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  ISO 9001/4:2000
  5.3 Quality Policy

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Author Topic:   5.3 Quality Policy
JohnH
Forum Contributor

Posts: 11
From:Neenah, WI USA
Registered: May 99

posted 06 April 2001 10:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JohnH   Click Here to Email JohnH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The ISO9000/2000 revision 5.3 for the Quality Policy leaves me puzzled. The requirement asks for five requirements to be fullfilled. Hypothetically,if I change our quality policy to say something like: Company X will comply to ISO9000/2000, will continually improve the quality management system, and will establish and review quality objectives. This technically is all I need as long as I prove that the policy is communicated and understood throughout the organization and that we review it periodically, say in Management Review. This part of the revision seems to be somewhat short of the 1994 requirements. Am I right or wrong? Any thoughts?

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John C
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Posts: 134
From:Cork City, Ireland
Registered: Nov 98

posted 07 April 2001 03:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John C   Click Here to Email John C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John H,
Most people err on the side of saying only what they want to happen; 'We will make our customers happy. We will become the biggest company in the business'. They don't say how and forget that a policy is a route to a goal, not the goal itself.
You have said how you intend to achieve your goal but you haven't said what the goal is. Maybe the standard has missed it out but I think you should put in what your company's main business objectives are. Then you say you intend to achieve this by...... and go on to say how, as you have above. I think that would be very satisfactory. Of course, some auditors would like to see a lot more, but that's their choice. You have the choice to make it what you want and, what you have said regards the means to achieving your goals, is right on target, especially the objectives because to set and meet measureable objectives that really focus on the business goals and continuous improvment of the QMS
is the basis of meeting the new requirements of ISO 9k2k. Don't forget the 'measurable'.
rgds, John C

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JohnH
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Posts: 11
From:Neenah, WI USA
Registered: May 99

posted 09 April 2001 08:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JohnH   Click Here to Email JohnH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for your insight. It is much appreciaed.

John H

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Todd W
Lurker (<10 Posts)

Posts: 3
From:Barrington, NH USA
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 10 April 2001 10:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Todd W     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi;

The requirements for Quality Policy in 5.3 state that "Top Mgmt shall ensure that the quality policy includes a commitment to comply with requirements and continually improve the effectiveness of the QMS...".

I just took a training class given by a Registrar and they said we needed to change our quality policy because it did not contain verbage that included the words from above... "continual improving the effectiveness of the QMS" I disagree with the Registrar. If our Policy includes a commitment to deliver high quality products and services that ensure customer satisfaction, I think this meets the intent of the standard.

I'd appreciate any comments you have on this.

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energy
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Posts: 228
From:New Britain, CT
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 11 April 2001 09:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for energy   Click Here to Email energy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John,
I agree with Todd. You must show a "commitment to continually improve the effectiveness of the QMS." To do this, a statement that addresses commitment to continuous improvement should be in the Policy statement. The standard looks pretty clear as to what's required in the policy. JMHO
energy

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John C
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Posts: 134
From:Cork City, Ireland
Registered: Nov 98

posted 11 April 2001 04:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John C   Click Here to Email John C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Todd,
Commitment to continually improving the DMS is not the same as achieving customer satisfaction.
Let me explain;
You are selling chestnuts on the street corner, a dollar a bag. Your customers are happy. Then another guy on the opposite corner puts up a sign which says 'Chestnuts 75c a bag'.
Your customers are no longer happy. They think you've been cheating them. So they go across the street and buy for 75c. They're happy again, but you're not.
Will you get your customers back or will you go out of business? Either way, you should have been continually improving so that no one could get the jump on you.
It's not enough to keep your customers happy. You're not there to do business but to stay in business. Don't believe me, believe Deming.
rgds, John C

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Todd W
Lurker (<10 Posts)

Posts: 3
From:Barrington, NH USA
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 11 April 2001 10:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Todd W     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John C & energy;

I appreciate your feedback on the Quality Policy (and would like to hear more). Can you point me towards an example of what you think a good Quality Policy should say? What do you think of the following statement to be included in a Quality Policy:

......on-time delivery of high quality products and services that ensure customer satisfaction. This is achieved by 1)capturing best practice, 2) measuring effectiveness, and 3) continually improving the Quality Management System.

This shows a goal / high-level business objective, a commitment to continual improvement and how it will be achieved.

I've been involved with ISO for about 10 years and have seen several examples of Quality Policies but never gave it much attention compared to the rest of the Quality System. With the new standard and the emphasis on customer focus and continual improvement, it made me take a closer look.

Again, many thanks

Todd

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John C
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Posts: 134
From:Cork City, Ireland
Registered: Nov 98

posted 17 April 2001 05:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John C   Click Here to Email John C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Todd,

Hi. Howâs it going?
Thereâs not a thing wrong with what you have said above but, if you donât say Îcommitment to comply with requirementsâ, or something that says much the same thing, eg; Î...commitment to continual improvement and to compliance with the requirements of ISO 9001:2000â, somewhere in your policy, then you are likely to be asked to put it in. And why not? The registrar doesnât have to give you the benefit of the doubt, especially when it is just a few words to add in - it doesnât cost anything. The registrar has a duty to see the standard is covered to the best of his/her ability.
I often wonder at issues like this - people are very reluctant to do things and itâs hard to figure why until you start to get to the bottom of it. Thatâs where questions like yours can be so useful even if the conclusions I come up with do not fit your situation. I think, ÎWhy not just put it in?â. But it isnât always as simple as that;
People are very wary of having non-compliances written up against them. Often they will argue with the registrar and go on justifying their position, not because it is difficult, costly or time consuming to make the change but just because they feel they have been shown up to be wrong. Maybe it isnât the person concerned, but their manager, who has this attitude. So the guy who looks after the system has to adopt the same attitude. (Managers are very often prone to this sort of thing because theyâre mainly concerned with maintaining a positive image - donât want anything to do with any blots on their career building copybook).
Itâs a pity, if that is the case, because a registrar audit is supposed to be a situation where we engage a company to come in and provide a service for us. How stupid, if we pay all that money and then attempt to hide things from them, disagree with what they tell us, ignore their advice.
People, and especially managers, should take a more sensible approach, theyâre well enough paid to be sensible, arenât they? The registrar is not going to take your certificate away. Theyâre not looking to give you a hard time, or to have a hard time. Theyâll be delighted if you treat them as customer/client to specialist service and not as an enemy.
In my experience, the registrar is the least of our problems. If audits are a pain, unpleasant, ineffective, etc, itâs probably someone in house, playing politics, thatâs behind it all.

So thereâs some thoughts on the issue, prompted by your question and, though probably not relevant in your case, itâs something else weâve learned. ÎI can find the answers ok, if only I can get the right questionsâ, as the man said.

Why did you disagree with the registrar? It could be one out of a dozen reasons. Was it really because you didnât want to write Îcomply with ISO 9001â? Donât tell me, just think about it.
And that brings me to another idea; I touch type, learned it in the merchant navy. I do some writing for a hobby - which explains why I canât stop when you ask me a question - you get more than you bargained for. I am also interested in documenting and figuring out ways to meet requirements. So it is very easy for me to pull down a procedure and make the change and release the document. Another thing, I know the change process backwards. Itâs no problem.
But a lot of people Iâve come up against, have a mortal fear of changing a procedure. Theyâd rather change a diaper! Or do a thousand press-ups. Or just about anything, and theyâd go to extraordinary lengths to avoid making the change.
So, one thing to think about is; love your registrar - keep them on your side, not so that theyâll go easy on you, but so that theyâll do a good job and help you sort your system. Next is - make things easy for people and yourself. The system needs to be very easy to use, otherwise people wonât use it. Better to be a little bit flakey, not 100% in control, and have people happy and able to follow it, than write it tight and put in so much concentrated detail to really tie everything down, that people just donât use it and go on their way on a wing and a prayer.
Cut the bureaucracy.
Slim it down.
Get people on your side by making sure they write their own systems and only write what they want to write, and are willing to carry out.
rgds, John C

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