Week in Review

I have spent the majority of this last week in London performing 3rd party certification audits in the digital and engineering industries.

Something that I am seeing frequently, and worth mentioning, is the management of objectives. Objectives can provide real value to an organisation when embraced in the way that the Standard(s) suggest. Unfortunately a handful of organisations that I have visited recently just have not grasped the significance of objectives, with a couple not having reviewed or monitored objectives for well over 12 months, resulting in major nonconformances.

Objectives should represent what is important from a quality (in the case of ISO 9001) point of view, in particular to your interested parties (of which you will have already identified and defined requirements). Your Policy sets the scene, as a statement of intent, describing what you, as an organisation, value and what your intentions are. Objectives should be derived from the Policy, along with a review of:

  • interested parties and their requirements
  • statutory, legislative and other requirements and obligations
  • the current performance regarding the provision of products and services, including levels of customer satisfaction

Objectives needs to be documented. When setting an objective, consider these questions:

  • what are you trying to achieve? (reduce/eliminate/increase…etc.)
  • What is the target – how will you know when you have achieved the objective?
  • What is/are the measure(s) or KPI’s that will enable you to monitor progress?
  • Who is responsible for the achievement of the objective?
  • What is the timescale? Without a timescale, there can be a lack of focus, and achievement can take longer than necessary.
  • What are the tasks that need to be conducted in order to achieve the objective? These can be simple, single tasks, or more complex project plans – whatever is suitable to the achievement of the objective. How are these plans managed?

Objectives need to be communicated to staff, especially those that are going to be involved in the plans for their achievement. Also, you may wish to communicate with relevant parties internally and externally regarding progress and where appropriate, achievement of objectives.

Finally, periodically review and document your progress towards the achievement of objectives, and take action where required. Don’t forget to review your objectives at Management Review.

For more information and guidance, just get in touch in the usual way.

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