Section 6.2: Quality objectives and planning to achieve them
“You can’t manage what you don’t see” and “You can’t improve what you don’t measure” are old management sayings that are still true today. With any process, your organization will experience increased success when Management provides defined quality objectives and monitors the outputs of your business process against these objectives. Without defined objectives, management and employees are left to operate based upon “gut instinct.” Real numbers and real data always provides better results.
The 9001:2015 Standard hasn’t changed that much from the 9001:2008 Standard, but it has been improved with more detail and clarity of expectations. Management will use their expertise and knowledge to establish quality objectives at relevant functions, levels, and processes. The quality objectives should provide information on how your business is performing so that you can make changes proactively to minimize negative effects and promote positive effects to the organization.
According to the Standard, quality objectives must be:
- consistent with the quality policy,
- meet applicable requirements,
- be relevant to conformity of products and services and to the enhancement of customer satisfaction,
- communicated, and
Quality objectives must be maintained as documented information. Yes, like before, we will be expecting to see them documented somewhere!
New to the Standard is the requirement that the organization determine:
- what will be done,
- what resources will be required,
- who will be responsible,
- when will it be completed and
- how the quality objective results will be evaluated.
These outputs count and you should be able to demonstrate that people know their responsibilities and their deadlines for completion. Employees have a vested interested in the success of their organizations and they can’t be guessing about what is important to management. When they know, they really help steer the business in the right direction!
Keep the Objectives Simple and Fluid
A common pitfall we have seen is over complicating the list of objectives. You don’t have to tackle everything you want to see the organization do in one year! Too many objectives can dilute the objectives that are important to your interested parties. Keeping it simple can increase the bandwidth of resources needed to make real progress. Most importantly, you’re in charge here. Your auditors only assess your approach, you get to decide what makes the most sense for your organization. If you focus on objectives that bring real value to your organization’s success, you can never go wrong.
Reviewing performance and redirecting is key for improvement! One of the key components of management review is the evaluation of the organizations’ quality objectives. Objectives should be fluid. Yes – they can change! Once you have achieved an objective – you can replace it with another one. However, if you find your objectives changing every year without achieving them, then you should rethink your process to make it effective for your operations.
Section 9.3 Management review
The Management Review process remains largely unchanged from the previous version of ISO 9001. Mostly the requirements have been re-ordered, but some requirements have been modified to address risks and opportunities. Creating an agenda to address each requirement listed in the Standard has historically proven effective.
Management’s review of its quality management system is important to business success. In our observations, we see organizations perform either annual review meetings or more frequent reviews combined with other agendas. You can do them any way you want, based upon what you feel works best for your organization.
Because management reviews are crucial to organizational success, Platinum Registration reviews the company’s management review process and quality objectives during every assessment whether that is an initial, surveillance or reassessment.