QMS (Quality Management System) Manual - The Boss Wants a 4 Page Manual - What to Do?

How many pages is your QMS Manual?

  • 1 to 5 Pages

    Votes: 6 3.7%
  • 6 to 10 Pages

    Votes: 11 6.8%
  • 11 to 15 Pages

    Votes: 17 10.6%
  • 16 to 20 Pages

    Votes: 21 13.0%
  • 21 to 25 Pages

    Votes: 21 13.0%
  • 25 to 30 Pages

    Votes: 12 7.5%
  • 31 to 35 Pages

    Votes: 15 9.3%
  • 36 to 40 Pages

    Votes: 15 9.3%
  • 41 to 45 Pages

    Votes: 9 5.6%
  • 46 to 50 Pages

    Votes: 8 5.0%
  • 51 to 60 Pages

    Votes: 18 11.2%
  • Resembles Juran's Handbook

    Votes: 6 3.7%
  • We have no manual per se

    Votes: 2 1.2%

  • Total voters
    161

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
Re: QMS (Quality Management System) Manual - The Boss Wants a 4 Page Manual - What to

You know, it's a funny thing. I am with a consulting client right now, working on a quality manual. The client and I decided it would be more useful to write a full 30 page manual. The reasoning is we will take the standard as a base, and revise/rewrite it in plain English and explain the requirements and their purposes. Many of the procedures will be incorporated into the manual. This way, employees will have a single document to go to to answer any questions they have related to ISO.

Further, we are going to combine ISO 14001 into it as well. Simple, clear and user friendly.

Now, whether someone writes a 3 page manual with 30 additional pages of procedures, or if they write a 33 page manual incorporating the procedures, is there really any difference? The only diff I see is my method will be one computer file, titled ISO manual, and everyone will be able to use and understand it. The other way there are 10-15 procedures, files, links and most of the time, way more complicated.

The important thing is they be written clearly, and easy to find. The rest of the discussion is silly. When Executives complainabout the number of pages, they are really complaining about the absence of any apparent value. The manuals need to be written to benefit the users.
I, for one, would be completely happy with a Quality Manual that didn't MENTION "ISO" anywhere at all, most especially in the title.

A Quality Manual is supposed to indicate how an organization is actually running its business, not how it complies to a Standard. Frankly, when you write about benefiting the users, what is more important - knowing the applicable ISO Standard clause, or how to produce products or services for the organization (which might just happen to have some documentation practices that fit in the ISO Standard?)

I've always been a little leery of folks whose PRIMARY intent in creating a Quality Manual is to make life easier for a third party auditor.

Can you give me a "shall" from any ISO Standard which says ISO has to be referenced within the Quality Manual?
 
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P

Pennington

Re: QMS (Quality Management System) Manual - The Boss Wants a 4 Page Manual - What to

The problem does lie in the family of standards for if they had made it abundantly clear that the right way to use them is to
(1) Design a system of managed processes that enables the organization to satisfy its stakeholders
(2) Document this system to the extent necessary to operate and manage these processes effectively
(3) Demonstrate, when required by customers, that this system meets the requirements of ISO 9001.

The 2008 version should have removed all requirements for documentation except those in clause 4.1.
 

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
Re: QMS (Quality Management System) Manual - The Boss Wants a 4 Page Manual - What to

...I am not sure everyone needs to know what the system standards require.

John
Thanks for your comment. In my opinion, it is worthwhile to document the ISO requirements somewhere. In my example, the procedures are embedded into the manual. It is difficult to get people to follow all the requirements if they are not defined and explained somewhere.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
Re: QMS (Quality Management System) Manual - The Boss Wants a 4 Page Manual - What to

Thanks for your comment. In my opinion, it is worthwhile to document the ISO requirements somewhere. In my example, the procedures are embedded into the manual. It is difficult to get people to follow all the requirements if they are not defined and explained somewhere.
Helmut,

Employees will use and improve their procedures if their leaders live by the requirements and the system that converts the needs of customers into cash in the bank.

Leaders monitoring processes will have employees taking procedures seriously.

Beyond new employee orientation, I am not sure of the efficacy of the manual in this regard.

John
 

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
Re: QMS (Quality Management System) Manual - The Boss Wants a 4 Page Manual - What to

Helmut,

Employees will use and improve their procedures if their leaders live by the requirements and the system that converts the needs of customers into cash in the bank.

Leaders monitoring processes will have employees taking procedures seriously.

Beyond new employee orientation, I am not sure of the efficacy of the manual in this regard.

John
Fully agree. However, employees cannot follow requirements if they don't know them. Unless they are communicated and/or documented, they won't know what they are.

In your model, it would appear they are defined in the procedures, in my model, they are defined in the manual/SOP's/handbook. I think it is all the same.
 
J

JaneB

Re: QMS (Quality Management System) Manual - The Boss Wants a 4 Page Manual - What to

All - if I had to summarise the main points from this lengthy thread, I'd say these:

  • Length of manual is immaterial - content and use is what's important
  • The 'right' length is the one that works in your organisation
  • A longer manual is not necessarily a good one; a shorter one can also be good
  • There are different types/styles/models of manual
  • The term 'quality manual' may mean different things to different people
  • There is no single right or wrong answer.
Opinions continue to vary on whether:
  • it is possible (let alone advisable) to have a '4-page manual' - see points above.
  • it is a Good or Useful Thing to interpret, rewrite or even simply regurgitate the contents of the relevant Standard(s) in a manual.
 
P

Pennington

Re: QMS (Quality Management System) Manual - The Boss Wants a 4 Page Manual - What to

Your points just about sum it up.
There is a place fora 4 page document describing your intentions with respect to quality, but calling it a manual might be inappropriate. Manuals tend to help people perform tasks like user manuals, maintenance manuals etc so a quality manual would suggest it helps people define, manage, congrol, assure and improve quality characteristics.

Personaly I don't think there is a need for any document that regurgetates the standard but there is a role for a document that responds to the requirements by describing how the requirements are satisfied or where in the system would one find alignment with the requirements - I would call this an Exposition not a Manual
 

Paul Simpson

Trusted Information Resource
Re: QMS (Quality Management System) Manual - The Boss Wants a 4 Page Manual - What to

You know, it's a funny thing. I am with a consulting client right now, working on a quality manual. The client and I decided it would be more useful to write a full 30 page manual. The reasoning is we will take the standard as a base, and revise/rewrite it in plain English and explain the requirements and their purposes.
Why?

I have said it before and no doubt will say it again. :notme: IMHO the requirements of ISO 9001 (or any other management system) have no place in a document intended for people working in the system. The manual has two purposes.
  1. To fulfil the requirements of the requirements standards (i.e. 4.2.2)
  2. Give an overview of the management system

A cross reference may be useful somewhere to show that all requirements have been covered - the organisation's call.

How do you decide how long the manual is going to be before you have designed the system? (Although see later for the comment on 'length' of manual). The general point is in designing a system the format shouldn't come before the content.

Many of the procedures will be incorporated into the manual. This way, employees will have a single document to go to to answer any questions they have related to ISO.
Does this not mean they will also have a lot of stuff in the 30 pages that has no meaning for them and they have to wade through the chaff to get to 'their' wheat?

Further, we are going to combine ISO 14001 into it as well. Simple, clear and user friendly.
As has been covered ad infinitum the requirements standards are irrelevant so long as the management system addresses the documentation requirements. The purpose of a documented system is to describe what the organisation does and this should automatically meet the requirements of the relevant standard(s).

Now, whether someone writes a 3 page manual with 30 additional pages of procedures, or if they write a 33 page manual incorporating the procedures, is there really any difference? The only diff I see is my method will be one computer file, titled ISO manual, and everyone will be able to use and understand it. The other way there are 10-15 procedures, files, links and most of the time, way more complicated.
I agree with the principle that size doesn't matter but it is what you do with it that counts!:lol:

Again, Helmut, you seem to imply that multiple files and links are easier - can you imagine the Cove as a single thread? :mg:

The important thing is they be written clearly, and easy to find. The rest of the discussion is silly. When Executives complainabout the number of pages, they are really complaining about the absence of any apparent value. The manuals need to be written to benefit the users.
Agreed.
 
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