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Why Does ISO Require So Many Records?

For most folks new to ISO requirements, the common complaint is “I don’t have time for all these records”. It shouldn’t mean mountains of paper and more time, and ISO never said “Thou Shalt Kill Trees”. But let me ask you something – how often each day do you spend time looking for information, or having to interrupt someone else for it? ISO encourages records for two reasons:


  • Organizational knowledge (section 7.1.6) – requires that info necessary for the operation of its process is maintained and available (instead of in someone’s head, or in that huge stack of papers, or not backed up.) Some benefits: people can take vacations and be interrupted less, and you can scale as needed and still have the info needed to complete the task – which helps the company save time, money, lost productivity, and errors.

  • Process control (8.1) – a clear process definition (whether it’s a flow chart, a check list, a manufacturing order or traveler) in a standardized format (paper or electronic) ensures that whoever does the job saves the same information – which affects productivity downstream.

Suggestion: As you find gaps/variances in information, standardize. Identify the first place the info is collected, the best way to share it downstream, and add that in your process controls.

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