The 2015 revision of ISO 9001 has removed the requirement of a Quality Manual, something that has been needed historically if your organization has wanted to achieve and maintain certification. This requirement appears no more! Woohoo! Shred those Quality Manuals and never look back!
Right? If the standard doesn't say we need it, then we don't need it. One less document to maintain. Finally, life as an ISO 9001 certified company is getting easier!
Let's hold on a second...
A common practice to create and maintain a Quality Manual for the ISO 9001:2008 standard (and earlier versions) was to create an exact copy of the verbiage in the standard, change all of the "shall" words with "will" or similar term that fits, change all references to "the organization" to the name of your company, slap a few logos on it, give it a control number and publish it.
And then...nothing. Let it sit for years until the new standard is published and then repeat this copy-paste process all over again. That practice, although common, doesn't help anyone.
It's Time to Re-Think the Manual
Now is the perfect time to rethink the Quality Manual. Take a step back and really consider what a manual should do for your company - provide the framework for your entire management system. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Keeping your Business Manual Current
Even if your ISO Certified Company has a thorough and accurate Manual for the previous year, it is still very important to keep this document up to date. Here are some things to watch out for that may trigger the need for an update.
So, there are some things to think about. Even though the Quality Manual is not mandatory, it is still very much necessary. Use this opportunity to increase the role of the Manual within your business management system.
Do you have a have an interesting way that you have made your manual more valuable? Please share in the comments below.
Christopher M. Spranger, MBA, ASQ MBB
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