There is a standard process which starts with a manual being drafted for others to see and make a contribution. This enables Top Managment to take ownership of a documented system at policy level and managers can play their part in taking an interest at an early and initial stage.
Recently this practice was viewed and interprited as correcting mistakes in a manual which should not have been there to start with.
Tell them that anybody can tear down an outhouse, but it takes a carpenter to build one (and Energy to put the roof on ).
I suppose the alternative is to ask top management to write the manual first, and have us review it when they're done. The result is that (as Dilbert said) they treat it like a dead racoon and route the job to the nearest passer-by. We will end up writing the draft anyway, and maybe they will keep their mouths shut about "mistakes" in it.
By getting top management very involved in drafting the Quality Manual, you run the risk of creating/reinforcing an incorrect perception that ISO 9001:2000 is all about documentation and bureaucracy. I think I would engage top management in other ways, focusing especially on issues that appeal to their sense of strategic management. This will illustrate how the management system can be used to make them and the whole organization more successful. Of course this is common sense, but a lot of top managers I talk to really don't have this impression of ISO 9001.
Specifically, I think I'd spend a considerable time engaging top management in these areas:
*** Strategic metrics (i.e., quality objectives): Where these come from, how to develop them, how to communicate and deploy them, how to get everyone involved in their improvement, how to react to trends.
*** Customer perceptions: How perceptions are gauged, how the company analyzes perceptions, how action is taken to improve perceptions, why this is probably the biggest issue the organization faces.
*** Corrective and preventive actions: How the organization becomes aware of problems and potential problems, how issues are investigated, what 'root cause' means and how can it be identified, how the organization ensures actions are taken and effective, and trends are reported.
There are other things I'd bring up (like all the rest of section 5), but these issues really come to mind. When top management begins to associate ISO 9001 with high-level, strategic issues, they start to realize how important your role is. It's a fight to get there, but the effort is worth it. Just some thoughts from the land of Dixie.
Craig Cochran [email protected]
Center for International Standards & Quality
Georgia Institute of Technology
You know what? You're exactly right. My brain translated the term policy manual into quality manual, probably because there's no mention of a "policy manual" in ISO 9001:2000. I guessed he was talking about the quality manual. I can see that I may have been mistaken about this.
So, the question is this: what exactly is this policy manual? Is it a manual of high-level procedures? Is it the document that satisfies the requirement of a quality manual in ISO 9001, but with a different name? Regardless, I stand by my assertion that I wouldn't get top managment overly involved in the development of documentation, whatever you want to call it.
There's no explicit requirement that top management develop any kind of documentation other than the quality policy (5.1 "Top management shall provide evidence of...b) establishing the quality policy..."). If a policy manual is something that the organization decides to develop, it's up to them to decide who must be involved in developing it. I wouldn't have any expectations that top management be involved, other than their contribution of the quality policy.
Much more important? Than what. A policy? Manuals end up dust covered in some cubicle. A policy is an everyday thing. No? A written manual means nothing until someone asks to see a copy. As for who should be responsible for it, try the Receptionist. They know where everything is! Maybe I read your post's intent incorrectly. There I go again, confusing the content with the intent.
Hi everybody and thanks for the debate. A policy manual is used in the same way as a quality manaul but each section contains its own policy. So we have an administion polcy.training policy, manufacturing policy and a calibration policy. Each section of the manual is devided into 5 clause subsections:
b) What the standard requires
c) What we do to achieve this
d) Who is responsable for this policy
e) Related procedures and instructions
It works very well provided you get top management to contribute to the policy clauses and take ownership of the document.
A company I used to work for had a policy manual like that. Every time we had an audit, we got it out, dusted it off, and presented it to the auditor. I'm not saying that a policy manual can't be effective, but the information in ours was apparently written to make auditors happy, and wasn't useful to the users. We had other documents that covered the information that were much more useful.