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The quality policy is one of those documents that is ubiquitous to ISO9001, we have all seen them, pinned to noticeboards inside the company handbooks and, if your really lucky, as part of a presentation at your induction. That is, for most, the extent of the involvement with the Quality Policy which is bizarre as it is the fundamental document of your entire ISO9001 Quality System, every other item within your Quality Management System hinges on your Quality Policy being a good one, everything that you develop within your ISO9001:2015 quality system points back to your Quality Policy. If you don't believe this just check out where it sites int he Quality Management structure.
With all of this in mind, don't you think it should be more than some buzzwords and quality platitudes on a bit of paper?
ISO thinks the Quality Policy is important as well and that's one of the reasons they have changed the requirement. They have stipulated that it has to be appropriate to the purpose & context of your organisation, it needs to take account of your quality management objectives and have a process to review those objectives. It even needs to be considered when you have a rethink of your strategic direction and it must have a commitment to continuous improvement of your entire Quality Management System.
So how do you do this?
You start by remembering the key rule of any process or system you ever implement, Keep It Simple. Don't create something that team of lawyers or English professors are needed to explain it. This has to be accessible and credible to everyone at every level in the organisation and they may not have you at their side to explain it to them so, keep it simple.
How you document the policy is largely up to you and what makes sense for your organisation, but it does have to be documented. It can be a bit of laminated paper pinned to the wall or a large A1 poster or if you have a fully fledged integrated Quality Management System like Mango maybe it's in the cloud for everyone to access as required, the choice is yours.
The standard requires you to ensure that the Policy is available to anyone who is interested in seeing it which includes both internal & external parties, many companies now have it on their website for example.
Since you had your team help you develop it most will know the policy, but it is important that you do formally communicate it inside your organisation. Spend the time and talk about what it means and why it's important, how it fits with your organisation and how you are going to live this policy. Record that training for everyone as well!
Like all systems and policies, it needs to have a maintenance schedule of its own, you need to plan to review it. This should be at a frequency that makes sense to you, it could be annually, it could be when you are changing your strategic direction, you need to decide what makes sense, but you do have to do it. Again there are easy ways & hard ways of doing it, you can hope that someone remembers, you can put into someone's email calendar & hope they are not off that week to remember or you can put it into your QMS System and it will remember for you (and of course send everyone emails to remind them).
A final hint when reviewing the Policy to check if it still makes sense, include some of the staff that helped design it and if possible, some that didn't. Really challenge it and if it still stands up, sign it off and move on, if it doesn't fix it, communicate it then carry on.
If you need any support in developing or improving your ISO or Quality Systems we'd love to hear from you, just click here to make an appointment and find out how we can help you Make Things, Better
You can also call John on 0211649739 to set up a meeting
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