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Ownership and Responsibilities of QMS

Discussion in 'ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management Systems' started by Rob K, May 13, 2020.

  1. Rob K

    Rob K Member

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    Hi. I'm a "new-joiner" and, as it turns out, "a novice" when it comes to forums. Yesterday I thought I had posted to the forum but found out today that I had "started a conversation" that was limited to a few people. Here's what I wanted to post:

    The company that I work for wishes to appoint me as the QA Manager to, as I interpret it, "role out an ISO compliant QMS". The "Key Aims of the role" as written in the Job Description presented to me are:

    #1. Take responsibility for the creation and implementation of an ISO ready Quality Assurance Framework for the Company
    #2. Create, document and manage all company policies and procedures and their practical implementation.
    #3. Build a culture of quality best practice keeping it paramount in all aspects of the day-to-day operation of the Company.

    All of which makes it look like it is to be MY QMS and not the Company's QMS. (According to #2, I get to create policy AND Procedures!). While I was doing some research I stumbled across some great words on this forum the other day which said something along the lines of "no staff involvement would lead to failure as no sense of ownership" and, "a Quality Manual that dictates what QA Manager believes is being done rather than what is actually done" or things like that, but for the life of me I can't find them again. Does anyone recall the conversation(s) or have some poignant comments that I can use to reinforce the point? (As for #2, I believe the intent is not to "create" company policy and procedures, but just to "document" them and only create a template for documenting them.)

    Secondly, in relation to #1, the expectation is that, research is carried out to identify a Quality Assurance Framework that can be practically implemented across all divisions of the Company, and after presenting the recommendations to management for sign-off, to scope out the process of how it will be introduced to staff and implemented in practice. So, I have trawled the internet for some understanding of what is meant by "a Quality Assurance Framework" and not exactly come up with anything meaningful. Is a QA Framework anything different to a QMS or is it the same thing?

    I've joined the forum as I can see the way forward is very murky and I am going to need some help clarifying things as I progress. Here's hoping I have done this posting thing correctly (I just selected the top 5 members to include as I have no idea who is who. I hope that is okay?)


    Now, in addition to recommending I post to the "regular forum" Tony S has replied with the following answers:
    Does anyone recall the conversation(s): This can be better answered by the administrator and moderators of this forum.

    Does anyone ...have some poignant comments that I can use to reinforce the point?: You'd rather facilitate the preparation of policies and procedures instead of being the author and owner of them. Let the process owner be the one responsible for their policies and procedures. You can help them in writing them but the description of the activities, methods and criteria of their processes must come from them. Once written, they have to commit with what they have narrated to you.

    Is a QA Framework anything different to a QMS or is it the same thing?: They're different. QA Framework is focused on product realization While QMS encompasses all the processes of the organization (i.e. core, management, and support).

    I have asked a supplementary question regarding the QAF vs QMS - "Doesn't a QAF align with the QMS standard or am I barking up the wrong tree?
     
  2. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Let's do what a ton of people overlook. Think "Cost".

    Having a bunch of objectives and discussing the intentions behind the words is futile, IMHO. Let's say that this job lasts 2 years. That means, in terms of your salary & benefits, you have to be doing something worth double that for it to be of interest to the owners/stakeholders in terms they (should) understand. So, figure that out.

    Then, go back to those owners and stakeholders and ask what they believe they see worth THAT much money in terms of those objectives. Is it increased sales revenue because you've been missing awards from not holding an ISO certificate? Is it because the cost of poor quality is around the same value as the overhead you represent? If they have no vision, then you have a few choices to address...
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
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  3. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

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    Good day @Rob K and welcome to the forum;
    Wow, you are indeed in an interesting position.
    a) Exciting ..(and "empowered"??)
    b) Stuck in the middle between how a management system SHOULD be established and owned, vs how your Top Management views the process.

    1. @Andy Nichols has given you some good council.
    2. ISO 9001:2015 references "Top Management" eight times .
    3. ISO 9001:2015 has TWENTY FOUR shalls levied against the references to "Top Management".
    4. Clause 5.5.1 states..."Top Management shall demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to the quality management system by...
    a) taking accountability for the effectiveness of the quality management system.

    5. In regard to what your organization means by the term..."ISO ready Quality Assurance Framework for the Company". I would simply ask them what they mean by that term. I would assume they are treating it the "same" as an established QMS.

    Summary:
    There is a LOT to consider here. How old is your organization? If it is well established, then the prompts by @Andy Nichols are even more poignant, i.e. WHAT is the goal of becoming ISO 9001 registered? If indeed your organization is well established, then it is likely that many of the requirements of ISO 9001 are already being met, and it would be wise to reverse engineer what your organization is already doing, relative to a gap analysis against the standard.
    Some questions if I may...
    A- What does your organization do/provide? (please don't provide any proprietary information).
    B- Where (if you don't mind saying) are you located geographically?


    Hope this helps.
    Be well.
     
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  4. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome, Rob K!

    One of the things I have always regretted is that the whole ISO thing has too often turned into some kind of Jedi religion... that feeling is behind top managers trying to hand all of it off to some "expert" in order to achieve "compliance." The word compliance is in itself a giveaway, as compliance is about legal requirements and we conform to the "shalls" in the standard. The term Quality Assurance Framework is another - that's top management saying "We don't know what the (blank) it's about so we want you do handle it so we can get back to XYZ." As has been pointed out, the 2015 version specifically added multiple requirements for management involvement. Section 5 includes actionable terms describing what is expected of them.

    So yes it does sound as though they are trying to make this thing your QMS, and no that is not how it should be. Really effective quality management systems make it focused on the customer (as well as other "interested parties" that do not purchase from you but could still influence you) and what the organization needs to do to make things right for the customer, hopefully the first time.

    But there is a lot of ambiguous language in the ISO 9001:2015 standard, which is actually supposed to be a business framework-type of document. That is why I so often suggest the book ISO 9001:2015 In Plain English. Disclaimer: I am affiliated with the author as a fellow contributor to QA forums. It may help you identify ways your organization may be already conforming to requirements, as John C. Abnet suggested.
     
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  5. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Something which occurs to me is you telling us how mature this organization is. Do they have some effective, even basic measurement "blocking and tackling" going on? Do they measure how good their "quality" is, either in terms of "Right First Time", repeat business from long standing clients and timely delivery? If not, if it's patchy at best or would take time to gather the data, then if you can do the work to gather that - it's not that difficult to find - you'd build a compelling case for balancing the role with the cost (savings). If the organization isn't mature, you can put some costs to things such as the cost of processing anything NOT done "right first time" ~ I use a figure of $1,000/incident because no-one can prove it inaccurate and you can enumerate why it is that way really easily ~ and present that as to why they need to have a systematic way to get control of their business processes and stop wasting money. Of course, anticipate that there's going to be push back. Apparently, you'll be pointing out the "Emperor's New Clothes", but usually, there's someone who is interested in saving money. Make that person your go-to person when you need to have roadblocks eased.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
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  6. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

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    @Rob K
    Good day again @Rob K ;
    At the risk of boast, I believe you may wish to show this actual thread from subject experts (i.e. @Andy Nichols , @Jennifer Kirley , and myself) to your leadership team. I believe the comments on this thread provide the "poignant comments" that you are looking for.

    Hope this helps.
    Be well.
     
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  7. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    In ensuring product/service quality an organization might established a QA framework that is distinct among other organizations. Although there might be differences in approaches and methods, any organization can fulfill a QMS standard (e.g. ISO 9001). Do not align your QA approaches and methods against a QMS standard but rather align the QMS against your approaches/methods.
     
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  8. Rob K

    Rob K Member

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    Thanks to all for your sage words. I can see a brief history and background will help.

    The company (based in Auckland, New Zealand) is over 20 years old and has been through some growth, collapse and regrowth. I joined it as a Sales Engineer 11 years ago when there were only 6 permanent staff and a the occasional temp student. The company services the power utilities and industrial market, importing technologies from Europe, America and Australia mainly. At the time I joined all our products were electronic devices (Protection Relays, Transformer controls and measurement devices for medium voltage (>1000V) networks. More recently (last 4 years) we have added Switchgear to that portfolio. I also moved into the Service Manager role which evolved into the Operational Support Manager role.
    Where the sales of Protection and Control equipment tended to be more of a box shifting exercise with some tech support in educating the customer on its use and implementation, the Switchgear stream of work has developed into a more of a production/assembly line. The switchboards are either designed by customers or we design for them and then we wire up the boards to the agreed design.
    When I joined the company there was a sort of management system in place but one that never seem to go through the review and action phases. You could definitely put your hand on elements of it but it would not really stand up to much scrutiny. That is still the status quo. While I queried whether there was any intent to gain ISO9001 certification in the early days it never gained much traction.
    We now have 23 permanent staff and will need to expand some more once COVID-19 pandemic relinquishes it grip. There has also been a changing of the guard with Principal shareholder and MD retiring. What we have needs a shake up, reviewing against latest criteria (before a new revision of ISO 9000 family gets introduced - circa 2022?) Hence, QA Manager to drive it through.
    I have a meeting scheduled with the directors to discuss in the upcoming week, lets see how that evolves.
     
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  9. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    Before your organization decided to appoint you as their QA Manager, can you provide a list of all the departments or sections making up the organizational structure of the company? I'm in the assumption that your company expects a QMR role from a QA Manager.
     
  10. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    It's not likely to change much so don't worry about any burden of changing what you've created.
     
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