Updating ISO Documentation

Document or not to document

During many of our initial assessments of client’s current quality systems we find that the system has too much documentation. I believe that the company is misinterpreting the documentation requirement of ISO. Many believe that we have to document every step of every activity of every day. If that is the case then we do not allow our employees to perform as they have been qualified to perform. We often use the analogy; if your car has a pinging noise you take it to a mechanic. If the mechanic has to pull out a procedure manual to analyze your car, than he is not a mechanic he is a book reader! We go to a mechanic because we believe he is qualified to be a mechanic and he has experience of repairing pinging cars.

Over Documentation
Know we do not want you to misunderstand us, documentation is a necessary requirement for all organizations. We just have to be cautious as to when it is necessary. If you have a process that is giving the company issues or the process is not systematically giving the exact outputs than you have to consider using a procedure/work instruction and training the necessary employees on this procedure/work instruction. This documentation would be used to control such process.

Once you have decided to use documentation to control processes, we now have to change the culture of the company. Many organizations generate procedure/work instructions on the fly to control a process so that the current problem does not come up again. But once the process changes, in the future, the process owners do not consider updating the procedure/work instruction.

They go to the employees to verbally explain the change and never update the procedure/work instruction. So management needs to always consider updating the documentation first, identify the necessary employees that need to be trained on the update and then actually train the employees on the update. If this happens then the quality management system will never fail the company and the company will continue to always see continuous improvement.

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