As quality is an essential requirement to be maintained throughout the processes, the people, and the systems in the organization, in the current competitive business environment, it is useful to know how to prepare a quality manual. When discussing quality concepts, quality manual can be considered as an essential element that is documented by the organizations. This article focuses mainly on the preparation of a quality manual.
What is Quality Manual
A Quality Manual is a document that indicates the operational procedures that are required to achieve the consistency throughout the organization while fulfilling the customer requirements.These procedures outline the intention of the management in maintaining quality throughout their organization according to the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management Standard.
Usually managers are used to review the quality system operating periodically within the organization in order to ensure its continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness. These reviews determine new opportunities for improvement and the need for changes to the quality system, including the quality policy and quality objectives. Therefore, quality manual can be considered as a useful document in communicating the expectations of the management to maintain the quality standards within the organization, to illustrate the company’s compliance with ISO 9000 requirements, to serve as a measure for compliance to management’s expectations for the Internal audits, ISO Registrar audits and customer audits.
How to prepare a quality manual
The quality manual which is created by the organization should contain the following:
• The scope of the quality management system, with details and justification and the exclusions.
• The documented procedures established for the quality management system with the references to them.Usually there are only six documented procedures required by the ISO 9001 standard (Control of Documents, Control of Records, Internal Audit, Control of Non-Conforming Products, Corrective Actions & Preventive Actions).
• A description of the interaction between the processes of the quality management system. A flowchart can be useful to identify all the processes in the organization with arrows showing the connections. A depth flowchart helps to understand the interactions between processes within the organizations.
In terms of the content, it can be further categorized into following sections:
• The company’s quality policy which indicates the company’s commitment towards maintaining quality.
• A detailed description about the company’s documentation structure.
• Policy statements that express the management’s intention to comply with ISO 9000 requirements.
The policies should cover all areas of the ISO standard and must be traceable to them. These policies must include:
• The expected ways of the management to function the operations of the organization.
• The responsible parties to implement these expectations (in terms of the function or job title).
• The areas in which the policies are applicable within the organization.
• The levels of interdependencies that exist between functions and processes.
• Assigning one or more management representatives for quality in the organization.
• A description about the hierarchy of the organization usually in the form of an organization chart, top level of the company, etc.