SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for Form and Document Approvals

H

huntdux

#1
I just started at a new job. My title is QE/ISO Coordinator and my primary role is to create, implement and maintain the ISO system. My question is, as the Coordinator and also the author of most of the documents, do I need to have someone else approve simple forms and procedures? The policy manual, etc. is obvious, but I have other items waiting for approval that could be in use and building my audit trail. Thanks in advance for your guidance.

Brad
 
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Ninja

Looking for Reality
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#2
Re: SOP for Form and Document approvals

Is it not the company (perhaps just you in this case) who decides what level of approval is needed and how many?

It looks like you are trying to jump start a system. A single approval (yours) may indeed be appropriate for accomplishing that...but what about the people who actually have to follow said SOP's? It might be better to involve them in the approval process.
More work this way? Yep, a little. More time taken? Yep, a little. But how will the people following the SOP's react when the new guy gives them a document on how to do their tasks, or what SOPs to follow?

Regarding the approvals, you are required to do what you require yourself to do. Have a good think about the balance between ISO compliance and certification vs. what makes practical (useful) business sense in the company. You have a choice between a certificate as a paper on the wall and a quality system as a corporate culture. The initial system build that you are tasked with is a great opportunity to start/continue/refocus the culture change. Your job can be much more than a detail oriented paper pusher...if you take advantage of the opportunities like this one.

You could require Department Directors (or whatever they're called at your place) to sign off on the SOP's to document their buy-in. In that way, you can pull out their signature later when they disagree with the way it is written. I hope it never comes to that for you...but it often does..."Nominal buy-in" is not rare.

JMO
 
H

huntdux

#3
Re: SOP for Form and Document approvals

Counting myself, we have a total of four people with any ISO experience. As each form is drafted, I have reviewed it with the managers and employees who will be using it. I decided it was a good way to familiarize them with the document and the ISO system. It is also helping build concensus and buy in. As far as procedures, the appropriate managers will sign off on those. Thanks for the input.

Brad
 

SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Trusted Information Resource
#4
First of all, you may want to rethink that "I will be the author of most documents" thing, as that seriously does not work well in most cases. If you want to be the scribe and put the information into written form, fine. If you start writing documents telling people how to do their job (which the probably have a whole lot more experience doing than you do, honestly) you will not have near the buy in and ownership. Take the documentation process out to where the work is done.

Next, approvals. Of course it will be fine if you approve the documents. Just make sure that you document what you are going to do and follow through with it. You may want to, again, get yourself some ownership and buy in from your folks by assigning someone (supervisor?) from the area to approve documents, along with yourself. That way you have someone intimate to the process reviewing the nuts and bolts of the job along with yourself who can review the documents with an eye towards "does this meet the intent of the standard". It's a win-win, buy in plus accuracy.
 
H

huntdux

#5
Your choice of "scribe" is a better term. I'm crazy, but not crazy enough to attempt the scenario you described. I interview, collect information, process map then sit down with the primary users to have them review and give input. We go through as many iterations as needed to be sure the documents are accurate and everyone is comfortable with them. I've seen the fallout when engineers tried telling people how to do their jobs and I want no part of it.
As far as approval, I just wanted a little reassurance that there would be no conflict of interest in the eyes of an auditor. That and my manager is looking for a way to speed the approval process due to his workload...

Brad
 

SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Trusted Information Resource
#6
Your choice of "scribe" is a better term. I'm crazy, but not crazy enough to attempt the scenario you described.
You'd be surprised at how many people/companies expect one person to write all the procedures/work instructions. I'm glad you are not one of them!:agree1:
 

Ninja

Looking for Reality
Trusted Information Resource
#7
Your choice of "scribe" is a better term.

That and my manager is looking for a way to speed the approval process due to his workload...
Have a think on this, though....

If one person can approve it, one person can change it later.
Do you have anything going into the approval process that notifies the original author that Joe Smith just rewrote the SOP?

You seem to be handling it pretty reasonably. What about the next guy?

You might consider two approvals: One being the previous author (if available) and the other being at "X" management level or above.
Note: leave the "(if available)" in there...bad stuff happens otherwise when you retire...

Just thinkin' out loud...
 
H

huntdux

#8
I won't be writing all of them, but I will write (read: adapt) the majority after I review the existing documents and collect any additional information. I will definitely be editing all of them. Content goes without saying, but I tend to exhibit mild to moderate (depending on the egregiousness of the mistakes) OCD tendencies when it comes to spelling and grammar. In this line of work, it serves me well.
Brad
 
H

huntdux

#9
The Document Change Request I designed requires signatures of the Document Control clerk and the managers of all departments affected by the document being changed. Adding a line for the original author will be an easy fix. Thanks for the suggestion.
Brad
 
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