Quality Manual Organization and Structure including Numbering

Is Your Company's 'Quality' Manual....

  • Organized and numbered like ISO 9001.

    Votes: 40 60.6%
  • Organized, but NOT numbered like ISO 9001

    Votes: 17 25.8%
  • We 'Rolled Our Own' (Please comment how so in a Reply)

    Votes: 9 13.6%

  • Total voters


Fully vaccinated are you?
As I have made no bones about, I see a Quality Manual (which I prefer to call a Systems Manual) as a regurgitation of the standard with some 'company specific comments' and references to the fulfilling company procedures.

I have seen many write about 'making the quality manual yours' and such. I'm not sure I've seen such a manual in many years. Thus - the reason for the Poll.

Comments in replies are welcomed, but please take a minute and 'Vote' in the poll, too. Thanks!

EDIT ADD: Just to clarify things, when I started this thread it was 2001 - It was at the end of the days when auditors said "Show me where you address this in your quality manual and procedures." In the 'good old days' you would earn yourself a writeup if something was not addressed within the manual even if you did not do that (by exclusion or whatever).

It is now 2004 so many things have changed, one of which is quality manual content expectations. Thus, my initial comment above is no longer is 'true'.
Last edited:
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Jim Biz

Our situation

Marc - for our 9002;1994 version "Q manual" - 1st draft we began by using our own numbering system... Our outside consultant - advized against this - because it would "tend to confuse external auditors" and they don't like to L :eek::eek: K around" for what they want to see ...

It really made no difference to us what the numbers were - and after 3 years - probably the ISO rep and lead auditor are the only ones that can list them or toss out a number in a conversation and understand what they were talking about anyway - without looking at an index.

It was the section and procedure titles that we felt important..
Every section that we intended to "make our own" in the 'Q Policy tier 1 manual.. was challenged by our external regestrar folks anyway...

Each change was made as they requested with the 'Improvement comment" - Manual can be clarified by aligning section to - (word for word) standards language.

We found that the effort/opportunity to "taylor" documentation to our actions was left for tier 2 "procedures manual"

Laura M

Quality Manual

Aack - Marc, I hate ones that are a regurgitation of the standard. The first one I wrote was in company language, although I did give it 20 sections. I used paragraph forms, addressing all the requirements inserting procedure references as necessary. I do not know if it still exists that way. I think much of the regurigitated statements should be covered in procedures. I also dislike 'canned' ones - maybe because that's how they look.

They definately make auditing easier for the auditor, but whose manual is it - the auditor or the company? I also think the new standard helps the company write "their manual" - defining their processes, and again references to procedures as appropriate.

Regurgitations are easier, but I just don't like 'em.


Quite Involved in Discussions
I agree with Marc most tier 1 QMs are a spit back of the standard subing your company name and adding the reference to the tier 2 System procedures. 4.1 and 4.2 is where you add a little detail. I think the new standard reconized this and most companies will reduce the Number of pages in the QM. Save a tree and disk space
But what about additional QS req. I have?

I have such a regurgitated manual for ISO 9K2K and I did run into my registrar wanting some detail for 4.2.2 c which I am working on satisfying with a flow chart. However he flatly refused to entertain the thought of incorporating our QS requirements in with the new QM. I have to cover both ISO 9K2K & QS9000 but I see no way to do it without a double QM. ANy suggestions while I wait on clarification from my registrar?:eek:


Fully vaccinated are you?
A double set of manuals is silly, IMHO. I cannot guess why the registrar would 'flatly refuse' a single manual.


Super Moderator
Trusted Information Resource
I agree, double manuals just don't make sense. While I am a firm believer that we should listen to our registrars and use their knowledge to drive improvement within our systems, I just cannot find a way to justify what they are telling you? Where is the added value in maintaining two sets of books? ...in some circles that would be considered illegal;) oops, my sarcasm is running high today :)

There comes a time (or several) in every quality manager's career when he must stand up to the registrar and say "that's just not right!" This may be one of those times for you. What is the worst thing that can happen? If they won't work with you, find someone who will. Not a perfect solution, but you are the customer in this case, and it is their job to satisfy your needs.

Have a good one!

James Gutherson

Our QM is not an actual document, but an Intranet Site.

There is no actual numbering, but it is structured around the work that we do, our products. The intranet site provides the L1 documentation, with a cross reference section showing the mapping to IsO9K:2K, as well as background information on our functions. It is designed so that the user can drill down, getting more and more information as required, until they reach the flowchart of the specific procedure (there are also quick links to get you straight to the flow chart).

The intranet site also provides a one stop shop for quick access to the Documents database, the CAR database, and the IA system, as well as all the operational databases and systems.

Yes it is more work for the auditors, and for me convincing them that everything is covered, but it makes much more sence to the people who actually have to use it day to day.


Here is what I did with my quality manual:

1) first I copied the entire standard from clause 1 through 8.
2) then I inserted references to our existing tier 2 procedures and inserted our company name in all the right places.
3) even though it is not required, I created a flow chart that displayed our business (engineering services) processes from getting contracts in the front to delivering products at the end. Within each block of the PMT (process mapping tree) I placed a referrence number to the 9001:2000 standard and the corresponding tier 2 procedure(s). When completed, the PMT shows how my company does business through 7 core processes ... not how the standard is layed out. (I can look at a copy of the standard if I want to see that.)
4) Then I cut and pasted and rearranged the entire quality manual to realign each section with my PMT instead of the standard clauses. The section numbers in the manual now match those 7 core processes shown in the PMT. I did leave a reference number in each section that points to the appropriate clause of the standard for those inquisitive employees and auditors.
5) Last I created a cross-reference matrix just for the external auditors to use to find their way around.

What I am left with is a quality manual that clearly is aligned with the daily business processes performed by the employees ... not aligned with the ISO standard in a clause by clause sequence.

I wanted to make our QMS transparent to the employees as they performed their daily tasks so in some sence they could follow the QMS without a whole lot of trouble. Aligning the manual with the standard only makes it easy on the auditor, not those who use the system on a day in and day out basis. My manual meets the stated requirements of 4.2.2 ... so I'm not worried about any surveillance audits.

If the standard is truely all about process, customer satisfaction and improvement then getting the employees to "buy-in" and embrace the QMS as part of their daily routine is my overall objective ... not making it easy on an auditor who only uses our QMS twice a year.


Consulting quality Manual

I writing a quality manual for a consulting company...they are very small and only consult to the food industry..(fresh produce consulting to be exact) and I was curious if anyone has written a Quality Manual for a strickly consulting only business....I am trying to keep this as simple as possible....This would probably entale eliminating all of section seven?...or maybe just keeping the 7.5.1, 7.5.2 Service provision items...no production provision....I could probably get this whole manual into several pages and the make the OPS just a couple all inclusive documents...?

Marc..I know you are a consultant....are you ISO registered...? if so did you keep it as simple as possible?

Any help would be greatly appreciated....
As always this site seems to keep providing great insight into some cloudy areas!!!

Chris S.
Wisconsin:D :D
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