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Distributor's Link Magazine Summer Issue 2011 / VOL 34 / NO.3


24 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Lorri Hunt Lorri Hunt is the president of Lorri Hunt and Associates, and has 14 years experience in implementing quality management systems in diverse businesses such as Honeywell, the Department of Energy, and small businesses. She is an active member of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ISO Technical Committee 176. She serves as the chair for the United States group responsible for developing consensus positions related to ISO 9001 and 9004. She also served as the international Deputy Task Group Leader to the amendment to ISO 9001:2008. Lorri is a frequent contributor to quality publications and journals and is a co-author to the Insiders’ Guide to ISO 9001:2008. She is also a frequent conference speaker. EMPLOYEE AWARENESS TO QUALITY OBJECTIVES IN A MANAGEMENT SYSTEM One of the challenges in implementing a quality management system is providing a method for how employees are aware to how they contribute to the success of the organization. While there is a specific requirement that employees are aware of the quality objectives, there also should be a focus on employees understanding how their everyday activities have an effect on the quality management. This can be as simple as employees understanding the importance of following procedures and what to do if the procedure is not correct or they do not understand something. This understanding has a direct correlation to less defects and rework because the employee does not perform work that they do not understand. Another aspect related to the clause on competence that has the ability to sustain your quality management system over time is having employees understand how they contribute to relevant quality objectives of the organization. In ISO 9001, Clause 5.4.1 Quality Objectives, the organization has established the quality objectives of the organization and communicated them to employees. Clause 6.2.2 builds on this communication and emphasizes the need for employees to be aware of the quality objectives and the relevance of them in their job. More specifically it is important for an employee to know how they contribute to the achievement of quality objectives in the organization. To understand employee awareness in the context of quality objectives, it is important to first review the requirements for quality objectives. Clause 5.4.1 requires that top management establish quality objectives at relevant functions and levels within the organization. Clause 5.4.1 also requires that the quality objectives shall be measurable and consistent with the quality policy. One of the common mistakes that organizations make is establishing quality objectives that are different than company goals that have already been established for the organization. They instead will develop the organization’s “quality objectives.” For this reason, the first thing the organization needs to consider is whether existing goals meet the intent of the ISO 9001 standard. If this is the case, there is no need to develop any new objectives. The organization can then focus on communicating the objectives and making sure that employees are aware of how they contribute to the objectives. Some organizations with existing goals might find that they need to make some minor changes to existing goals in order for them to meet the requirements of ISO 9001. For example, an organization might have an established goal to improve on-time delivery but the goal cannot be measured as required by the standard. One of the other requirements for quality objectives is that they are set at relevant functions and levels within the organization. The application of this requirement may differ based on the size of the organization and the complexity of the objectives for the organization. please turn to page 124


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