The Quality "Policy" - How does it differ from other company policies?

M

mirrorcrax

#1
i was conducting training and was discussing how the Quality Policy needs to be established in a manner which provides a framework for setting Quality Objectives, one of the participants wa however confused, especially with the 9001's use of the word "Policy" in the "Quality Policy" as the vehicle for communicating the Quality directive, when "Policies" are commonly used in other management courses as a method of control following the identification of the overall company objectives ......

attempting to explain that 9001's "Quality Policy" requirements are basically to clarify the directives towards Quality and clarify and enforce Top Management Commitment, and doesn't have t o be labelled as a "Policy" but such requirements can also be met through meeting the requirements in the context of the vision and mission statement , was too confusing for the participant, and he was hardly convinced with establishing a policy first then objectives.

what are your thoughts on this, do you think there's any conflict between 9001's policy and the common policies such as those to govern purchasing, customer care and others.

I want to hear from you if you faced such a case, and how you make sense of it all.
 
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Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
#2
i was conducting training and was discussing how the Quality Policy needs to be established in a manner which provides a framework for setting Quality Objectives, one of the participants wa however confused, especially with the 9001's use of the word "Policy" in the "Quality Policy" as the vehicle for communicating the Quality directive, when "Policies" are commonly used in other management courses as a method of control following the identification of the overall company objectives ......

attempting to explain that 9001's "Quality Policy" requirements are basically to clarify the directives towards Quality and clarify and enforce Top Management Commitment, and doesn't have t o be labelled as a "Policy" but such requirements can also be met through meeting the requirements in the context of the vision and mission statement , was too confusing for the participant, and he was hardly convinced with establishing a policy first then objectives.

what are your thoughts on this, do you think there's any conflict between 9001's policy and the common policies such as those to govern purchasing, customer care and others.

I want to hear from you if you faced such a case, and how you make sense of it all.
I find the term "Quality Policy" (or "Environmental Policy" for that matter), to be tossed around a lot, but mostly misunderstood. I think the point is simple, but powerful. Top Management has to set a policy, a statement of commitment, and insist that everyone marches to it.

For example, in the 1990's, Ford's "Quality Policy" was "Quality is Job 1." All the employees knew the policy, but the policy was hollow since they had all those problems with tires on the Explorer. Top Mgt. apparently did not really adhere to the "Quality is Job 1," and I expect the employees knew it. I would propose, it set Ford back 10 years against Toyota.

That is why Deming was against policies, if they were just slogans without commitment.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#3
The difference is...Quality Policy has a definition

ISO 9000:2005 - 3.2.4 quality policy

overall intentions and direction of an organization (3.3.1) related to quality (3.1.1) as formally expressed by top management (3.2.7)

NOTE 1 Generally the quality policy is consistent with the overall policy of the organization and provides a framework for the setting of quality objectives (3.2.5).

NOTE 2 Quality management principles presented in this International Standard can form a basis for the establishment of a quality policy. (See 0.2.)
 
J

JaneB

#4
Randy said it all. I like his approach - go back to the official sources, ie, the Standard and in this case its related definition in ISO 9000.

Any kind of policy establishes (or should) the intentions & direction of an organisation on a particular topic. The quality one relates to quality. (And yes 9000 has a def. for that too).

But - and here's the catch - if a business has something that it calls a Vision statement (or a Mission statement or whatever) AND it covers what is required, then that's fine. You don't have to have something with the official title of 'Quality Policy'. And any competent auditor will accept that Bloggs' Vision statement = their Quality Policy (provided of course, as always, that it covers the requirements).
 
S

Sam4Quality

#5
Originally Posted by JaneB


You don't have to have something with the official title of 'Quality Policy'. And any competent auditor will accept that Bloggs' Vision statement = their Quality Policy (provided of course, as always, that it covers the requirements).
Pardon my difference in opinion here, Jane. Sincerely speaking, I would NOT accept any document covering the requirements of a Quality Policy, coming straight from the ISO standards clause 5.3 with 5 sub-clauses and misnamed 'Vision Statement'.

Well, the point is not only of simply 'whats in a name', it is also the fact that doing so is actually diluting the standards requirement. I would not call a vision statement a quality policy, however, a quality policy may include the vision statement.

I may well have agreed with you, if the company was not adhering to the quality standards, and they have a 'Vision Statement' with the standards quality policy incorporated in it!

Ciao. :cool:

______________________________
Sincerely, SAM

"To achive the impossible, it is precisely the unthinkable that must be thought!"
 
M

mirrorcrax

#6
Thanks everybody for your reply.... however, i was meaning to hear from you on any possible conflicts / confusion which had occurred in the usage of 9001 of the term "policy" to describe direction when in strategic management it is actually part of the controls and laws which are established as a second step following the establishment of the general direction.

I mean the participant had a valid point .... one company not implementing 9001 would normally establish vision, mission, then objective then controls including policies and procedures to achieve its vision and mission, but in ISO9001, you establish the Quality Policy and then the Objectives, though the order of establishing either is not indicated int he standard but it is inferred when stating that the Quality Policy should provide a framework for setting objectives, has TC176 used the word "Policy" in 9001 inappropriately?
 

JoCam

Trusted Information Resource
#7
"A policy is typically described as a deliberate plan of action to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome(s). However, the term may also be used to denote what is actually done, even though it is unplanned."

I can't see how this definition of "policy" together with the definition of "Quality Policy" in the standard, as highlighted by Randy, can be misunderstood. I have never experienced this kind of confusion amongst persons I've trained in management systems and the associated policies.

Jo
 
M

mirrorcrax

#8
Jo,

Thanks so much for your reply,
i think the confusion stems from "which comes first", maybe this sounds alot like the chicken and the egg thing but please bare with me....

Based on 9001's requirements of the "Quality Policy" and its definition, it is a general directive which also provides a framework for setting objectives which may translate to:

The Quality Policy = "Our Customers are the key factor in all our decisions"
following which Objectives may follow such as:
" Completing an opinion survey for product x in y region for customer classes A, B and C by the end of June 2009 to identify the general acceptance of our customers"
but then "policies" may follow regarding the surveying steps such as
"Equal Representation, Customer Care, .....etc."

in another scenario the general directive is described as follows:

You have a vision and mission, then objectives "which don't necessarily have to be measurable" then you have targets then policies regarding such targets

so you see the confusion i'm talking about with the usage of the word "policy" especially when it can mean directive or bylaws and may be for planned or unplanned events.

It's like saying .... an elephant is a mammal and will give birth but may lay eggs too, you know?
 

SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Trusted Information Resource
#9
I'm confused about the confusion.:confused: A policy is simply a statement, written or otherwise, that spells out some sort of belief system. I have an unwritten policy in my life to buy groceries for those persons standing outside the grocery store begging for money if they choose the groceries over nothing. My company has a no weapons policy. We also have a quality policy. All of these policies spell out what I, or my company, holds for expectations from ourselves, or others.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#10
Pardon my difference in opinion here, Jane. Sincerely speaking, I would NOT accept any document covering the requirements of a Quality Policy, coming straight from the ISO standards clause 5.3 with 5 sub-clauses and misnamed 'Vision Statement'.

"To achive the impossible, it is precisely the unthinkable that must be thought!"

You can call anything, anything you want as long as it's understood what you're talking about and the dynamic of the document is not diminished...

Get out of the box..........
 
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