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How to prove that the quality policy is appropriate?

Discussion in 'ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management Systems' started by Leonid, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. Leonid

    Leonid Well-Known Member

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    What can be the evidence that the quality policy, as documented, is appropriate to the purpose and context of the organization and supports its strategic direction (5.2.1)?
     
  2. QMSmaster

    QMSmaster Active Member

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    I think this one is purely an auditor judgement call base don what yo write and what your company does. But truly, I do not know.
     
  3. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Do you have some point of view on this yourself or are you looking for ideas. Your personal viewpoint helps in establishing a level of response appropriate to your understanding...
     
  4. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

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    Thus the problem. It is really the judgment of the company. Who is the auditor to question that?
     
  5. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    That's like saying that a product design is good only if it passes the end of production QC checks... That's not going to fly in a QMS environment. Clearly, "to meet and exceed customers' expectations" doesn't happen in fast food restaurants or Joe's diner....
     
  6. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    Appropriateness of the quality policy to the "purpose of the organization" can be demonstrated by having a statement in the policy that mirrors the organization's "mission" statement. I formed this view from the definition of ISO 9000:2015 i.e. mission as "organization's purpose for existing as expressed by top management". Also, the NOTE in clause 5.1.1 mentioned about this kind of "purpose".

    Appropriateness to the "context of the organization" can be demonstrated by including statements that attend to "internal issues" (e.g. employees needs/expectations, governance, culture, values, management, etc.) and "external issues" (e.g. customer needs/expectations, market demand, legal requirements, relationship management, social, technological, etc.). I formed this view from the definition of context of the organization by ISO 9000:2015 as "combination of internal and external issues that can have an effect on an organization's approach to developing and achieving its objectives".

    Other forum members may have other views but I hope this adds to the "flavor".:confused:
     
  7. Ganesh Sundaresan

    Ganesh Sundaresan Active Member

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    The evidences are not always on paper. They are sometimes in what we hear from the Top Management. A confused Top Management is the one who writes something as a customary "Policy" and does the other and more importantly lacks direction that behoves his position. A good Auditor, therefore, exploits Top Management Audit to write a non-conformity, if at all, on this.

    Why is an Auditor not entitled to question the clarity in the Top Management direction of an Organization whose Quality Management System he is in a way vouching for.
     
  8. Leonid

    Leonid Well-Known Member

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    Another acceptable option could be mentioning of the organization’s profile and the intent to address risks.
     
  9. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

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    Because an Auditor, especially an outside Auditor, has a very limited knowledge of the company. There is no way an Auditor can know as much as Top Management and have the entire context of their judgment. Granted, we all like to "bash" Top Management but this too reflects a limited understanding of the balance Top management needs to create. They deserve some deference to their judgment.
     
  10. MCW8888

    MCW8888 Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't the Strategic Direction support the Quality Policy? Before you can have a Quality Policy you need to know who your interested parties and their requirements are. I stand to be corrected. Thank you.
     
  11. Bev D

    Bev D Moderator Staff Member

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    how about logic and reason? read the policy; understand the purpose and context of the organization by asking management about it; do the two align? is the policy supportive of the purpose and context or is it at odds?
    an example: an airline has a market purpose of being the low cost airline, if it's quality policy speaks to things that would be counter to low cost - like seeing to the Customer's every comfort or providing fancy meals and snacks, then the policy is at odds with the stated purpose. vague phrases like exceeding expectations and 'delighting' the Customer provide no context as to how to meet the purpose. but if it speaks to what quality means in a low cost environment, then it is appropriate. McDonalds' does this well: there purpose I slow cost fast food and so their version of quality is not 'fresh' or 'fancy' or 'healthy' or 'excellent taste'. their version of quality is consistency of taste, texture, delivery and service across the globe.

    As for the auditor's judgment, I think the real performance bar to strive for here is not a 'check the box' obvious compliance standard but one that trains auditors in using sound judgment and knowledge. When we look to remove thinking and judgment from the process and rely on 'objective evidence' we get check the box auditors who won't think.
     
    Daniel Padilla T, MCW8888 and tony s like this.
  12. Leonid

    Leonid Well-Known Member

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    Any auditor makes judgments when evaluates the collected audit evidence against audit criteria and thereby generates audit findings which indicate conformity or nonconformity. In our case the statement of quality policy is the collected audit evidence. The audit criteria are, in particular, the requirements of 5.2.1a). It may happen that the policy statement will not touch, even indirectly, the issues of organization’s purpose and context. Then the auditor’s judgment making will be helpless.

    But maybe to judge about “being appropriate” is the client's prerogative?
    And if the client states something is appropriate then it is not auditable?
    This question about a probable specificity of the term “appropriate” pertains to different requirements of the standard which address appropriate documented information, actions, stages, processes, identification and description, format, etc.
     
  13. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    An effective auditor doesn't "judge"...
     
  14. Leonid

    Leonid Well-Known Member

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    An auditor should apply judgment in auditing.
    Please refer to International Standard ISO 19011:2011 Guidelines for auditing management systems:
    Cl 4 Principles of auditing
    a) Integrity: the foundation of professionalism
    Auditors and the person managing an audit programme should:
    — be sensitive to any influences that may be exerted on their judgment while carrying out an audit.
    c) Due professional care: the application of diligence and judgment in auditing
    An important factor in carrying out their work with due professional care is having the ability to make reasoned judgments in all audit
    situations.

    Cl. 7.2.4 Achieving auditor competence
    Auditor knowledge and skills can be acquired using a combination of the following:
    — experience in a relevant technical, managerial or professional position involving the exercise of judgment, decision making, problem solving and communication with managers, professionals, peers, customers and other interested parties;
    Audits can use either judgement-based sampling (see B.5.2) or statistical sampling (see B.5.3).
     
  15. MCW8888

    MCW8888 Well-Known Member

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    Our Top Management published a Quality Policy. He also added a few bullet points outlining the criteria on how to support it..
     
  16. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, there are two definitions. Many auditors use the second, not the first:

    judg·ment
    ˈjəjmənt/
    noun
    noun: judgement
    1. 1.​
      the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.
      "an error of judgment
      synonyms:discernment, acumen, shrewdness, astuteness, sense, common sense, perception, perspicacity, percipience, acuity, discrimination,reckoning, wisdom, wit, judiciousness, prudence, canniness,sharpness, sharp-wittedness, powers of reasoning, reason, logic;More
    2. 2.​
      a misfortune or calamity viewed as a divine punishment.
      "the crash had been a judgment on the parents for wickedness"
     
  17. RoxaneB

    RoxaneB Moderator Staff Member

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    It's called an audit trail. One cannot simply look at the Quality Policy and think "Yes, it's good" or "Ugh, this is horrible."

    When speaking with staff, do they understand how they support the Quality Policy? I don't want to hear it recited to me verbatim. If I wanted to hear parrots, I'd go to the zoo. I want to know if it means something to them...does it resonate? If folks do not understand the Quality Policy, it could be a communication issue. That's when I rephrase my questioning..."How do you impact whether or not the final product is good?" It's a simple question that flirts with so many aspects of a QMS...quality, training, monitoring, communication, and so on.

    I do disagree with the notion that the Quality Policy should support the strategic direction...align, yes...but support? The Quality Policy is essentially an executive summary of the organization's approach to a QMS. Not sure about the rest of you, but when I was taught how to write a report, the executive summary was written last. The Quality Policy is one of the last things I develop. Why? Because I want to understand our organization culture, the metrics, the alignment between metrics and objectives, the supporting infrastructure (e.g., leadership, training, etc.), ... QMS first, then the Quality Policy; this supports developing something that is appropriate.

    From an audit perspective, once the audit is nearly done, you'll have a better way (i.e., more evidence) to assess the Quality Policy and its conformance to the requirements.

    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  18. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this approach.
    If you have established first a clear picture of the entire organization then auditing last the top management will produce more value-audit findings.
    Unlike with most CBs where they audit first the top management before going to the core and support processes.
     
  19. RoxaneB

    RoxaneB Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually, meeting with top management first can be helpful (but it doesn't mean decisions regarding conformance must be made at this point) because you'll hear what they think their QMS is all about. When you're out on the floor, hopefully you'll hear the same messages and information, demonstrating consistency (again, not necessarily conformance). It hopefully shows leadership is doing more than just paying lip-service to the idea of a QMS. If you hear different things, that's a red flag.
     
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  20. BradM

    BradM Moderator Staff Member

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    Personally, I think that I would throw caution to trying to "prove" validity of a quality policy. The quality policy should be some mechanism for achieving the company's strategic goals. And especially with respect to service quality, that may not always be easy to do. Below is some information I pulled from a Chick fil A operating manual (easily retrieved online from Google search):

    I would expect to see the Quality Policy in harmony (or at least complimentary) with the above objectives, in terms of service quality. Also, I would see their quality measures in alignment also.

    I would be much more comfortable with making an observation that the quality policy is in direct conflict with strategic goals, quality measures, operating manual, etc.
     
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