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Context new standard

Discussion in 'ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management Systems' started by Patrick Wolfert, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. Patrick Wolfert

    Patrick Wolfert New Member

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    Hi all,

    The past couple of weeks I've been talking a lot with 'colleagues' about the context definition and how to proceed with that. From what I've seen, there is a huge risk of drowning in details. I've literally seen a 5 paged Word document combined with a 5 paged Excel sheet full of details from external and internal influences where if you really look at them, most are neglect able from a importance point of view.

    I'm in the process of setting one up a rough sample for top management of our company and really think I can fit the context, stakeholders and SWOT on a single page. It's both practical and according the 'gesture of the standard' I think.

    I know it fully depends on the organization but am I wrong by keeping it simple ?

    Example :

    A line in my Excel sheet would say :

    External:
    Supplier raw materials |strength = high expertise | Weakness = Single source supplier | Opportunity = multiple source to reduce risk; improve pricing and availability.

    I know this is simple and there obviously are a lot more internal and external influences I have to take into consideration (rows in my sheet) but am I wrong by putting them into a single sheet combined with SWOT ?

    Cheers.

    Patrick
     
  2. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Patrick: I think you might be approaching this in a way which is going to be less than productive. I don't believe YOU should be finding a solution at all. This isn't about fitting things onto a sheet of paper. I'd suggest that it's about sitting the management team down and going over some basics: Who are the organization's interested parties? What's the organization's position in the market, capabilities and performance? What's the "vision" shared by the management/leadership team. Until THEY reconcile a clear understanding of the purpose of the organization, everything which flows from that will be potentially a waste of time/effort - and worse, if you give them something you've done, they will say "Yeah, looks good, do it"...

    It may take some time. Several meetings in fact. From the context flows a number of things - what does your quality policy currently commit you to? "Exceeding expectations"? Are you doing that? Really? Is that what your interested parties want from you? Can support?
     
  3. DarisQ

    DarisQ New Member

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    Hello, this is my first post and english is not my mother tongue...
    What's surprising me with those 3 first chapters of the new ISO version is why should we start asking such basic questions (the company context, the intersted parties, etc...) in 2015 knowing that you're on the bsiness maybe since decades. It's like driving a car and questioning if I have tires and if I'm looking at the trafic to avoid incidents...
    And for sure top management would ask and challenge why are we planing meeting to discuss such topics? Whatever will come out of the hat will have a very low or even no added value. There are companies that already have control of all those context elements and interested parties approach. The point is that it is not on a QMS chapter. It is just spread in the company culture.
    I therefore understand Patrick trying to "fit" the company reality into that introspection exercice of collecting all the existing information and processes regarding the company context and interested parties.
     
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  4. Patrick Wolfert

    Patrick Wolfert New Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    Andy,
    I understand what you mean but the thing I have with that approach is that I fear it would be too much. In theory you're absolutely right but we already have a 5 year business plan, mission and vision statements. That's nothing new and I think most companies have (or should have) that. Organizing several meetings to discuss this again wouldn't change the outcome I fear. Even without the presence of a formal management representative, I still think it's our job to advice them (from a leadership / management perspective).

    Basically I just provide top management with an example but in the end it's up to them how they want to proceed. I do want to avoid huge meetings when we already know the stakeholders, context and risks. I do want people to really think about the risks and opportunities. In my given example, the purchase process should get an objective to source other suppliers within a certain time. This is the point where the SWOT translates to PDCA and becomes very useful. I think using the new ISO standard, we'll get a better connection between company strategics / plans and daily operations.

    Daris
    That's more or less what I mean. A lot of companies already have it. I do think the new standard will bring a better connection between the context and actual KPI's which are brought top/down. It's not the business plan that we all help realizing but not knowing what our role is anymore.

    Thanks,
    Patrick
     
  5. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, Patrick, that's your call entirely. I wonder when people tell me "it's too much" or "in theory". Too much what? Why is it theory? I understand you may not wish - for whatever reason - to do what is advised. As I say, it's your call. My experience - not theory - of 16 years as a consultant to some pretty big corporations (and a LOT of small ones) - tells me that you HAVE to go through this because if you don't you risk doing too little. Unless you can state unequivocally that your leadership team all "get" this, it will come back to affect the organization. A mission, vision and 5 year plan isn't the same as understanding the context of the organization. Frankly, I've sat in a significant corporation whose management team confused quality objectives for implementing a software design tool! When you have that kind of basic misunderstanding what use is the QMS?
     
  6. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome DarisQ! In answer to your question - 66% of the organizations which had input to the revisions of ISO 9001 which became the 2015 release were small businesses. Often, small businesses haven't formally considered the context of the organization. In your world you may believe it's as simple as you say - but I can assure you I've been in a number of businesses which have been going along in their own sweet way, but without the maturity of considering what they are doing. The daily work consumed them and prevented adequate planning.

    You are missing the point that this is in reference to the Quality Management System. Far too many organizations implement "ISO". They constantly refer to that in those terms. "This is what we do for ISO". "These are our ISO procedures" and so on. It's not simply about defining the "context" as you seem to suggest - it's how the whole QMS then is designed, implemented and improved as a tool to control the processes and deliver to the customer WITHIN that context. It is supposed to stop doing things "because ISO-says-so".
     
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  7. charanjit singh

    charanjit singh Member

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    I am amazed to learn that there are businesses that have "no maturity of considering what they are doing". They may not know the language of ISO 9001 (like 'context' that we are talking about), but surely most of the people who are running businesses - small businesses -must be intelligent enough to know the importance of their customers, of quality suppliers of products/services they need etc. Else they would long have been out of business. Since the standard is about quality management system and NOT about the entire business activities, it will be helpful if we make terms like "context" understood by the businesses in simple terms, e.g. 'who' and why' are of critical importance for meeting the requirements of their customers.

    Let's face it: the 'for profit' commercial organisations are there to run their businesses profitably; that is the real 'context' of these organisations. It is for us, quality professionals, to bring the relevance of QMS requirements into that 'context' and not to frighten the businesses by making things complex. So there is nothing like keeping it simple. That incidentally also would bring about greater respect for ISO 9001 among businesses because it would not appear to be something 'imposed'.
     
  8. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    I wish that were true. My experience tells me otherwise...
     
  9. MCW8888

    MCW8888 Well-Known Member

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    When I visit a facility and hear people say buzz words like "ISO procedures" or"The ISO auditor wants it that way", I feel like a failure. I carry with me a laminated copy of the Quality Policy signed by the CEO of the Global organization and I tell them that if they have a different Quality Policy than what I have, then hey have not understood the business. My mantra to them is "We are not working for ISO, but we hire ISO to work for us to look at our system and make sure it is effective in meeting the objectives established by the same CEO who signed the Quality policy. This is the hardest cultural transformation I have ever encountered. By the way our Business Plan is reviewed and updated annually during the Business Plan Cascade meeting. This years meeting was very interesting because I heard something related to Context of the Organization.
     
  10. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    I run into this all the time, but I think it is merely a symptom of less maturity of a system. We may run into this still, while people do not realize the new standard really just reads like a business plan template without the blanks.
     
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  11. MCW8888

    MCW8888 Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes maturity has to start from the Top in order to gain traction at the bottom. The standard is more boring to read than our business plan cascade (although both are supposed to be living documents).
     
  12. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    Maybe they still have us QA heads around because we're willing to read the standards without jabbing a pencil in our eye. ;)
     
  13. charanjit singh

    charanjit singh Member

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    A question for the Moderators. We have at least 4 threads for virtually the same topic, viz.

    1. Context- New standard
    2. Context of the Organisation- ISO 9001-2015
    3. Clause 4 in the Standard
    4. Section 4.1 & 4.2 on Context of the Organisation-Visual Representation.

    Will it not be helpful if we could combine all the four into a single thread? Otherwise we might miss some useful opinions expressed in one thread but not the others. Please examine. I am posing this question in all the four threads, so everyone can think about it.

    charanjit singh
     
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  14. RoxaneB

    RoxaneB Moderator Staff Member

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    This concern was raised up to the Moderator group. After some discussion, it was decided to leave the 4 threads related to 'Context' as stand-alone discussions. While all of the threads are related to 'Context', the actual specifics of each thread are different and the conversations are focused on these slight nuances. As well, to merge them together at this point would result in a very disjointed and confusing thread.

    QFO is still relatively new and we recognize that people are not accustomed to using the 'Search' function before starting a new post. Over time, as our threads and subjects grown in numbers and scope, Moderators will start to promote the use of the 'Search' function.

    It is also recommended that individuals use the 'Report' function (located at the bottom of each post within a thread) if there any concerns or recommendations.

    Should you have any questions, please contact a Moderator.

    Thank you and happy posting! :)
     
  15. Tony Wardle

    Tony Wardle Member

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    I played around with this ''context of the organization'' concept ...

    I write a business plan for the year. Every year - along with budgeting.
    In it, I consider the internal and external operating environment, market strategy, manpower, capital expenditure, utility use and saving opportunity, training requirements and some financial expectations.

    Apart from the fact that is a good business sense - it fills the needs of context quite nicely. In fact, its the starting document for the auditors and one of the questions we raise in this document is the need for ISO certification - does it add value.

    Bottom line - we will have a QMS with or without ISO ... but does ISO per se add value? This is a strategic choice - as the standard points out.

    In this case - the reciprocity of good corporate governance expecting us to have a QMS with ISO9001 expecting us to have planned good corporate governance is a great fit, and that, IMHO is the intent of the context clause.

    Of course - from the preceding - its stands to reason that I am in top management and don't leave all thing quality to a lower level employee - which in turn fits right in with clause 5.
     
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  16. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Tony, my understanding of the context isn't what you describe. How can you develop a QMS scope, quality policy and objectives, planning, processes etc from what (to me) looks mainly like budgetary considerations?
     
  17. Tony Wardle

    Tony Wardle Member

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    Well - the standard mentions a ''strategic direction'' that may affect the results of the QMS. And - while we do budgets, this only part of a larger plan - we SWOT and PESTE and do some Business Model Canvassing ... (and I must say, while I enjoy this, some of my employees find it quite daunting)

    Quality stands good as a barrier to entry for certain products and certain markets. We make (inter alia) parachutes. The goal is not to make waste or rejects or business will literally fall out of the sky.

    In so doing, the focus I place on the business with regard to provision of resources, to monitoring measuring, to analysis of risk - is all aimed at making the best possible goods. The QMS wont stand on its own. It needs to compliment the strategic direction - or the context of the business if you will - and vice versa.

    Remember - the adoption of ISO 9001 or TS 16949 or ISO 14001 (as examples) are really mainly strategic - most companies (hopefully) have some sort of QMS, but adopting and being open to audit with an ISO standard is an added benefit, and if done correctly should firstly add financial benefit to the business and maybe even some market penetration benefit. For me - it allows me to rest easy at night - heaven forbid something goes wrong with a parachute.

    So, in short, I see the planning of the QMS being complimentary to the context of the business plan. I need the one to plan the other.

    Its my opinion that quality should be inherent in a business rather than a stand alone or bolt on system - as it should be in every business. Often, one sees quality being a paper exercise ... doing it because ISO says so .... or doing things for the sake of the auditor. I say, no, we adopt the ISO standard for the sake of the business, and the strategy dictates we do so.

    How do you see context - I am sure you have elaborated in other posts - but I have read so much on this I am becoming glassy eyed - please forgive me :cool:
     
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  18. Leonid

    Leonid Active Member

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    Tony, your intents comply with the prescribed task for top management to demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to the QMS by ensuring integration of its requirements into the organization’s business processes (5.1.1c).
    But what is the principal difference between the business processes and QMS processes? Many definitions of ‘business process” remind of what we call the QMS process. Who can clarify?
     

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