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Responsibility for processes 4.4.1e

Discussion in 'ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management Systems' started by John Mann, Mar 17, 2016.

  1. John Mann

    John Mann New Member

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    When we set up our ISO9001:2008 system one of our defined processes was "document control". I, as Quality Manager, offered to be responsible for this process (I had been a document controller in my previous job). However the boss was adamant that I should not, saying instead that everyone dealing with documents should follow the correct process.

    Now with ISO9001:2015 we have to assign responsibilities and authorities for processes. I'm reluctant to re-open the argument, so would it be stretching things too far to officially define "everyone" (or maybe "no-one") as responsible for this process?
     
  2. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    "Owning" a process doesn't (at least in my mind) mean the same as "doing" a process. I have been a document control process owner, but the organization employed people who had a role as document controllers. As Process Owner, it was up to me to make sure we had an effective process, the controllers were able to implement the process, give feedback, suggest/make improvements etc.
     
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  3. hogheavenfarm

    hogheavenfarm Well-Known Member

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    "....However the boss was adamant that I should not, saying instead that everyone dealing with documents should follow the correct process...."
    I would carry this to the extreme ends to validate the thought.
    What happens when someone doesn't follow the correct process? Who is responsible for that?
    If it falls on you, then you, as QM are actually responsible for it. Or would the boss rather it fell on him?
    If it falls to another department (purchasing, in my recent experience), who 'corrects' the person there? The head of purchasing?
     
  4. Qualmx

    Qualmx Well-Known Member

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    I manage this issue in this way.
    I , as quality management coordinator (QMC),have defined just one process for this, named management system process. Into it,I have sub processes, control of documents, control of records, audits, non conforming product control and complaints,all of them have a procedure.Into the control of documents I have one table where I defined who revise and approve all type of documents. The QMC is responsible for the management of documents.If problems are found in this process,e.g. to load a doc in the network, or I provided a format with wrong revision, its my fault ,and I deserve a CA.
    I ensure that owners follow the procedure,If its not followed its my fault.
    On the other hand,if an owner didnt follow his or her procedure, e.g Sales process,it his ,her problem,thus raising a CA for that process.
    I hope this info be useful
    Regards
     
  5. RoxaneB

    RoxaneB Moderator Staff Member

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    Hmmm...by following this logic, if I am driving too fast and am stopped by the police, the appropriate Ministry/Department who establishes the speed limit should receive the speeding ticket. As much as I love to think that we're all adults in the working world, there will be those who believe that they are exempt from the standardized and/or documented process. Attributing the root cause to your documented process is too simplistic and may not delve deep enough into the real issue.
     
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  6. hogheavenfarm

    hogheavenfarm Well-Known Member

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    Very true Roxane, in our case the head of purchasing is the VP, and the real issue is that top management doesn't feel it has to abide by any rules that the rest of us do.
     
  7. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    A QMS is usually composed of at least 2 groups of processes (i.e. core and support). Core processes, those that are directly involve in the realization of products and services, may include business development, product development, direct materials purchasing, production, quality assurance, etc. Support processes, those that provide support to the core processes, may include human resource management, facility management, financial management, IT services, internal audit, document control, etc. These QMS processes must have owners who will be responsible and accountable to their outputs. Clause 4.4.1e is supported by clause 5.3b which specifies "Top management shall assign the responsibility and authority for...ensuring that the processes are delivering their intended outputs".

    I would like to share this: :)

    This is a story of four people called Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.

    There was some important work that had to be done, and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry because of this, since it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody understood that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended with Everybody blaming Somebody as Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
     
  8. RoxaneB

    RoxaneB Moderator Staff Member

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    Tony, I agree that indicating "Everybody" is responsible for document control is both ineffective and inappropriate, however the standard does, as you quoted, indicate that the process owners are responsible for ensuring processes deliver the intended outputs. Part of the way that is achieved is by following standardized processes (i.e., documentation). Part of the way that is done is by training and having up-to-date documentation.

    John Mann may be the Process Owner for Document Control, but his role is to ensure that there is a process for controlling documentation that is implemented within and adhered to by the organization. He is not, in my opinion, responsible for ensuring every single document is up to date. If Process Owners do not update their documentation accordingly, they are violating the Document Control process.

    If it's one process, it's a localized issue and is probably something that should be assigned to the nonconforming process owner, not the Document Control process owner.

    If it's a systematic issue, then perhaps the document control process needs to be reviewed...or it's a management commitment issue.
     
  9. MarkMeer

    MarkMeer Well-Known Member

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    In our system "responsibility" is not one-dimensional. For example, a process might have the following defined:

    - Who is responsible for maintaining the top-level (procedural) documentation, including processing changes, re-distribution, etc.? (typically the quality system manager)
    - Who is responsible for ensuring the process is operating as planned, and monitoring day-to-day performance? (typically a department manager)
    - Who is responsible for training/re-training? (typically a supervisor)
    - Who has authority to sign-off on records & process outputs? (typically a department manager)
     
  10. pkfraser

    pkfraser Member

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    It is interesting that 9000 does not actually define "responsible" or "authority", nor "accountable" / "accountability".
    If you are Responsible for a task, you "do it or ensure that it is done" - and you need to have the authority to take any decisions required.
    On the other hand, the Process Owner is Accountable for the successful operation of the overall process, ie he is answerable for performance ("he takes the credit if it works", or "has to sort it out if it doesn't"). But he does not need to be (and usually is not) involved in the day-to-day "doing".
     
  11. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this. I've been a Document Controller myself. As a DocCon, I'm responsible to ensure that the latest versions of documents registered on my database are available at points of use. Whenever documents are necessary to be updated, the owner of the process is the one responsible to initiate the change and obtain approvals from the reviewing/approving authorities. Once approved, these documents are forwarded to me for registration. On this part, my responsibility is triggered and make sure that they are provided to concerned individuals or groups. Part of my responsibility is to retrieved superseded documents.
     

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