As I was about to start a Management Review session for a client the MD put his head round the door and stunned everybody by asking “Do you need me in this meeting”. This was before the new standard was published so it brought a smile to my face as I knew what changes were afoot. Changes that you, like me, doubtless welcomed as being a step in the right direction.

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Once we had all got sight of the new standard, most of us out there advising small SMEs began to wonder how MDs like my friend would cope with their new responsibilities. No longer could they simply declare, “If it’s quality then you need to talk to my quality man”.

The new section on Leadership is cleverly written to clearly differentiate between those duties the MD has to take on board and those he may delegate. However, if he has distanced himself in the past then doubtless many QA people will be giving him a crash course an all things 9001.

The changes will not affect those business where the workload is shared and the team addresses the relevant requirements of the standard knowing the boss had his finger on the pulse and is also chipping in with his contribution. However, they might be in the minority.

How do you you see this panning out where you work or with your clients? Will it also be the case that quality managers and indeed consultants will be excluded from an audit on the basis that the MD should be competent enough to hold a discussion by himself with the auditor?

Why not share your thoughts below.

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Let’s be honest, nobody likes to receive a Corrective Action Report. Whoever is on the receiving end more than likely takes it personally and probably finds every reason under the sun to get out of taking responsibility for it and taking action to sort it. So, begins another day in the life of a QA man.

I see this all too often so hit on the option that is so simple if you are really facing this where ever you work – just give the form a different name!

We are all told when we undergo our auditor training that wonderful acronym of – Audits Uncover Defects In The System – so we should promote that on this occasion. Why not try a System Deficiency Note which trips off the tongue nicely as an SDN? In addition you could consider using System Enhancement Note for the PARs – but you’ll have to be quick to get any mileage out of that I guess:) If you haven’t heard it is removed in the 2015 version, although I still think it can serve a purpose when recording action to mitigate ‘risk’.

I am sure many of you have already come to the same conclusion so share how you have retitled your CARs. Remember you can get more support in the form of training, the free App, virtual mentoring and videos by clicking through to the 9001 Support Centre.

ps: You can of course use the idea in any management system, not just quality.

 

 

 

 

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会議When it comes to authorising and approving procedures do you just type them and bang them out or do you print them and see to it that they get physically signed off?

It really surprises me how many systems I see like the first. There is no evidence of you having taken responsibility for either of these requirements. No names, departments, nothing.  When I query this I tend to get told well “I’m the only one who writes them”; “I show them the relevant manager first” or “We can’t wait that long to get them issued”. However, without some accountabilty how do you address the requirement to authorise and approve documentation on issue or amendment?

Now, sometimes I see the authors name typed in and perhaps with a date in the footer of the document which is better than nothing.  Strictly speaking though you would have to evidence that the ‘author’ is the only person with access to the system to create and amend documents which is a bit of a faff. However, you still can’t evidence that the process owner has had any input into what is strictly his or her domain.

Far better to include two signatories with the process owner (often the Head of Department)  authorising it and the QA person approving it.  That way the process owner takes responsibility for releasing information as to what happens on his or her patch. Without that, and I have seen this, you get the response “Well I wasn’t asked about it or shown it before it was issued”. The QA person should approve it so as to run the rule over it for adequate contact and auditability.

Now in this day and age you can obviously have, provided again that suitable control exists, electronic signatures to save the physical  printing. Would be interested to know what you do so please share your experiences. More helpful support at the 9001 Support Centre.

 

 

 

 

ShredderIf you already have a system in place you are doubtless pondering as you look towards the 2015 version whether to bang not only the manual but the mandatory six through the jaws of your shredder as well. (Yes, I know Preventive Action goes anyway but let’s run with it yeah)

The likelihood as I see it, having talked to my sites, is that they will be retained and the temptation to run amok resisted. It’s a bit like some of us now being allowed to get our hands our pension pot to do with as with please isn’t it. You so want to but you hold back.

The manual if written properly (i.e. in say 8 – 10 pages max) is a good marketing tool and the procedures are useful support for those getting there heads round the requirements in QA. However, what to do if you are installing your system?

I think that really depends on the skills and knowledge of the team (yeah, no management representative either doing all the work) who will look after these processes. In my opinion, if they know them inside out then there would appear to be no need to burden them with procedures provided adequate records are being retained to evidence control of each process. However, if they are lacking experience, there is no doubt that there is a good case for writing them. As with all parts of the standard – if not having a procedure risks the process falling over, then you need one.

I have to get my head round how to upgrade the 9001 Training Guides to accommodate the extra requirements and the general move-around of existing procedures so by all means let me know what you would like to see and in what format.  The current version for 2008 are here if you’ve never seen them and would like help with that version.

 

 

 

You Need A Management REVIEW Not A Meeting!

A lot of companies take the easy route here I guess and assemble the good and the mighty around a table to perform the Management Review – yet nowhere in the standard does it state you need a meeting.

Now I agree that it would take a strong lead to suggest that you do it in any other way, but provided you have a clear set of data in a suitable form plus the output as a set of clear notes, actions and dates then you can if you wish. Just chill out over a coffee or grab the opportunity when the required people are free.

This could allow you to effectively chunk down the elements of the QMS to smaller pieces say every month rather than the long drawn out session each year. Bearing in mind the typical attention span of some of your team I wonder which would be more effective? Go on give it some thought and break the mould. Please do share if you already do something unconventional as regards your MR.

Now if you want to see some outlandish ideas as to a location then check this out – http://ow.ly/T5IhZ

Just What Makes A Good Audit Sample?

Now if you are responsible for internal audits at your place of work there is a fair change you are limited for time. You therefore accept that you are only going to check a sample in relation to the process being audited – but just how many records does that mean?

Now, I am not getting into a discussion here as regards statistically valid numbers, more of deploying some common sense based on what I have seen over the years. You, like me, start off with good intentions so perhaps half a dozen orders may get sampled at the start, then that reduces to three or four but as time goes on you fall into one of two traps.

You start picking just one order out and worse still you keep using that one to satisfy several questions on your checklist/ flow chart as both time and energy start to ebb away.

Ok, well that ‘s understandable on the basis that it tails off at the end, but the real issue is if you only ever start with one order right st the beginning. So, what then is the rule of thumb?

I am a great believer in the rule of three so do my best to use that at the start. Hopefully you find all three are good so move on, but if not do remember to resample before writing out that CAR. If the second sample re-enforces your view that there is something untoward then fair enough, but at least you have given it a fair chance.

One final point. If what you find is simply of an admin nature – signature missed, reference number missing or paperwork misfiled – can I suggest you get it sorted during the audit rather than being dogmatic and raising that CAR. That helps all concerned:)

However, I am not suggesting for one moment that my numbers are set in stone so do share how you deal with this part of the audit process.

Companies certified to ISO 9001 could have a surprise in store when the standard eventually gets revised from the 2008 version to that of 2015. Ok, so there is now an alleged delay I hear in that we won’t see this published until the autumn now but don’t rest on your laurels.  You need to get ahead of the game on this one and hear’s why.

Some say it is the most significant change they have seen to the standard

However, companies will doubtless leave it to the last-minute thus putting themselves under pressure having less time to talk it through with staff  and then introduce all the changes required of them. Certainly the Owner,CEO or MD is being asked to be more hands on in the running of the system so that’ll come as a shock to most.  No longer can it be bolted onto the business or simply viewed as a delegated task for one unsuspecting member of staff.  Also, have they seen the significant changes in relation to that person’s role anyway or the documents that are removed and the processes that are added? Will they understand how to introduce risk management for example.

What action can I take?

Well, I am already chatting to certified companies to paint a picture as to what is coming their way with the new standard. I have attended sessions with no less than three certification bodies and am about to undertake my auditor transition course. I trust you are making similar arrangements whichever side of the fence you see yourself.

A good place to start

Here is a trailer of my recent webinar “9001:2015 – What’s All the Fuss About” to set the scene for you.

If you see the need to chat further then email me at pete@iso9001supportcentre.com and remember that you can also see it on my App in the Masterclass section. Just search on Apple or Android for :9001 Support”.