ISO 9001:2015 requires organisations to establish quality objectives. They need to be established for all relevant functions, levels and processes of the organisation, (and potentially appropriate externally provided services it utilises.) The objectives are determined by the business itself, to be consistent with achieving conformity of products / services and enhancement of customer satisfaction. IE They should be part of the business planning processes and add value, not just be a quality system "bolt on." Documented information on the objectives also must also be maintained.
Top management need to ensure these objectives:
In order to achieve its quality objectives, top management must also ensure the business follows a process to determine what actions need to be taken and resources required, who will be responsible, what are the target dates / timelines and how the results will be evaluated. (IE: Planning.)
Quality objectives should take the widest view of "Quality". They can (and indeed should!) focus on the customers experience of the quality of product or service directly provided, but should also consider how this can be impacted by the wider organisation. That is, to use joined up thinking when considering what areas of the Business Management System should be focussed on. Objectives will be unique for each organisation and be need to be updated as the needs of the business changes. Examples of applicable areas to consider might include:
Safety, staff engagement / satisfaction surveys, staff turnover, productivity, absenteeism, % trained per role.
Customer surveys, on time delivery monitors, customer returns as % or PPM (Parts Per Million defective), Non Conformance Reports received, Concession requests raised, NCR close out rates, Warranty claims received, services support lead time, scrap %, Improvements suggested / implemented.
Operations: (Overall performance and down to individual process level.)
Reduction in internal defect rates, scrap rates, rework, reduction in cycle time, changeover time, process audit results, plant availability / breakdowns monitors.
Bought Out / Supplied parts and services
On time deliveries, PPM defects received, NCR's raised, Concessions requested, Completeness of documentation received (test certificates, dimensional reports etc,) Service Level Agreements achievement.
Other Supporting Processes
New Product Introduction milestones achieved to plan, Internal Systems Audit results and achievement to plan, Customer Invoicing accuracy.
Improvement objectives are probably already present in your organisation, even if they are informally agreed at the moment, but remember Quality Objectives have to be relevant to product / service conformity and must be "SMART". IE.
Lastly, focus on the "Vital Few" areas which need improving, to many objectives overload individuals and departments and lose Management focus when trying to track a plethora Key Performance Indicators. (KPIs.)
Auditors are being advised to check that not only are objectives defined, but also that they reflect the quality policy and overall business strategic objectives, including customer requirements, and that effective planning is taking place.
The level of planning can also come under scrutiny to ensure it includes the way the objectives are effectively cascaded to all levels of the organisation and to ensure objectives are adequately resourced. (See SMART above)
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David Barker CQP MCQI