Managing quality - You can do it! - Part 2
In Part 1 we looked at the general background to ISO 9002 and why you should be starting the work to get registration for your quality system. This month we will look at the general requirements of ISO 9002 with specific reference to the requirements for the documentation.
The simple process towards registration was described in Part 1 and is shown below in Figure 2.1.
Say what you do.
Do what you say you do.
Figure 2.1: The Steps to Registration
Getting the 'Say what you do' right is one of the most difficult tasks for any fabricator and yet documentation is one of the keys to successful implementation of a quality system. If anything it is the area that most fabricators fail to get right.
ISO 9002 requires that you have a documented system but does not strictly specify how you should lay out your documentation and the opportunities for confusion are plentiful! There are some 'traditions' for the methods of setting out the documentation and one of the most common is the Quality System Triangle (see Figure 2.2 below).
Figure 2.2: The Triangle of Documentation
The components of the triangle are as follows:
- The quality policy - this sets the tone and feel for the whole system.
- The quality manual - this describes what we do and how this relates to the standard
- The quality procedures - these describe the flow of actions or information in each business process.
- The works instructions - these describe the detail of each business process
We will now consider the contents and use of each of these components separately
The Quality Policy is a statement of intent by the company and sets out the overall policy, aims and objectives of the company in terms of quality and management systems. It should be written and signed by the Managing Director to show that the necessary management commitment is present and should reflect the individuality of every company. Do not be tempted to copy from somebody else!
The quality manual can be in one of two formats:
- It can be an 'inclusive manual', which includes all the procedures and required documentation.
- It can be a 'reference manual' which refers to the relevant procedures and required documentation.
Tangram Technology always recommends the reference manual approach as this makes distribution and maintenance easier in the long term. In this case the quality manual is the overview statement and it gives everybody the guide to the system. It does not describe the individual procedures in detail but gives an indication of how they fit into the overall scheme of things for the Quality System. Depending on the exact content, this may be an uncontrolled document and widely distributed. After registration, Tangram Technology recommends that the manual is properly printed up and given to all staff, customers and suppliers so that they know that you are serious. The 'reference' type of Quality Manual can be made relatively 'change-proof' although if there are changes in organisation or structure then this needs to be reflected in the organisation chart in the document.
It is possible to extend the basic quality manual to provide a 'Management Systems Manual'. The extensions can be in the form of statements, principles and practices for Health and Safety, Environmental and Equal Opportunities. The extensions can be useful if you need a convenient method to distribute and control this type of documentation for the company. If these extensions are included then you must ensure that you 'Do what you say you do'. Tangram Technology also suggest the creation of a 'Company Handbook' for all employees in the same format to cover the essential requirements of employment legislation.
As with Rudyard Kipling the quality procedures are the documents, which specify the flow of actions or information in each business process. They therefore give details of:
- What action is taken or checked.
- How the action is taken or checked.
- When the action is taken or checked.
- Who carries out the action or check.
- What is to be done if the process is not to the standard.
- What records are kept and where they are kept.
The procedures are the detailed descriptions of the business processes and the generation of these generally takes the longest time of all. The procedures must be very specific about the details of the system and in many cases there are gaps in the systems that lead to confusion in the operations. It is not unusual for the writing of the procedures to highlight areas of the systems, which need review or improvement.
ISO 9002 is divided into sections according the process being considered and a layout of the procedures is given in Figure 2.3 (below). This divides the procedures into the Control Procedures (those which either control or otherwise support the system) and the Operating Procedures (those which deal directly with the manufacture of the product).
Figure 2.3: The procedure layout
The function of the Work Instructions is to make sure that all operators and workers know precisely what they are expected to do at each workstation or in each process. Generally the systems suppliers fabrication manuals provides the basis for the Works Instructions but these can be modified to cover any fabricator specific operations carried out, generally hardware attachment requires specific Works Instructions for each type of hardware. The Works Instructions should be designed so that they can be copied, laminated and fixed to the wall or another suitable place near the workstation. These are the 'front-end instructions' that the operators see each day as a constant reminder of their duties. In the Works Instructions it is possible to refer to the skill and experience of your workers -but you must be prepared to justify this if asked.
An extension to the standard approach is to use the Works Instructions to generate a Works Training Manual for use by the Production Manager as a training aid and reference document. It is also possible to generate a Health and Safety Training Manual in the same format to cover the training needs for Health and Safety and to kill two birds with one stone.
"Managing quality" is designed to give you direct and clear information on the requirements of ISO 9002. The series has been written specifically for window fabricators but most of the information is equally relevant to plastics processing of a general nature. The series is:
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2 - The requirements of ISO 9002 (This section)
Part 3 - The procedures (Section 1)
Part 4 - The procedures (Section 2)
Part 5 - The procedures (Section 3)
Part 6 - The procedures (Section 4)
Part 7 - The procedures (Section 5)
Last edited: 11/03/10
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