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ISO 9001 Quality Objectives: DOs & DON'Ts

Arrows hitting the target quality objectives

Practical advice on ISO 9001:2015 Clause 6.2 implementation

ISO 9001 Implementation frequently runs into difficulties when addressing the requirements of Clause 6.2.  Here's how we think it should be done.  

But, first things first...

What are Quality Objectives?

Quality Objectives is defined in ISO 9001 : 2015 as: objective related to quality.  Not very helpful. 

ISO/TS 9002 is better. It says… ‘Quality objectives should be established at relevant functions, levels and processes, as appropriate, to ensure the effective deployment of the organization’s strategic direction and its quality policy.

For example, quality objectives might be set at an operational level, for the procurement function or the design process.’

Our Advice: Top management may establish quality objectives at the strategic level, the tactical level or the operational level.

The strategic level includes the highest levels of the organization, and the quality objectives can be applicable to the whole organization. The tactical and operational levels can include quality objectives for specific products, processes, units or functions within the organization and should be compatible with its strategic direction.

How to Set Quality Objectives

Choose Quality Objectives within the scope of the QMS and communicate these to the persons working under the organization’s control who have the ability to influence the achievement of quality objectives.

Quality Objectives do not have to be quality assurance related; although if this were a problem area, top priority should be given to it in choosing objectives.  Objectives such as increasing sales while maintaining the QMS or the introduction of automation to reduce costs would be acceptable.

The chosen objectives must be measurable and stated clearly. Aspirational statements are not acceptable.

 

 

View our ISO 9001 Lead Implementer Certification Course

DOs: Achieving Quality Objectives

In addition to setting Quality Objectives, you must also have a plan for achieving them.  This must include:

  • what will be done;
  • what resources will be required;
  • who will be responsible;
  • when it will be completed;
  • how the results will be evaluated.

Results:

A set of Quality Objectives chosen by top management.  Also, the documentation of the actions that have to be taken within the QMS to achieve the chosen Quality Objectives, and these documented in a series of Improvement Projects or similar.

DON'Ts: Mistakes When Setting Quality Objectives

Here we address the commonly-made errors that lead to non-compliances being found during ISO 9001 Audits.  Some typical errors include:

  • Failure to set measurable objectives.
  • No credible plan to achieve the objectives
  • Objectives too narrowly focused – must be set across many functions and levels within the organization
  • Objectives do not relate to the organization (as documented in fulfilment of Clause 4.1 requirements).
  • Objectives do not relate to the needs and expectations of interested parties (as documented in fulfilment of Clause 4.2 requirements).
  • Failure to monitor and/or review the progress being made in achieving the quality objectives – this is usually documented in a management review report.

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Examples of Quality Objectives

Here's an example of Quality Objectives as documented in a Management Review…

Continual Improvement & Quality Objectives

The QMS continues to work satisfactorily.

Current Quality Objectives:

  1. Establish a system to record Staff performance measurement and versatility. A trial will be carried out for the production area.

Action By: M Cahill & Donald Smyth

Due Date: May 2017 (carried forward)

New Quality Objectives:

  1. Develop top-level Flow Charts for both…
  2. SAP System – Purchasing Process
  3. SAP System – Sales Process

This is primarily for training purposes.

Action By: M Cahill

Due Date: May 2017 (carried forward)

  1. The new Packing System has been introduced. New packing procedures are now required (see CAR 10/15)

Action By: M Cahill

  1. Remove reference to Process Description Master Table from QMS as no longer used.

Action By: M Cahill

Due Date: May 2016 (carried forward)

  1. Five corporate KPIs (mandatory reporting) are adopted as Quality Objectives. These are…
  • Loss time injury rate (LTIR)
  • On-time delivery (OTD)
  • Days Inventory Outstanding (DIO)
  • Customer Complaint Rate (CCR)
  • Productivity (value-added)

In due course, targets will be assigned to each.

Reference to these KPIs as Quality Objectives will be added to the Quality Manual.

Action by: Omar Ahmed

Due Date:  May 2016

Note that the Objectives are not just set when implementing ISO 9001, They are not ‘set in stone’ and will change in time in line with changes to customer and other business requirements.

Conclusion

Quality objectives are a very sensible requirement of ISO 9001.  They keep the QMS grounded in reality.  The need to ensure the effective deployment of the organization’s strategic direction and its quality policy is the foundation of this reality. 

And, whatever you do, do not choose objectives just to meet the standard’s requirement – choose objectives that are meaningful for the organization and aid it in achieving its strategic objectives.  Be sure that this will be checked during your ISO 9001 Certification Audit.

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deGRANDSON Global is an ISO Certified Educational Organization

InISO 21001 ISO 29993 ISO 29994 October 2021 we secured certification to three education-related ISO Standards.  We now have a university-grade management system in place conforming to the requirements of  …

  • ISO 21001, Educational Organizational Management System,
  • ISO 29993, Learning Services outside formal Education,  and
  • ISO 29994, Learning Services – additional requirements for Distance Learning.

We have chosen ISO 21001 certification because, unlike IRCA and Exemplar badges (which in our opinion are commercially compromised), it is based on independent third-party assessment.  It is a ‘university grade’ standard in use globally by schools, colleges, and universities to demonstrate their competence.

 

Written by Dr John FitzGerald

Director & Founder of deGRANDSON Global. Spent 15 years in the manufacturing industry and 25 years training, consulting & auditing management systems
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