AS9100D Clause 6.3 – Planning of Changes to your AS9100D Quality Management System
It is important to remember that your AS9100D Quality Management System (QMS) is a living and evolving system. That means that over time you and your team will make changes to the system either because of a new idea, a client requirement, a business change, a new system, new staff or as a result of a management review of a process, the list of reasons for change can be a long one. However, it doesn't matter how you come to the decision, the fact is you will want to change things in your QMS as you go along. After all isn't that the whole point of continuous improvement?
Section 6.3 – Planning of Changes clause in AS9100 REV D standard, adds the requirement for organisations to plan the changes to the Quality Management System and, importantly, to look at the impacts of those changes in the organisation and with respect to your quality management system (and of course impacts on interested parties such as customers or suppliers) rather than just implement things ad hoc. It actually uses the words "the changes shall be carried out in a planned manner. Shall meaning you must do this, it's a requirement.
There are 4 elements that the AS9100 REV D standard says you SHALL consider when planning your changes
1. The Purpose of The Change & The Potential Consequence
You don't need to boil the ocean and spend days agonising over every change, but you do have to give it a bit of thought. Why are you making the change to the Quality Management System in the first place, is it an improvement? Will it impact our clients (in a positive or negative way)? What about our staff, does it impact them? How do we reflect the changes simply in our systems? Will we make it easier to do good quality work? Frequently organisations, when they do create change, they dive in and just describe the change, this is what we want to happen. In reality, there are 3 parts to describing any change. The current state – where you are now, your starting point, the proposed change outlining what you want to do and the improvement from the change that you expect. As part of these 3 steps you need to think about what documents will be impacted, what training changes are required, what risks are involved and of course what the budget and pay back for the change is.
That can be hard to remember and to link to in paper or spreadsheet based systems, in an integrated system like Mango we have included all of those things into the dedicated Management of Change module. That follows the approach you want to try and take in anything linked to your QMS which is keep it as simple and as integrated as you can, that way people will use it.
2. The Integrity of The Quality Management System
What authors of AS9100 rev D mean here is are the changes that your making still going to conform to the AS9100 REV D standard, for example, if you were changing your Quality Management System to remove the need to measure your quality objectives this would not be in line with the standard and so would impact the integrity of the Quality Management System. You need to consider carefully what impact your change is going to have in terms of how you continue to meet the AS9100D standard and any other standards you are required to meet.
3. The Availability of Resources
As we mentioned it's easy to not fully think through a change and how you will resource it both to implement it and to sustain it over time once the new processes are in place. Adding or removing process or deciding to document every level of everything will have an impact on the resources of your organisation. Will it overload someone and therefore not be done fully or correctly, or will you stress the person out or will you be able to maintain the new requirements over time at a cost your business can sustain. Remember resources are more than just people, consider buildings, IT infrastructure, machines, networks to name but a few. You should also consider your suppliers as well in terms of resources, if your change is going to impact them, do they have the resources to follow through and execute your change?
4. The Allocation or Reallocation of Responsibilities & Authorities
So, you are making a change, you have all agreed that it is a good change and will improve your AS9100 REV D Quality Management System, great. The new standard helpfully reminds you that you need to consider who will be responsible for ensuring these changes happen and continue to operate as intended. Who has the authority to make decisions or take actions because of these changes? Have you communicated all these things?
The Standard doesn't explicitly state that you have to actually record the changes or the decision process behind it but let's face it, if you don't document these things how do you remember what the decisions were, when they were made and what you decided to do? One of the benefits for our Mango clients is that they system will record all this information automatically for them, who needs to do what, when they did it, and any further linked actions. Again, finding a way to make it simple and easy is always going to be the key to making everything work better.
Even if you only do this in a set of meeting minutes then do that but if you have a change process within your business why not utilise that?
The addition of the Planning of Changes clause is a requirement, it has the all-powerful "SHALL" attached to it so if you want to gain AS9100 REV D you need to follow through on this one. When you think about it, however, this one small clause, Clause 6.3 of AS9100 REV D creates a fundamental tool for your business to use when making changes in the organisation. If you answer all 4 questions for any decision: Why are you doing the change and what are the consequences, does it impact your Quality Management System, do you (or your suppliers) have the resources to do this change and do you need to change any responsibilities or authorities as a result of this change, then surely you have a great process for carrying out any change in a well-controlled well thought out manner? Who would have thought AS9100 REV D could improve your business operations!
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