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


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pkost, yes we have a tier level certificate.. the over all holdings company has an ISO certificate (the quality manual is a corporate quality manual) then it tiers down from there and the individual companies have a certificate of their own and they are audited individually (i am present at all) so far they are maintaining there certificate very well and due to their nature of business they have to be water tight and they have one person focusing on quality and that is there job so there resources are better (but they make more money) i am trying to 'borrow' some of their methods, procedures, etc to gain some commonality through the group but this is some times not taken too well by people..


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Peter, thank you for the hints, these should pose very useful..

i love the keep smiling one, at the moment that is very very hard to do, i hate the fact i am unhappy in my work and this reflects in my home life as well BUT i dont want to give up..

i am going to struggle though, i mentioned the other day that we have a resourse issue regaring inspection (job share across companies) but the MD just looked at me gone out and said 'dont worry about that now' erm.... we work on pressure vessels and nuclear, if we let anything slip regarding inspection or traceability we are in big trouble...

Trust me I AM TRYING... but i just want to put together SOMETHING to show to the MD regarding teh system to make them realise how bad it is rather than when i talk to them they make me feel i am no good at my job, which right now i feel i am not any good when really its the system that is not working properly..

In the the QM before me he wrote ALL procedures for ALL processors and when he pasted away and i asked the people whos job roles used these procedures to review them they had never seen them before and then said oh the QM use to do that, i havent got time, cant you do the same... erm i do not know how your job function works im the QM not sales, etc... same with auditing the old QM would sit at a desk with files and do the audits and get the people to sign the sheets, there were the same check list year and year and these check lists gave the same answers and were tailored in a way to avoid NCR's so when the external auditor came in they didnt agree with the check lists but they still complied and everything looked as though it was perfect.. so when i ask to audit a process the give me a file.. erm no.. i want to talk to you, you run me through the process, this is when there are issues because what they do is ok and complies but the procedure doesnt reflect that... RUBBISH


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In that case your job suddenly seems a lot easier! I am concerned that you are trying to write a system that fits into all their systems which is unnecessary. You appear to be a slave to your system and not letting it work for you....I might be misunderstanding but you mention that you have a 50 page procedure for quotes....why? my understanding of a holding company is that it will not issue quotes, that is the responsibility of the individual companies/manufacturers and this should be covered in their QMS.

Focus on what your holding company does and what it needs, don't try and duplicate the work of the other companies as it has already been done and is not applicable to you.


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i may have confused you a little in my rambling sorry..

Currently the holding company has NO procedures, the only thing it has is a Quality manual which references all the other companies procedures with the ISO clause, etc..

Its best to ignore the group side of things to be honest, being the 'Group'quality manager is fairly simple just maintain the manual and audits (there have been talks about having the key 6 documented procedures which ISO require as corporate procedures which gives the multiside certifacte some more commonality and i am all for that but from my limited experience no matter what the group does the individual company will do their won thing and write there own procedure there for more duplication), that is it to be honest, its my individual direct companies that i am having the problems with.

The procedures i refer to is a procedure that is within the companies i am directly the QM for, this procedure is shared by 2 of my companies so there are MANY links inside it and WAY OVER COMPLICATED, why its so complicated I HAVE NO IDEA.. but this is the same for ALL the procedures and trying to sort it is a mess and very complex..

what you have said above is correct, i am a slave to our system, but im not sure about me not letting it work for me OR it just doesnt work, i see so so many gaps and floors but to fill those gaps and floors is a major job :-(

Thank you for your patience and discussing things with me


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Chris, you certainly sound frazzled by this whole situation. Perhaps it is time to step back and try to establish some basics e.g. does the company want to retain certification or not? If yes (which I suspect they do), I would be tempted to perform an overall review of the QMS and document what is good and doesn't need anything doing with it; what is reasonable but may need some updating and what is either completely hopeless or missing altogether.
You can then put together an action plan for what needs doing, who is going to do it and when it will be done.


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Thanks Colin

You are correct i am FRAZZLED in a bit way..

A review is something that i seem to have been doing since day one, i have pages and pages of a to-do sheet but it has got to the stage where i don't know where to start..

i did produce a spreadsheet which had the procedures on there and departments/names who need to review this document to see if current and issued it to everyone concerned, did anything happen..... NO i didn't get a single response well i did and the comment was 'this doesn't reflect what we do, it needs totally re-writing' and that where it stops.. another comment was 'we send these procedures to customers and they look good and very through, if i change it to actual it will only be a couple of pages long and wont look impressive' :-S

our server has so many different quality folders that just trying to find my way around it is a nightmare.. people use some areas and other use others.. but i have tried to simplifier it (so i think) and people complain it has changed and they cant find anything... its very frustrating..

i don't suppose on Elsmar there are any examples of QMS review documents, etc


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It is quite sad to think that people believe that 'more is better' when it comes to quality systems. Modern thinking is usually the opposite - keep it concise and there is a better chance that people will read it when they need to and then use it.

You may have already considered this but I would be tempted to 'sketch out' a simplified system e.g. an overall process map of the business which identifies the key processes and from there, a list of proposed procedures. Hopefully that might grab someones attention and a light may come on.

If you look at the top of the web page you will see a group of buttons, one of which is 'post attachments list', have a scan through there for documents. I will look and see if I can find something that may be relevant for you.


I had a similar experience a few years ago when our Quality Manager retired and although admittedly our company is much smaller than yours, I started at the beginning of the quality manual and went through page by page to see if it related in any way to the current standard.

There was so much junk and waffle, for example about 10 pages on how to set up a specific welding machine we had onsite here (I mean, what the heck was that in there for?).

I removed about 75% of the old manual.

After removing the junk, I sat down with top management to identify our key processes and set some objectives based on where the company was heading. Following meetings with each process owner and rewording/simplifying of the existing parts of the manual I added missing sections and additional flowcharts and procedures as necessary.

I feel like I'm over simplifying this, but it did take around 18 months to and it was at times stressful, but that often goes with the territory.

Good luck with your endeavour as you seem to have the necessary attitudes to do this.

1 - A desire to see this through.
2 - The ability to ask for help.



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Colin / Steve

Thanks again and i think you are both right.. i need to TRY and step back and go back to basics and look at things.. i am all for simplifying things, like you said if they are simpler people are more likely to use them and comply with them..

I will try and sit down the Quality manual and a pad and go through what we do, what we need, etc and move from there.. unfortunately with my tertiary i am travelling all over the UK doing audits, having meetings with other managers with regards to contract launches and basically trying to help others who ask for help (they look at me as their point of contact for help but the fact of the matter they probably know more than be due to my lack of experience but i try really hard not to show it and help as best i can) so finding time to actually sit down and go through these things is very hard with so many distractions :-(

BUT YES i do want to see it through and prove to myself i can do this and yes i am not scared of asking for help but i do need to be careful who i ask for help in case they think i am incompetent

Thanks again


I think you've been given good advice by Colin & Steve & Peter.

Sounds like a monstrous system, run by the previous QM, document heavy and not particularly valuable. And trying to maintain that alone, and improve it, and audit to poor documents is... difficult shall we say.

Try not to get overwhelmed. It's a big project and likely to take you quite some time to sort it out. Say a year, possibly two. So give yourself abreak and plan long term.

I'd focus on getting it simpler and more 'obvious' - if it ain't clear to you now, it won't be clear to anyone else!

I would come up with some kind of summary of where you think you are now, and what the downsides/risks are with the current situation and what you plan to do and how and deliver to management. (Apart from anything else, it Covers Your Ass should anything go pear-shaped - ie,management cannot say 'we wasn't told'.)

Pick an area where you might get some 'quick wins' (or at least no major resistance!) and use that to pilot the new approach.

I know - I've done so many of them - that it can seem utterly overwhelming at the beginning with SOOOO much to do. And there's a change of mindset needed too, so people understand what quality is really, vs theoretically. And that takes time too, esp. if they were used to the QM doing it all 'for' them.

Have a plan in mind. Keep plugging away, prioritising and working on stuff (and reprioritising if need be) and getting incremental improvements in place. It's a bit like a jigsaw where you have the big picture in mind, but are working on little bits at a time. It will come together. At some point, the shape of the new, simpler system will start to become apparent. Hang in there :D
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