Quality Management Policy And How You Develop A Good One. 

The Quality Management Policy is a document stating the Quality Objectives of an organisation. It should be formulated by Top Management with the support of Quality experts.

It will contain Statements on

  1. The acceptable level of quality and
  2. The duties of all internal functions or departments to ensure that quality is met.

It is a document that will outline long-term strategic approach to quality and will usually have a ten year scope.

The Definition of a Policy is:

Noun (plural policies): a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by an organization or individual:

Source: http://oxforddictionaries.com

As it became a requirement from the ISO9000 Quality Standards (See section 5.3), the Quality Management Policy became more widespread.

The standard also required that this clearly defined quality Policy must be clearly communicated to all members of the organisation and that there should be evidence that it has been understood by everyone, via training or counter-signing or similar.

The importance of the Quality of ManagementThe Importance of the Quality Of Management.

Common Pitfalls of The Quality Policy Design

1.       There is an understandable tendency to simply take a template for such a Quality Policy from the internet, get it quickly signed and be done with it. Unfortunately, this type of Quality policy won’t be a living document and will end up not being worth the paper it is written on, unless it contains the key issues for your organisation.

2.       By not communicating the Quality management policy to all members in the organisation, you will also have achieved nothing more than an extra piece of paper that will work as an alibi for a short time and will ultimately lead to a Quality management that people will not take seriously.

3.       If the Quality Policy is not tied to the company’s strategy, it will also fail. It needs to have clear objectives that are realistic, achievable, measurable, describing a timeframe and specific. Smart and real!

How to go about developing a Quality Management Policy

Step 1

Definition of Mission Statement (Noun): A formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual: a mission statement to which all employees can subscribe

Definition of Vision [noun]: A mental image of what the future will or could be like

Source: http://oxforddictionaries.com

Find out what the Company’s, and not just the Quality Management's, Vision and Mission are.

Determine what the role of Quality Management is in this vision and what does this mean? Will the Quality Policy reflect the aims and values of the organisation and what areas will the Quality management contribute to this vision?

For example, will Quality Management aim to achieve some award in recognition of their work, ISO9000 certification, TickIt, TL9000, EQA (European Quality Award) from the EFQM (European Foundation of Quality Management), Malcolm Baldridge Award.

How will the Quality management approach focus on Customer Satisfaction?

What about Stakeholders? How will their requirements be recognised and reflected in the Quality management policy? Who are the Stakeholders of the organisation or company and what are their needs? Which of these needs have top priority?

Step 2: Analyse

There are many ways of defining the objectives. One approach is to take the Cause and Effect Diagram and determine the requirements and therefore objectives in the areas of:

  • Manpower / People
  • Materials
  • Measurement
  • Environment
  • Means
  • Maintenance
  • Procedures
  • Technology (including equipment and machinery)

Or whatever you choose.

However, I personally feel that the Critical to Quality Tree is the better way to go. This will look at the main drivers of Quality and the requirements on those drivers. From this we can easily determine the Quality Objectives and from there the Quality Policy.

Top Management are to sign the Quality Policy as proof of their agreement to these objectives and as proof of their support in achieving the goals.

Step 3

Once the Quality Objectives have been woven into the Quality Policy, it is important to have this communicated and understood by all in the organisation.

The key point in this – and it is no easy undertaking – is to keep it real! I have seen Quality Policies being sent out as mass emails with a “here you go. I don’t care if you really read it!” approach.

How you best address this within your organisation, will be specific to the culture in your company. Keeping it real will ensure that all the effort you have put into writing and designing this policy was worthwhile.

With ISO9000 Certification, Management reviews are required. During these management review sessions, the Quality Policy is reviewed for its continued validity.  

Conclusion: The Quality Policy will plot your course of action in the company how Quality and the meeting of requirements is to be achieved.

Have you seen our Video "Write a Mission Statement" yet? It may be helpful for you in the writing of your Quality Management Policy.

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