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No Quality Manual, now what?

Discussion in 'ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management Systems' started by Andy Nichols, Aug 28, 2015.

  1. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Since there's no requirement for a quality manual what will people, coming new to ISO 9001 Compliance, have instead? If there's no "history" of understanding the use of a quality manual, how will they document their management system?
     
  2. Eric Twiname

    Eric Twiname Well-Known Member

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    I've been ISO9001 certified for well over a decade...I still don't understand the use of a quality manual...

    Use of a QMS, sure...but the manual doesn't have much use.

    What is your view of the "Use" of a quality manual?
     
    rmf180 likes this.
  3. MCW8888

    MCW8888 Well-Known Member

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    Here's my view: During audits when the CB cannot find anything wrong with my system, he asks for what's the company's policy on Management Review (example only). I just lead him to the Quality Manual and it ends there. Of course the manual make reference to the agenda, minutes and all that stuff. That is more important.
     
  4. RoxaneB

    RoxaneB Moderator Staff Member

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    The manual never served much of a purpose in my mind. In most cases, it was simply a regurgitation of the Standard, with the company's name thrown in from time to time and references to documented procedures, which is where you started to find the really meaningful stuff.

    So, if the procedures exist...and in my current company's case, policies, too...who needs a manual?

    You can document your management system through other levels of documentation and other formats - policies, process maps, procedures, work instructions...a savvy auditor can figure out the system through this. A savvy organization creates a system that is easy to navigate. And if the issue is that we don't always have savvy auditors and savvy organizations, the real issue isn't the lack of a quality manual.
     
  5. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    If you have an auditor doing THAT, please find another...
     
  6. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    And therein lies a story. A poor design often leads to something not being used. So it's NOT the actual presence or not of a quality manual, it's the design which is the problem. Just like a poorly designed product, they often get left to one side because they are "useless", not because there isn't a need for a product to do a job. Same with quality manuals.
     
  7. Eric Twiname

    Eric Twiname Well-Known Member

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    A fine point, but one I'm not sure what to do with.
    I'm trying to think of something I would do that might generate revenue where I would reach for the quality manual...I'm coming up short.

    Do you have an example of how a very well designed Quality Manual might be of direct value to a company (beyond "the standard required it") ?

    I recognize the possibility that in all of the quality manuals I've seen...I've never seen a "good one".

    Customers ask to see the "Quality manual" to check a checkbox on their form...so mine is plain vanilla to meet that need. I wouldn't put anything in there that I wouldn't be willing to show to a customer.
     
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  8. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    I do. In fact, I have a couple which I've kept because they ARE great examples...
     
  9. Eric Twiname

    Eric Twiname Well-Known Member

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    Poor wording on my part...let's try again.

    Can you POST an example of how a very well designed Quality Manual might be of direct value to a company (beyond "the standard required it") ?
    I want to learn...
     
  10. PaulJSmith

    PaulJSmith Well-Known Member

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    I'm definitely on the fence regarding this issue. I see both the benefit and the relative uselessness of a manual.

    As for it not generating revenue, the same could be said of most Quality personnel, or Accounting, or Facilities Maintenance, or ...
    We're all just "necessary" overhead. We serve a purpose, but direct revenue generation is not it.
     
    charanjit singh likes this.
  11. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Ha! I knew you were going to ask that and the answer is no I can't! It's in a box of stuff I've collected over the past 25+ years of being in Quality. You'll have to trust me. One was, believe it or not, a Comcast document, the other came from Heath Springs in the UK, back in the mid-1980s.
     
  12. Eric Twiname

    Eric Twiname Well-Known Member

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    LOL...

    Listing the Comcast one proves my point, methinks...
     
  13. Pancho

    Pancho Active Member

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    For us, the manual is not so useful internally, on the day to day work, as there are other ways to reach the QMS documents. But by giving a succinct description of our QMS in relation to the standard, it does provide two concrete benefits:
    1. Client reassurance: We often submit our manual with bids, or shortly after starting work on a new order. Clients value that and feel reassured that we will meet their requirements. And
    2. Employee induction: We use the manual to help train new employees on our QMS.
     
  14. Brian Vandolah

    Brian Vandolah Member

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    I'm in total agreement. As with any "document" (e.g. quality manual, safety manual, procedure for corrective action, etc.), the value/application of the content matters to me more than anything else. When documents lack valuable content and are not utilized effectively they tend to make for poor references. I'm one of the few around my camp who actually considers this before constructing anything important, because in the end I don't want to feel like I've wasted my time developing something that is under-appreciated or not appreciated at all.
     
  15. MCW8888

    MCW8888 Well-Known Member

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    I
    I use the Plant Procedure Manual/aka Quality Manual as a document for TS16949 Internal Audit. I still refer to a TS clause when there is a deviation from the manual. I find the nonconformance by quoting the Plant Procedure Policy in conjunction with the TS16949 requirement.
     
  16. Claes Gefvenberg

    Claes Gefvenberg Moderator Staff Member

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    Looking back at our last few transitions, the manual was the item I saved for last... for a reason: We had no use for it then, and we have no use for it now. What we did was to make certain that our system was set up and running before we got to grips with the manual.

    That done, we cobbled a manual together, just because we were required to have one, which is a reason I detest. A manual as lean as we could get away with, making full use of clause 4.2.2b "the documented procedures established for the quality management system, or reference to them...". I see the requirement for a manual as a relic, dating back to the time when systems were all paper based. What possible use could we have for it today? Good riddance, I say.
     
  17. Jim Gardner

    Jim Gardner Member

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    Like Claes, our Quality Manual is as lean as we could make it, nobody references it apart from our CB because his checklist says we must have one.
    Our documented procedures are frequently used by all and make much more sense. Good riddance I say as well!!!

    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after low pricing is forgotten/Cautillo"
     
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  18. Eric Twiname

    Eric Twiname Well-Known Member

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    We get asked for it by both the CB and customers.
    Stripped down and lean works well for both.

    Regardless of whether is is required by the standard or not, we will still have a Quality Manual...the customers' forms still will have that checkbox and it is easier to show one than to debate whether one is needed.
     
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  19. Claes Gefvenberg

    Claes Gefvenberg Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree that the path of least resistance can sometimes be warranted, but we will not keep any manual locally. There will still be a Group manual, however. What we will do is to retain a document called information about ...Company... It can be best described as a reply to FAQ's based on questions in customer surveys. The contents are:
    • Company Data
    • Staff
    • Brief History
    • Management system
    • Product Data
    • Facilities
    • Main Equipment
    • Lab Equipment
    • Policy
    • ISO 9001 Certificate
    • ISO 14001 Certificate
    • ISO 50001 Certificate
    • OHSAS 18001 Certificate
    • AD 2000 W0 Certificate
    • Pressure Equipment Directive 97/23/ EC Certificate
    • Factory Production Control acc to DIN EN 10088-4:2009, App ZA
    • NORSOK Acceptance
    • Lloyd’s Register, Approved Manufacturer
    • DNV, Approval of Manufacturer
    We are obviously using it as a reply to Customer Surveys, and we update it as needed for each reply. Here is the trick. A disclaimer: This information is meant for the eyes of ...Company... and our customers only, and consists of excerpts from our Management System. Thus, it is subject to change without notice.

    So... Again, who needs a Honking manual? :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2015
  20. Jim Hagenbaugh

    Jim Hagenbaugh Member

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    I've always keep the QM as lean as possible to get the CB checkbox and have something impressive for the Customer's that needed a piece of paper. The heart of the system was always down below.

    I took over a system that decided to fatten-up the QM and it seemed to take forever to take out the time bombs it left from a mismatch the QM and the rest of the documentation system. I'll give the auditor credit on finding a few of them, because they were buried.
     
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