Quality Policy - What does the Quality Policy mean to each person in the company

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#1
I saw the following and I couldn't help but post this. I was just with a client in New York and this came up. I told them that I have worked with some registrars that require employees to word-for-word read the quality policy and several that didn't require a word-for-word. I have seen the question "What does the quality policy mean to you?" asked.

Folks - what have you all seen??

--------snippo------

From: "Thompson, Robert" <[email protected]>
Subject: Q: Quality Policy /Thompson

We have recently been audited and the consultant asked personnel if they could repeat the company quality policy, a document which is 3/4 of a page long. When people could not recite this I argued that he was testing memory and not understanding of its philosophy. He did not agree. I went onto state that each of our system procedures is directly traceable back to the quality policy and surely by auditing the procedures, analysing the audit results and making any system changes/improvements the real test of understanding of the policy would be gained? Again he did not agree.

Am I being reasonable?

Robert

[This message has been edited by Marc Smith (edited 01-24-99).]
 
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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#2
From: Paul Palmes <[email protected]>
Subject: RE: Quality Policy /Thompson/Palmes

Robert,

You are being quite reasonable. At a previous company, where we also had a 1 page Quality Policy, the auditor recognized that no one was about to recite the whole thing! Instead, he simply asked certain employees what the Quality Policy meant to them. He got a whole range of answers, but the underlying themes were in keeping with the policy and he was therefore quite happy with the responses.

Good luck!

Paul
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#3
Most of the 'opinions' I have seen read along these lines:

------snippo-----

Subject: RE: Quality Policy

The standard requires that the quality policy be "understood, implemented, and maintained". I can't find anywhere that states is must be memorized. Once again we have an example of an auditor making the profession look bad.

It is perfectly acceptable for an auditor to ask "what is your quality policy". An acceptable response would be to show the auditor a written copy or even to read it to them.

Given the above scenario, as an auditor I would then ask your personnel to tell me in their own words what the quality policy means to them (test their UNDERSTANDING not their memorization). If the meaning was clear, even if the words were different, then I would be satisfied.

I would challenge this if I was in your shoes.

Shawn Mewborn, CQA, Provisional Lead Auditor

------snippo------

Subject: RE: Quality Policy

Robert,

I've run into this with auditors before, and based on my experience I'm going to take a "middle of the road" response - both you and the auditor have a point.

The standard does require the supplier to ensure that the quality policy is "understood, implemented and maintained at all levels of the organization"(4.1.1). This does NOT require all of your employees to memorize a 3/4 page policy. However, they should be aware of it and able to paraphrase, or give an interpretation as it applies to their particular job. Inferred awareness through knowledge of procedures is NOT sufficient. Otherwise why have the requirement? Any registered company could claim that their employees understand their quality policy because they've been trained to their procedures. Doesn't quite hit the mark.

Now, how we handled this in my facility was to come up with a "short version" of our Quality Policy that is a five-word sentence. This is posted on the bulletin board of every department, and last year we started adding it onto timeclock/ID badges. If an auditor asks if they know their company quality policy they can either point to the bulletin board, or if they have a newer badge, they can point to it on their badge. They can then tell the auditor what it means to them and how they perform their job. This has satisfied every assessment auditor I've had.

My 2 cents, a penny each for you and the auditor.

Melissa McCowen
ISO Coordinator
GE Ind. Systems MDC
 
D

Don Winton

#4
Given the above scenario, as an auditor I would then ask your personnel to tell me in their own words what the quality policy means to them (test their UNDERSTANDING not their memorization). If the meaning was clear, even if the words were different, then I would be satisfied.
I have always taken this approach. The policy must be understood. If an employee can show he understands the concept or intent, that should be fine. The idea of ‘their own words’ is probably most acceptable.

Regards,
Don
 

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
#5
My favorite trick is to have a contest....prize being 'premo parking for a month' or what ever the company wants to offer up...Write a slogan, phrase, ditty etc on what the QP means ...bring it home. post the winning entry.....have pens made and pass them out, everyone sign it...hang in lobby. Then the day before the audit, at the 'rally' meeting pass them out again and explain that all they need to do is point to the pen !!!! TA DA....never misses
 

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
#6
some companies even put the slogan in the footer of all the documents.


Best story was when the auditor asked the prize winner the Qp question !!! he got an earful and didn't ask anyone else
 

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
Admin
#7
I don't think I could recite the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America, but I think I could give you the gist of it. Does this mean that I am not a citizen (a good one anyway)? Yet I can remember readings from conversational spanish from the 8th grade. I can say them pretty well, but I couldn't tell you what I was saying. I believe you need to understand the essence of a topic (Quality Policy), and so I put very little stock into memorization (total memorization). More important to know the key words or phrases and relate them to the program or the system. Back to the group...
 
J

Jennifer

#8
It is interesting that this came up. We have had several auditors (same company), and each auditor handles the QP slightly different.

Our first auditor asked what the Quality Policy was - if someone could recite it word for word, he pretty much left them alone. (He didn't want someone to read it though - he "wasn't testing their reading ability".) If someone tried to state what it meant, he grilled them for about 5 minutes until he was satisfied that they understood it.

Our second auditor asked what the Quality Policy meant - if someone tried to read it off a posting or recite it word for word, he stated that he didn't want to know if they could read or memorize, he wanted to know if they knew what it meant and how it applied to their job.

I now instruct our people to know it both ways - word for word and to be able to parapharase what it means and how it applies to their job. This way they won't be caught off guard, what ever response the auditor is looking for.
 
D

Don Winton

#9
We have had several auditors (same company), and each auditor handles the QP slightly different.
Perhaps the training program should be looked into. For example, see:
http://Elsmar.com/ubb/Forum13/HTML/000013.html
if someone could recite it word for word
The standard states:

The supplier shall ensure that this policy is understood, implemented and maintained at all levels of the organization.
I believe the key word here is ‘understood’. I do not believe that the employees must be able to recite the policy, nor should they know it word for word. As my assessor put it:

...know the intent and be able to point it out if “needed.
I now instruct our people to know it both ways - word for word and to be able to paraphrase what it means and how it applies to their job.
That is fine, but not required. As stated before, the policy must be “understood, implemented and maintained.” I would not require my employees to memorize it word fro word nor would I require they be able to sign it as a statement of understanding. I suggest this:

When an assessor asks about the policy, the employee should be able to explain its intent and how it applies to their function. If additional details are requested from the assessor, the guide should step in and request why!

Just thoughts.

Regards,
Don

[This message has been edited by Don Winton (edited 02-13-99).]
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#10
Realism Around The World: 101

------snippo----

Subject: Quality Policy
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 04:23:20 PST
From: "Mahesh Kumar Ghai" <[email protected]>
To: [email protected]

Here in India, we have another problem, we have many states and ach state has its own language and script. Therefore, what I have done so far is to translate the QP into vernacular. Now every time you translate the translation is not conveying the meaning conveyed by English language QP. I have to ask the employees to try and remember it verbatim, more so at shopfloor level, where literacy rate is practically nil. for this I have had Bible periods before lunch break every day prior to third party audit. I had displayed QP in vernacular all over the place and in BIG FONTS so that a chap could read it without glasses from a distance of 7 to 9 feet. Further I made pocket cards with QP on it. All were told that if questioned about QP, they should look at the board and read it aloud or take out their card and read it out to Auditor. Well, one thing was definite outcome, the auditor never asked a shopfloor operator as to What QP meant to him.

Otherwise this question of what QP means to each person in the company can be very confusing, it is like" LOVE means different things to different people".

Regards

Ghai

--------snippo------

An interesting FYI:

Languages -->

Paupa New Guinea - 817 languages
Indonesia - 712
Nigeria - 470
India - 407
Mexico - 289
Cameroon - 279
Australia - 234
Congo - 221
China - 205

Ethnologe: Languages of the World, 13th Edition (1996)

NOTE: You can now easily figure out:

population/# of languages

for a diversity indicator.

[This message has been edited by Marc Smith (edited 02-24-99).]
 
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