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Purpose statement for documenting a Quality Manual

Discussion in 'ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management Systems' started by tony s, Oct 14, 2019.

  1. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    I have noticed that some quality manuals have this statement for its purpose:

    "This quality manual was documented for the purpose of interpreting the ISO 9001:2015 Standard for establishing, implementing and sustaining the QMS of <name of organization>"

    another:

    "This quality manual defines the <organization's> interpretations of the ISO 9001:2015 Standard, as well as, demonstrate how the standard's requirements are complied"
    I find this statement of purpose for having a quality manual shallow if an organization decides to document it. Should you document a quality manual, what could be an appropriate statement of its purpose?
     
  2. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

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    Good day @tony s ;
    You obviously have a lot of experience at this, so at the risk of sounding paternal please allow me to weigh in.

    I have done this work for approx 25 years and to this day I still "don't know" what a quality manual is. Oh I understand the requirement, but not the purpose. As you know, ISO wisely killed the "quality manual" requirement, while the IATF clings bitterly to it. So....
    1- There is no requirement for a quality manual in ISO 9001:2015.
    2- This post is not within the IATF forum section, BUT if it were, I would council that the four items required by IATF to be included in a "quality manual", but addressed on their own individual merits. I would go so far as to simply pointing to the documentation that addresses the four IATF requirements and not actually create/maintain a separate "quality manual".

    If we will continue to discuss the merits/requirements for a quality manual, I would suggest we move this topic to the IATF forum section.

    Hope this helps.
    Be well.
     
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  3. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Or the AS9100 section where it might be called a Quality Manual...:D
     
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  4. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    Thanks @John C. Abnet for weighing in. However, I would prefer to let this thread stay in the ISO 9001:2015 forum. Many organizations with ISO 9001 certification or working towards certification in my country still prefer to maintain their quality manual - particularly in the government sector. It's one of the requirement of the national government for government owned and controlled agencies, including state universities and colleges and local government units to have their quality manual documented. From these organizations where I've noticed the shallow statement of the purpose for having a quality manual.
     
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  5. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

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    Understood @tony s ;
    The answer then, is that the organizations you describe will need to define what the purpose of their individual quality manuals is. In other words, WHY did they create a quality manual. While we (I) can't answer that question for them, depending on the content of their individual manuals (assuming "scope", "interested parties", "processes and their interaction", "style/structure/control" of the QMS...) ...then a purpose may read something like...

    "The purpose of this quality manual is to determine and describe the boundaries and structure of the quality management system"

    Boundaries: Scope and processes.
    Structure: The information necessary to navigate and control the QMS.

    Hope this helps..

    Be well.
     
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  6. hogheavenfarm

    hogheavenfarm Well-Known Member

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    I can sort of see this, while our QM doesn't have those leading statements, it does include an "appendix" of definitions by which we interpret various requirements. In looking it over after seeing this thread, I see that most have to do with auditing (internal) procedures definitions and how we interpret them. From monitoring posts here for many years, this does seem to be an area of disagreement sometimes, so our manual states explicitly how we define "cycles", ie "periodic internal audits", and "core activities", and "personnel independent of activities". As for purpose, our (documented) processes each specify the purpose in the opening paragraphs, and one of the stated stakeholders is the customer, since our customers always require copies of our QM and our processes. This enables us to be clear about how we will interpret things from the start.
     
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  7. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree with the statements about "not knowing what a Quality Manual is" and I was ambivalent about them, However, recently, I was interviewed by an author about QMS documentation, in general, and in describing quality manuals the author had a "eureka moment" and said "You mean, it's like a quick-start guide?" Well, yes! It should act as a handy-dandy reference in much the same way as those guides which come with complex electrical/electronic equipment and there's a more detailed manual for other purposes...

    I promote the use of a 3 pager (if it's a paper one) and cannot conceive why a statement would be necessary, however if the purpose is as a QMS "quick-start guide", then I'd simply state that (I'm not one for filling documents with "Purpose", "Scope" "Applicability" "Responsibility", "Definitions" etc.)
     
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  8. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    Actually, the culprit for having such purpose statement in documenting a quality manual for most government agencies here in my country was a national guideline developed in early 2007 in an attempt to provide guidance on implementing ISO 9001:2000 to public sectors. Its Section 4.2.2 specified this:
    upload_2019-10-15_23-11-0.png
     

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