Clause 7.4 of ISO 9001:2015 standard is titled "Communication" and it requires organizations to establish and maintain a process for internal and external communication relevant to the quality management system. The clause has three sub-clauses:
- General: The organization is required to determine the internal and external communications relevant to the quality management system. The communication process should be documented, and information should be made available to relevant interested parties.
- Internal Communication: The organization should ensure that communication takes place within the organization regarding the effectiveness of the quality management system. This communication can be in the form of meetings, reports, or any other appropriate means.
- External Communication: The organization should determine what information needs to be communicated externally, including to customers, suppliers, and other interested parties. This information can include product or service information, quality performance, or any other relevant information.
The purpose of this clause is to ensure that the organization establishes an effective communication process that enables the sharing of relevant information within the organization and with external interested parties. This clause is essential for maintaining a consistent and effective quality management system that meets customer needs and expectations.
ISO 9001 -Clause 7.4 Communication- why it is important?
ISO 9001 Clause 7.4 focuses on communication, both internal and external, and its importance in maintaining an effective quality management system (QMS). Here are some reasons why communication is important:
- Internal Communication: Effective communication within an organization is essential to ensure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in relation to quality. This includes communication of quality objectives, policies, procedures, and other relevant information that may impact the quality of products or services. By communicating effectively, employees can make informed decisions and work together to achieve common quality goals.
- External Communication: Communication with external parties, such as customers, suppliers, regulators, and other stakeholders, is essential for ensuring that their needs and expectations are understood and met. By communicating effectively, organizations can build stronger relationships with their customers and suppliers, ensure compliance with regulations, and respond to changing market needs.
- Consistency: Consistent communication is essential for ensuring that everyone is on the same page and that quality requirements are met consistently. By establishing clear communication channels and protocols, organizations can reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings and errors that can impact quality.
- Continuous Improvement: Effective communication is essential for identifying opportunities for improvement and implementing changes that can enhance the effectiveness of the QMS. By encouraging open communication and feedback, organizations can identify areas for improvement and implement changes that can lead to better quality outcomes.
In summary, effective communication, both internal and external, is essential for maintaining an effective QMS that meets customer needs and expectations, complies with regulations, ensures consistency, and drives continuous improvement. Clause 7.4 of ISO 9001 emphasizes the importance of communication and provides guidance on how to establish effective communication channels and protocols within an organization.
The objectives of ISO 9001 Clause 7.4 Communication are:
- To ensure that everyone within the organization understands the importance of communication in maintaining an effective QMS and the role they play in communicating information related to quality.
- To establish effective communication channels and protocols within the organization, to ensure that relevant information related to quality is communicated to the right people at the right time.
- To ensure that external communication with customers, suppliers, regulators, and other stakeholders is effective and timely, to meet their needs and expectations and maintain good relationships.
- To ensure that communication is consistent and that everyone is on the same page in terms of quality requirements, processes, and procedures.
- To encourage open communication and feedback, to identify opportunities for improvement and implement changes that can enhance the effectiveness of the QMS.
- To ensure that communication is documented and that records are maintained, to provide evidence of compliance and support for continuous improvement.
In summary, the objectives of ISO 9001 Clause 7.4 Communication are to establish effective communication channels and protocols, ensure that everyone is aware of their role in communicating quality-related information, and maintain consistent, timely, and documented communication within and outside the organization.