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When someone refuses to follow a process....


Quite Involved in Discussions
I feel for your situation i don't see the point in having a quality position if everybody then out ranks them and wont do what's needed, do you have access to higher management than them to raise the issue with. I suppose im lucky that the only people who out rank me are the directors in the company and the overall works manager. However, when it comes to quality issues he doesn't so my voice is heard and actioned on 99% of the time without much fuss. I have to avoid unnecessary conflict used internal audits to my advantage in instigating change its a subtler way of showing a process is in need of change, sometimes people dont like to be told they are wrong and may look at it as you are trying to tell them they are bad at their job when they are not altogether wrong just the process need tightening.
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Starting to get Involved
Was this person consulted when the process was put into place? Is it possible that the activities requested are in fact, non-value added? It may be beneficial to review the system, and with the process owners' input, make some adjustments.


Looking for Reality
Staff member
Super Moderator
Agreed. That's why I underlined "without you present". No shield there, but at least its a tiny bit harder to point at you.

Auditor (internal preferably) found it, wrote it up, and it went to Mgmt're not even involved.


Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Personally. I'm not a fan of the "let the internal audits point it out" approach, especially right out of the gate. It's passive aggressive and does little to support the desire to shift the mindset of organizations when it comes to internal audits (i.e., we want folks to see how they add value and NOT consider them to be glorified witch hunts).

Schedule a meeting - not an 8D one - to discuss what needs to be done and to come up with a plan, with your support, to help the individual do what needs to be done.

If they show up, awesome! If they show up and don't wish to do what needs to be done, ask why. Maybe the documentation is wrong or the person doesn't feel they're the right person or whatever...discuss and come up with a possible resolution.

If they don't show up, send a rescheduled meeting with a polite update "Hi, xxx. Sorry you were unable to attend our meeting. I hope everything is okay. Rescheduling and looping in <insert their boss's name>; hoping may s/he has some ideas on how we can address some of the gaps." It's a passive aggressive way of "tattling," but still professionally worded.

And, if nothing come from that, then it's internal audit time.

Bill Levinson

Industrial Statistician and Trainer
You have a 'people nonconformance'. But, of course, it is frowned up for the root cause to be a person. Instead, we dig a bit deeper and ask "What is it about the system that allows this person to continue to behave this way?"
Even better, what is it about the system that induces the person to continue to behave this way? Ask him/her. Maybe he will tell you that it is not possible to follow a step in a timely manner, and the job has to get done. Then you can apply CAPA to the step in question because, if it cannot be carried out consistently, there is a problem with it.

Ed Panek

QA RA Small Med Dev Company
Trusted Information Resource
Email is ok but I would personally visit this person after an email. Ask them to talk about their job or try to be understanding (Sugar tactic). Schedule the meeting close to their work area so you physically see them and even stop by to chat for a few secs before the meeting. It's harder to bail on meeting in person.

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
Now, I am not very high in the company, and my role is basically to keep the BMS updated just enough that we pass our audits. At least that is what it feels like.

Well, know that you are not alone. Many companies operate this way -- do just enough to pass the audits, even if that means knowingly letting nonconforming processes continue that way unless/until an external auditor or customer catches them. If their customers didn't demand certification, they would not be ISO 9001 certified. They will talk-up quality when the customer is within earshot, but when the customer is gone, to paraphrase Emerson, what they DO speaks so loudly you cannot hear what they SAY.

Without knowing more about your specific situation and the culture there it is hard to give advice. Sometimes it's worth the battle, sometimes it's not. Do the best you can and, if needed, search for greener pastures. But be aware, sometimes the grass isn't greener in the next place.


Starting to get Involved
Having experienced this personally, I greatly improved the situation by a direct meeting in their office, stating that I was the ISO 9001 compliance auditor and I had to solve some problems that needed his management decisions and delegation authority. I had pre-prepared his department's turtle diagram showing his departments inputs and outputs and what all department managers are responsible for. What he was willing to do I assigned to him within the QMS and what he wished to delegate I added them to the authority in the policies. I had some success but he got better every time we interacted.
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