Key Steps in Implementing ISO 9001 Step 6: Management Review
The previous newsletter article on internal audits started with the basic premise behind ISO 9001:2008 being the “Plan, Do, Check, Act Cycle” (PDCA), with the internal audits being one of the activities associated with “Check”. This article takes a look at one of the key stones of an effective management system associated with the “ACT”portion of the PDCA Cycle.
When implementing a management system designed to meet the ISO 9001 requirements, it is common to hold reviews with the people involved in the various implementation assignments, to review progress, what resources are required, perhaps identify training, budget, improvement, any road blocks and so on. Such an activity can also provide the basis for the review of the on-going implementation of the Quality Management System.
A quick look at the ISO 9001 clause shows us that an agenda of topics is defined for us to consider when reviewing the organization’s management system (in no particular order):
- status of actions from previous reviews,
- audit results,
- customer feedback,
- product conformity,
- process performance,
- corrective action status,
- preventive action status,
- changes affecting the quality management system, and
- opportunities for improvement.
One way to consider management reviews of the quality management system is to think of it as a navigation exercise on board a ship carrying passengers! When beginning a voyage, it’s wise to start out with a plan (map) and some objectives, a way to measure progress, clear responsibilities for the crew, someone in authority (a “captain”), and resources (trained, experienced crew, food, water, fuel etc.) to support getting to the planned destination, on schedule.
Once a course has been determined and plotted, everyone can go about their various processes and tasks of ensuring the ship’s voyage is uneventful. To ensure that the voyage ends at the planned destination, it will be necessary for the captain and his direct reports who own the various processes on board – navigation, power, supplies, etc – to confirm that the vessel is still headed in the planned direction and that weather and tides haven’t moved the ship from the intended course. In addition, progress should be measured to ensure that the objectives of the voyage are kept in sight and are still achievable.
Consideration may also be given to the available resources and whether they are also sufficient to support the objectives. Course corrections may be required and speed adjustment may be necessary to ensure the journey is completed on time, without running out of fuel, for example. Outside influences such as winds and tides may affect the ship on its journey and these effects must be considered and actions implemented, to ensure the planned results.
Clearly, consulting the map, checking progress, once destination is reached would be ineffective in ensuring objectives are met; the correct place may not be reached, resources may be expended before the voyage is completed, arrival may be delayed, and measurements taken during the voyage may not have been accurate.
It would be very prudent to ensure that the plan is consulted at least once (half way) or twice while en route, in order to discover any deviations before they put the voyage in jeopardy. If reviewed too frequently, however, it may become difficult to see the overall direction being taken, and the data/information may become overwhelming. A “30,000 feet” view is what’s been happening is more appropriate.
Of course, at the end of the voyage, it would be helpful to “take stock” of the situation to see if there were any lessons to be learned. Could anything be done to improve the journey? Were the passengers consulted? Were the ship’s crew asked to identify any opportunities to do thing better?
It can be seen that an effective review of the quality management system is the cornerstone to maintaining and improving the effectiveness of the various processes and the interactions which comprise the whole management system. Clearly, a “balanced view” is needed by top management and no one specific function can represent the review of the management system in its entirety.
With this “big picture” view of how the management system is functioning, it should be obvious to top management where the resources – people, time and money – should be deployed to improve the management system, process and products which can affect the customer.
In the next newsletter, we’ll take a close look at improvement – another “ACT” in the“P. D. C. A” cycle.
Author: Andy Nichols