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Quality Manual Organization and Structure including Numbering

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

  • Organized and numbered like ISO 9001.

    Votes: 39 60.0%
  • Organized, but NOT numbered like ISO 9001

    Votes: 17 26.2%
  • We 'Rolled Our Own' (Please comment how so in a Reply)

    Votes: 9 13.8%

  • Total voters

Laura M

Thanks for the comments.

Not for nothing, I think I would be 'bored' if I brought a 'cookie cutter' repeat the standard QM to a client and cut and paste company names and titles. I almost take each new client as an opportunity to continuously improve the product I deliver. I also tell them that they won't receive a manual that looks like their neighbors manual from me. It will be their own and should reflect a little about the personality of the company too. I'm in the middle of a situation right now where the client 'purchased' their QM and procedures. Unfortunately, telling them to start with a blank sheet of paper seems a little rude, but I think it would be easier than the modifications needed to the documents they have.

Al Rosen

Staff member
Super Moderator
Cari Spears said:
As I am quickly learning!

Also - I'll add that I too agree with Laura. Our manual is 14 pages and this includes a cover page and table of contents. While I did not stick with the minimum requirements, I too refused to regurgitate the standard when I re-wrote our manual for 9k2k.

Our manual outline:
page 1 - cover page
page 2 - table of contents
page 3 - introduction / company history
page 4 - scope, issue and distribution, revision record
page 5 - the quality policy and some verbage describing policy enforcement, internal communication and the management representatives responsibilities.
page 6 - objectives and indicators
page 7 - org chart and some verbage describing our infrastructure
page 8 - our highest level process interaction diagram (based on PDCA)
page 9 - customer focus verbage describing how various functions interact wth the customer in order to ensure requirements are communicated to affected functions and process control documents
page 10 - "Business Planning and Management Review" process diagram
page 11 - verbage that expands on the BP&MR diagram
page 12 - "APQP and Product Realization" process diagram
page 13 - verbage that expands on the APQP&PR diagram
page 14 - a list of level two procedures

I have decided that I am going to write another manual for the FAA stuff rather than put it together - I think. We do work in a lot of different market segments. Is there anyone else out there who is in our situation? Did you write two separate manuals?

You may have different procedures for different products, but you have one company, one system and, I would think, one manual. :2cents:


I always "Roll my Own". I have written over 10 Quality Manuals and I never just regurgitate the standard. I always spend time learning the companies processes and then map them out and write What we actually do in the procedures. Then I will audit What we actually do to the standard. This is when we find out where our processes may be lacking in their compliance. When I write the procedures, I reference the applicable requirements of the standard. When an auditor asks how we are complying with a certain requirement, I can point out a referenced procedure and say this is What we actually do.

Most inexperienced auditors prefer the organized and numbered like ISO because they want to use the checklist approach to auditing.
The more experienced auditors prefer the What we actually do approach.


Unique quality manuals

I believe that the quality manual should be as unique as the implementing organization is from others. Quoting verbatim from the standard takes away the "thrill" of doing it.

Besides, the minimum requirements for the quality manual are very easy to adhere to. Tis best to be creative in documenting the quality manual while ensuring that the salient points are documented appropriately.

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Staff member
Super Moderator
Re: ISO 9001 Quality Manual Organization and Structure including Numbering

I guess the bottom line here is that the Organization should determine the numbering system and structure.

The numbering system can be as complex or as simple as your company wants it to be. If your company feels that they want to quote ISO9001:2000 in their policy manual then that would be their choice, regardless on how a third party registrar's auditor feels. The bottom line is: Is the documented QMS and they way the business is run, in compliance, and effective to the requirements from which they seek?

Coury Ferguson
Last edited:


Re: ISO 9001 Quality Manual Organization and Structure including Numbering

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.
I would love to see how you have done this. I am sure this will make auditing a **** of a lot easier. Pierre


Involved In Discussions
Our is an Integrated Management Systems Manual and is structured with 3 sections; Management and Resource Management, Production and/or Service Requirements (some of our companies do not manufacture); Measurables, Monitoring and Analysis.

Each section incorporates quality, environmental and health & safety requirements to be met and adhered.

I am just now completing a matrix to show the standards or specifications requirements for each section of the manual.


Britman - 2012

Have just offered my "Quality Manaul" to the external auditor - its contained on one page and only ref to ISO9001 is in the heading stating the clauses 1.2, 4.1, 4.2.1, 4.2.2 & 5.2.

The one page states our Scope with no stated exclusions, the method of support to the QMS - 4 Tier, and and "flow process" of interaction and reference to our procedures within the interactions - covers all requirements of Clause 4.2.2.

His comments were positive and approving.

Have now prepared the one page "Environmental Manaul" and awaiting the external auditors comments.
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