nothing :crybaby:


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Re: Old QMS... NEW QM.. I dont know where to start

Your profile says your company has 2000 employees and the impression you give is that you head up the quality management system for the entire group. Although every company is different it appears to me that you are severely under resourced! Do the other companies not have their own quality team? that would at least start to make sense!

I really think that the first step will be to change the company attitude to ISO, although you say the MD supports you, it appears that he is doing little to demonstrate that support and seems more that he is happy to maintain the status quo. This means that you are under resourced and unable to win over the support of the heads of the various sub companies. I understand that MD's are busy people, but I think you need to start there. Explain the situation to him, if he does support you the he will give you the time and resource to resolve the issues.
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World wide we do have around 2000 employees ( i should change this to UK only really but when i joined up i was very excited and optomisic about my challange ahead :rolleyes:), but im just the UK Group QM so not as many.. Yes the other businesses who make up the group do have their own QM and QMS systems so i dont manage their systems i just audit them on a corporate level so satisfy our multi-site certification

Yes we are MASSIVELY under resourced but when you mention it, it falls on deaf ears, there is no way they will employ anyone, if some one leave their job is lumped on to someone else, unfortunately that is the business model.

The group side of things isnt too bad, i do get involved in some areas when i am required and i do audit the companies across the UK but its the 5 companies that i manage on my own that is the problem, they are all very different companies and have have several QMS in place non of which are any use.

I need to come up with a plan for myself (no one else will be bothered) so i know what areas to tackle first and lead in to other areas, i have found that when i tackle one part this leads in to another part which leads in to another part before i can even complete the first part i was doing and i end up with it wrapped around my neck.

Unfortunately the resource side of things will never change so this is what i have and what i need to adapt to


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i have just seen your edit,

i think you are right in what you are saying, i just need to work out the best approach without it sounding like i am moaning, not capable of my new role, etc... because it has always worked (or so he has believed) ever since it was introduced..


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Just to complicate things, one of teh companies i manage is a recent acquisition and their system is totally different, their QM quit and they have not replaced him, these also have a separate MD who you cannot pin down he is all over the world.. but this has to be my worse company because they have had ISO forced upon them and they retaliate at everything.. i want to avoid major NCR but at the same time i think that getting a couple from the external auditor will give them a reality check.. i am currently making a stance and refusing to bring them under the multi-site approval until they have a re-think BUT they are only interested in making money and not spending it so i doubt that will happen any time soon.

Peter Fraser

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A few suggestions:

1 Be nice to your current CB(!) - it sounds as though they have not been too critical of your system performance to date, and things may not improve quickly, but if you can show that you are trying to improve now they should be pleased.

2 Find some other issues / problems in the organisation that the directors WILL pay attention to, and explain that sorting out your processes should give a business benefit (as well as helping you to keep your "badge")

3 Estimate the amount of time and effort you would have to spend just to maintain the current setup, and point out how that time would be wasted.

4 Have a stab at guessing what would happen if you lost your certification (lost business etc) and ask the directors what they would do then (and how long it would take to recover).

5 Keep smiling!
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