The Perfect QMS: One without a Quality Manager? (your opinion wanted!)


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hmm, I haven't been here often in the past few weeks. Interesting topic.

You do not have to have a quality manager; if your company culture is ready for that. We have never had quality managers, yet we manage to not only survive, but thrive in the market place. Your culture has to be one that not only places the responsibility by also the authority and accountabilty on the other depts to produce a quality product. That includes every step of the process from the first to the last contact with the customer. Each and every manager has to be a "quality" manager, or a manager of quality. Every supervisor must ensure that safety and quality are their number one priorities. Each employee must want to do the right thing by the customers/stakeholders.


Hi Juris,

Wow. So you've allready realized this, and apparently very succesfully as well. Pity it turns around and bites you in the @ss now.

I think what the auditors were hinting at was the fact that you are not really the management reprsentative, since everyone is a management representative so to say. I think they meant to say that you are not the one needed for providing "quality leadership", see my post above. Apparently there is sufficient quality leadership throughout your organization.

And with ISO co-ordinator they most probably mean the one responsible for the "quality manager tasks" as I defined them in my first post. That would still be a quality manager, but your tasks are a bit more operational in comparison to the "leadership" role.

I would suggest you start looking at the next level of development for the company. ISO 9001 is merely a station en route to operational excellence, so why stop here? I'd suggest you do some reading on the EFQM model ( I'd say you're company is ready for the next step, so keep challenging management. :whip:


Thanks Martijn,

Yes, I agree that our company could be ready for the next step. I have thought about this.
But I`m still thinking about the results of the last audit. We have made good decentralized quality management system (as I described in my previous post) and we include in our system all things not only quality management aspects, we have not categorized quality management from enterprise management before ....but we have made it now...(auditors mentioned that there is no clear distinction between quality system and enterprise system (I`m not cite, or something like that).
Sometimes I feel that we have made one step back or down (from more or less integrated system, where quality aspects is together with any other aspects, from system where is no distinction to system with clear border between systems).
Might be I`m wrong and actually we made one step back to make two steps forward. Clarity is good thing, it is possibly that clear border makes more understanding for personnel (and also for me :)) what is what.

Thanks for any ideas and comments.

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Paul Simpson

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In this case the question raised : what is Quality manager tasks and responsibilities? And does it still necessary have to have Quality manager in company with decentralized quality management system?
If still necessary - what he could do for system (that means what can I do:) ) ?
Is this what they said on the assessment or in the report? :confused:

If so they have gone beyond the normal bounds of what a 3rd party auditor is asked (or allowed by accreditation criteria) to do. :mad:

Are they an independent 3rd party?
It is strange feeling - when you try to make good system where everyone is in charge on their own activities (plays the role of Quality manager) and after you are successful (more or less) you have discovered that you are not "marketable" anymore :)
Now you may have done a good job of translating ISO requirements into what your radio station does - that does not mean you don't have a role in keeping people on side with audit / review / internal consultancy on changes to the system.

If all else fails you are still marketable in Latvia with your experience and knowledge of ISO! :agree1:

And auditors has mentioned to Top management - why your Quality manager is "quality manager" - it is quite enough having just ISO coordinator. After that our top management is still thinking what to do with me - lay off or not (to be or not to be).
Again if they have said this or written it they have gone outside their remit. If for any reason it has consequences for you then you have the basis for a complaint. Send them here if they want any advice!

I`am IRCA certificated auditor (trained according IRCA requirements) and I want to think that incentive advice coming from auditors was out of auditors ethical principles. But might be I`am wrong.

Auditor principles say you do not give specific advice or consultancy. If they are IRCA certified then get hold of their registration numbers either from the certification body or the IRCA web site here and complain to IRCA about unprofessional conduct.
P.S. BTW - English is my third language!
You are doing a fantastic job on this site, Juris, especially in your 3rd language. I can just order 2 beers (but in my 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th etc. languages). If I only want one beer then that is just too bad - the second one has to wait! :lol:

Paul Simpson

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Apart from a bit of a sub thread involving one of our members (see earlier) I believe it is every QM's responsibility to try and design a low maintenance QMS and deploy responsibilities to the most appropriate person in the organization.

Unless we do this and empower others within the organization we become the organization's dogsbody with limited responsibilities for:
  • Document control - the Dilbert "ISO Guy"
  • Walking behind the elephant doing the necessary clean up
Apart from anything else it's not a way I'd want to spend my day.

But, and it's a big but. If we have competent quality personnel able to think creatively about processes / ways of working and are able to describe this in effective documentation and communicate them effectively then we will have professionals that any organization would want to employ.

:topic:P.S. Anyone got a step to help me down off this high horse?


Thanks, Paul

It was 3rd part pre-audit according ISAS BC 9001:2003. The certification audit wiil take place on 5-7. december and will be conduct by DNV.

In assessment (public presentation according findings and suggestions) they mentioned that responsibilities and tasks of Quality manager "decrease" in decentralized QMS.

Auditors are professionals in media field and also in Quality - thats why I`m a little surprised according some "findings" and suggestions, especially, according quality manager "job title" , and necessity.
BTW - our company is certified according ISO since 2005 (that was my first experience in quality field).

According audit "findings" - "why your Quality manager is "quality manager" - it is quite enough having just ISO coordinator" - no it wasn`t written but oral discussion between auditors and top management. I have felt change in terms of dependability from Director General against me (And he mentioned "It looks that you are more coordinator as quality manager" :) ).



Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Is it really being the "conscience" of the company when it comes to quality? Being the person who says, this is not acceptable, I'm starting a product recall. The person that keeps moaning about the importance of proper incident investigation? The person that decides to stop using a supplier because of poor performance? Is this part of why these jobs exist. Being the policeman, the bogey man, the border guard that draws the line of what is acceptable and what not? The person that only costs money and never makes any? And if that is true, does this function truly exists because business management is not capable of doing these things, or is it just that they don't want to be too directly associated with these kind of issues that are generally perceived as "negative behavior"?
Maybe it's about conscience, and maybe it is simply a matter of being separate from the other departments and the forces that place their objectives in vital positions and quality as an outcome.

A good QM, on the other hand, has the doing all things well as his or her singular focus and is not measured with the production yardstick. Instead, ideally he/she would be measured with the effectiveness yardstick. I hope that makes sense.

A good QM is not supposed to be a shepherd, but is an internal consultant/facilitator/coach for such technical things as properly using the Seven Quality Management tools at the least, and more complex methods like ANOVA when needed. Since most college programs I know of do not teach these methods, we still need the subject matter experts--us.

If a QMS can be structured and maintained without the QM person, then that's excellent. But I have never met such an organization, perhaps due to the conflicts most managers would perceive between their productivity interests and quality management at some point. :2cents:


I posed a rhetorical question earlier; now I pose my opinion. Yes, I do believe you should have a functional QMS without a quality manager. I believe to maximize the effectiveness of the QMS, you will need a quality manager.

I believe why this is an interesting subject is the various roles/ responsibilities that have been thrusted upon quality managers. It's like the QMS is their child. Oh yes, others may interact with the "child", but in the end, the "parent" is responsible for the "child". So all suffer through the system. It's similar to many thinking HR should solve all management problems.

I think the QMS should be able to survive without a QM. But in reality, with people, culture, customers, regulatory pressure, etc. all circling the QMS, someone should be in a position to work all those components together.


As with so many other things, I think whether a 'Quality Manager' is required or not depends enormously on a number of factors, including the size of the organisation, the context, its degree of maturity in quality and management systems and the culture and leadership of the organisation.

I have seen, and continue to see, many highly effective organisations who do not have any role recognised as 'Quality Manager'. In almost every one of them, the Director, MD or CEO includes the key functions of that role in their role, sometimes delegating out some of the more clerical tasks to subordinate roles. In each case, they expect and hold everyone accountable for quality, and have particular expectiations of their executives/management team. Many, but not most are at the smaller and medium end of the size spectrum.


As with so many other things, I think whether a 'Quality Manager' is required or not depends enormously on a number of factors, including the size of the organisation, the context, its degree of maturity in quality and management systems and the culture and leadership of the organisation.


I think there's indeed overall consensus that maturity and strong quality culture / leadership enables an organization to be "quality-manager-less".

Can you please talk a bit further about size and context of an organization? How would you say this impacts the necessity of a quality manager?

thanks, Martijn
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