Rebuilding Quality Manual to be more relevant to our business

O

orrinxu

#1
Hi All,

I've recently been given the task to rewrite our quality manual to be more relevant to our business whilst being in conformance of ISO9001.

We are already ISO9001 certified but I want to take our company to the next step where we aren't just trying to meet a standard but trying to increase profits of the company. Just wondering how should I go about this while conforming to the accreditation?

Is ISO9001 just a framework we work against? Or do we need to retain certain things in the standard within the manual to maintain conformity? For example, SPC (Statistical Process Control) is not as relevant in our business as we do not push enough volume for it to be worthwhile. However in the standard, it refers to capturing statistical anamolies (which we don't do anyway). Is this a requirement for conformance or not?

I may have bet my boss that within 2 weeks I will produce an improved quality manual or I will quit.

Cheers for anyones help

Thanks,
Oz

EDIT: I just wanted to add that our current quality manual is word for word the ISO9001 standard. My boss's reasoning is that, that is the standard therefore we must conform to it. I really want to help the business improve (Company culture aside) and i'm willing to put my job on the line for it.
 
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S

SuperGirl

#2
Two weeks is not a lot of time to prove, through data, that any changes you make to your Quality Manual make it better than your current...

To maintain certification to the ISO standard, you need to show that your company complies with the clauses of the standard. But, how you comply is up to the company. In my experience the best way to improve the system (since it seems that you have management support), is to go through your current processes, discuss them with the people that they are relevant to (for example, if you want to improve customer service processes, talk to the customer service people) get their input on what is going good and what they see are areas that can improve upon.
 

normzone

Trusted Information Resource
#3
" I may have bet my boss that within 2 weeks I will produce an improved quality manual or I will quit.

EDIT: I just wanted to add that our current quality manual is word for word the ISO9001 standard. My boss's reasoning is that, that is the standard therefore we must conform to it. I really want to help the business improve (Company culture aside) and i'm willing to put my job on the line for it. "

YOU ARE DOOMED, QUIT NOW! :) No, seriously, I know what you're up against. What all of the other posters say is correct, follow their advice.

Two weeks? Interview a handful of key players, create a plan and show it to your boss. That can be your two week deliverable.

I just inherited a system where my predecessor just cut/pasted from both ISO 9000/AS9100 wherever he wasn't sure what to do or couldn't get buy-in from the process owners.

You can do that kind of thing occasionally if you have processes in place to back it up, but you're not fooling anybody who knows the standard.

This is a bigger project than you can accomplish in two weeks though.
 
Last edited:

hogheavenfarm

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
Yup, two weeks is a short time. As some added advice, look ahead to some of the proposed ISO 9001 :2015 changes and try to incorporate some of that as well. If your QM is written clause by clause, note that the new format will be completely different than the old one, and note that having a QM is not even mentioned. I have incorporated much of the upcoming Risk management and analysis into our current manual, just to get ahead of the curve a bit.
 

Pancho

wikineer
Super Moderator
#5
... our current quality manual is word for word the ISO9001 standard. My boss's reasoning is that, that is the standard therefore we must conform to it. I really want to help the business improve (Company culture aside) and i'm willing to put my job on the line for it.
If your current manual is the standard itself, then your task is much easier than it seems.

The manual, and the procedures referred by it, should help you run the business. Do your company's employees use the manual for anything other than audits? If not (and chances are it isn't if it is a copy of the standard) then the manual is not helping.

Add a little information, any information, that will actually help someone do their job better. Draw a flowchart of how your processes interrelate that does reflect how your business actually works. Or if that's done, then take any key undocumented process and write a description of that process. Or if the key processes are all documented, then document an undocumented procedure. You could even take a picture of someone doing their job the right way and create a work instruction for that task. Any of those will improve your manual over what you currently have. And you can likely do that in one day, not two weeks.

Improvement hardly ever happens in single bounds to the top of a mountain. Big leaps are costly, difficult, frequently fruitless and occasionally life-threatening. But improvement does come from lots of consistent little steps to climb the improbable mountain.

One of those small but hugely important improvement steps might come from a review of your CAPA process. If you must currently go through a laborious process to effect any small change, then a great opportunity is in front of you. Make it so that it is easy to improve your processes and your documentation. Make it so that easy improvement applies to your quality manual. If you do so, then your manual and your processes will improve rapidly, hand in hand, even as each single improvement is only a baby step. Encourage many of those. Soon your manual will indeed increase profits for your company.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#6
Hi All,

I've recently been given the task to rewrite our quality manual to be more relevant to our business whilst being in conformance of ISO9001.

We are already ISO9001 certified but I want to take our company to the next step where we aren't just trying to meet a standard but trying to increase profits of the company. Just wondering how should I go about this while conforming to the accreditation?

Is ISO9001 just a framework we work against? Or do we need to retain certain things in the standard within the manual to maintain conformity? For example, SPC (Statistical Process Control) is not as relevant in our business as we do not push enough volume for it to be worthwhile. However in the standard, it refers to capturing statistical anamolies (which we don't do anyway). Is this a requirement for conformance or not?

I may have bet my boss that within 2 weeks I will produce an improved quality manual or I will quit.

Cheers for anyones help

Thanks,
Oz

EDIT: I just wanted to add that our current quality manual is word for word the ISO9001 standard. My boss's reasoning is that, that is the standard therefore we must conform to it. I really want to help the business improve (Company culture aside) and i'm willing to put my job on the line for it.

Oz,

You could start with a single spreadsheet page "ISO 9001 conformity matrix" where you show the clause numbers against the doc codes of your QMS docs (omit forms and instructions in favor of their mother procedures). This is the only part of your manual that is designed to help the auditor (make it an attachment to the manual).

Then, using the language of the employees and the present tense, describe your organization and how it works as a system to satisfy customer requirements. Focus on what is done to prevent problems. Your flowchart, showing how your organization interacts with its customers and suppliers in getting work, doing work and getting paid. This flowchart will also show the sequence and interaction of the processes in your system.

Avoid saying shall or will as this language suggests it is not already happening at it can be off putting to read. Simply describe what actually happens when the leaders lead, managers enable others to meet requirements, supervisors supervise and operators work to add value while preventing loss.

Mention how the processes are monitored and corrected as necessary to meet requirements and to result in conforming products. Explain how the organization learns from nonconformity and removes the root causes of the most costly nonconformities.

Lastly, describe internal auditing but make it clear that the audits are of the system that is meant to be helping employees to meet requirements; not auditing of the employees.

Avoid ISOeze and say, for example, "stopping recurrence of nonconformity" instead of "corrective action" so the reader is in no doubt what is going on. The five main headings of the standard aren't too bad but I would say Leadership instead of Management Commitment, for example, to normalize the language.

Fewer that ten pages should be enough to describe your management system and to take care of any gaps not covered by your conformity matrix.

John
 
R

Road Warrior

#8
A problem with posting a standard is that in generic terms, you're saying 'Here - you do it'. If your company embraces a standard from the top down, and has already done the work to conform to the standard, your manual is essentially a documentation of the processes that keep you compliant (accounting processes, quality processes, HR processes, production processes, etc.). Since your focus is limited to an internal QAM, your focus will obviously be on quality processes (shop floor, lab, quality office, launch coordinator's office, process engineer's office, product designer's office, etc.). So identify their primary processes that support quality, and document them - you should simply be transferring their process documentation into your quality document, as they are the process owners - you just assemble and manage the manual. Time for the organization to work for you. :whip:
 
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