ISO 9001 - Clause 5.2: Communicating the quality policy

by Elina D

How is a quality policy established?

The quality policy is the overall intent of an organisation regarding quality as formalised by top management. It establishes the direction to be taken by an organisation in terms of quality. The development of a quality policy is mandated by ISO 9001. The document also requires that the policy be reviewed for continued suitability at least once per year.

 


There are four generally accepted steps for developing a quality policy. They are as follows:

  1. Identify the organisation's customers and their needs.
  2. Identify the organisation's products and services.
  3. Identify the organisation's goals and objectives.
  4. Transform the information gathered in the first three steps into a quality policy statement.

The quality policy statement should answer the following questions:

  1. Who are our customers?
  2. What do they need or want from us?
  3. What are our goals?
  4. How do we plan to achieve our goals?

Quality policy and continual improvement

The Quality policy and continual improvement process is a key requirement of the ISO 9001 standard. It ensures that organisations are constantly working to improve their quality management system (QMS).

The Quality policy is a statement from top management that outlines the organisation's commitment to quality. It should be reviewed and updated as needed to ensure it remains relevant.
A continual improvement process is a structured approach to identifying and making changes to the QMS. It should be ongoing, systematic, and driven by data.
The Quality policy and continual improvement process are essential for ensuring that the QMS remains effective. By making continual improvements, organisations can continually improve their performance and meet the needs of their customers.

Quality policy and top management 

The Quality Policy is a document that guides the organization on how to meet its quality objectives. It is the foundation for quality management within the organization.
The top management of an organization is responsible for the development and implementation of the quality policy. They are also responsible for ensuring that the quality policy is reviewed and updated as needed.
The quality policy should be developed with the input of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and other interest groups. It should be reviewed periodically to ensure that it remains relevant and effective.

Communicating the quality policy.

Organisations that implement ISO 9001 are required to have a quality policy that is communicated to all relevant interested parties. The quality policy sets out the organisation's Intentions and Direction regarding quality. It provides a framework for setting and reviewing quality objectives. The elements of the quality policy are used to assess the effectiveness of the quality management system.
The quality policy is an important element of the organisational structure of an ISO 9001 certified organisation. It is a document that is reviewed and updated on a regular basis. The quality policy is communicated to all relevant interested parties, and it is publicised within the organisation. The quality policy provides a framework for setting and reviewing quality objectives.
One of the requirements of the ISO 9001 standard is that organisations must communicate their quality policy to all employees. This can be done in several ways, such as through employee training, company newsletters, or displays in the workplace.
The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that all employees are aware of the organisation's commitment to quality and understand their role in achieving it. By doing this, employees can be more motivated to work towards the common goal of providing high-quality products and services.
Organisations that communicate their quality policy to employees can reap a number of benefits, such as increased employee satisfaction and motivation, improved customer satisfaction, and increased sales.

As per ISO 9001:2015, What are the things that must be communicated?

To ensure that an organisation can meet the requirements of its customers, as well as other interested parties, effective communication must be maintained throughout the organisation. As per ISO 9001:2015, the following things must be communicated:
1. The requirements of the customers
2. The requirements of other interested parties
3. The organisation's quality policy
4. The organisation's quality objectives
5. The results of customer satisfaction surveys
6. The results of audits
7. The results of reviews of the quality management system
8. The results of corrective and preventive actions
9. Changes to the quality management system

Communication: A support process to make your QMS work

One of the most important factors in the success of any organization is effective communication. This is especially true in the case of a Quality Management System (QMS), which requires all members of an organization to be on the same page to function properly.
To ensure effective communication within a QMS, several steps need to be taken. First, the right channels of communication need to be established. Second, clear, and concise communication tools need to be put in place. Finally, regular communication must be maintained to keep everyone updated on the latest developments.
With proper communication in place, a QMS can run smoothly and efficiently – resulting in a better-quality product or service for the customer.

What will be communicated?

The standard is divided into 7 sections, each of which covers a different aspect of quality management.
The sections are:

1. Quality management system: This section outlines the requirements for a quality management system, including its planning, implementation, and maintenance.
2. Documentation: This section covers the requirements for creating and maintaining quality management system documents, such as policies, procedures, and records.
3. Control of documents: This section describes the requirements for controlling documents within a quality management system, including document control procedures and storage.
4. Control of records: This section specifies the requirements for controlling records within a quality management system, including record retention periods and methods of storage.
5. Internal audits: This section outlines the requirements for conducting internal audits of a quality management system, including audit scope, frequency, and methodology.
6. Control of nonconformities: This section describes the requirements for addressing any nonconformities that are identified within a quality management system, including corrective actions and preventive actions.
7. Corrective and preventive action: This section covers the requirements for developing and implementing corrective and preventive actions in response to nonconformities or potential nonconformities identified during the operations of a quality management system.

When you will communicate

To ensure the effective implementation of ISO 9001, communication is essential. Communication should take place between all individuals and departments within the organization, as well as between the organization and external interested parties.
There are four specific times when communication should take place about ISO 9001:
1. When developing the quality management system
2. When communicating the quality policy
3. When setting quality objectives
4. When conducting management review meetings.
Each of these times is vitally important to the success of the ISO 9001 quality management system. By ensuring that communication takes place at these key times, you can be sure that everyone is on the same page and that the system is running smoothly.

Whom you will communicate

The standard specifies the requirements for a quality management system (QMS) that can be used to produce consistently good products and services. It applies to any organization regardless of its size or product.
An important part of the ISO 9001 standard is the requirement to communicate with interested parties. This means that you need to identify and document who your stakeholders are, and what information needs to be communicated to them.
There are four groups of interested parties that you need to communicate with in ISO 9001:
• Customers
• Regulatory bodies
• Suppliers
• Other interested parties

How you will communicate

You must have a plan for how you will communicate with your employees, customers, and other interested parties about your ISO 9001 system. This plan should include:
• How you will communicate internally within your organisation
• How you will communicate externally with customers and other interested parties
• What methods you will use to communicate (e.g., newsletters, website, social media, etc.)
• Who will be responsible for communicating ISO 9001 information
• How often you will communicate
Your plan should be tailored to your organization's needs and should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

Who does the communication

In ISO 9001, communication is the responsibility of everyone in the organisation. The standard requires that all employees be aware of the quality policy and objectives and how their work contributes to them.
There are four main types of communication in ISO 9001:

1. Internal communication - Internal communication refers to communication between employees within the organisation. This includes communication about the quality management system, quality objectives, and any changes to the system.
2. External communication - External communication refers to communication with customers, suppliers, and other interested parties. This includes communicating about the organisation's products and services, as well as any changes to the products or services.
3. Customer communication - Customer communication refers to communication with customers about their needs and expectations. This includes communicating about product features, delivery times, and warranty information.
4. supplier communication - Supplier communication refers to communication with suppliers about their products and services. This includes communicating about product specifications, delivery times, and payment terms.