Organisations are required by ISO 9001:2015 to determine the internal and external communications relevant to the management system. IE:
Note that as with the competence and awareness clauses, the standard also has a specific external reference which should not be overlooked. External communication requirements may include suppliers and subcontract services and comprise of for example: Quality Policy, Contracts terms and conditions, service level agreements, order fulfilment, performance reporting etc.
Organisations which have fully embraced the Process Approach for their management system, including the identification of inputs and outputs of sub-processes, may find that they have addressed much of these requirements already. Especially if existing systems and process documentation utilises Process Maps or Turtle Diagrams for example, to represent the processes and information flow therein.
Businesses utilising advanced improvements tools such as Lean methodology or Six Sigma may also have employed Value Stream Mapping as a tool to understand and improve process and information flow and so already have a good understanding of operational level communications, both inside and outside of the business. Alternatively, organisations just beginning to develop their communication plans, may find a simple matrix defining what, when, with whom and how, for both internal and external communications a useful aid to identify and address any gaps.
Note: Customer Communication requirements are specifically referenced separately in clause 8.2.1.
Auditors will be looking to determine if organisations are identifying and addressing both the internal and external communications as described.
In addition, businesses will need to be able to demonstrate that the specific what, when, with whom and how of communications have been addressed.
This article is the property of David Barker Consulting © and is free for you to use. If you wish to reproduce elsewhere, please be so kind as to ask permission first and credit me as your source. If you need any further assistance, feel free to use my contacts page to get in touch and let me know how I can help!
David Barker CQP MCQI