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Planning and Objectives

Since conversion from older versions is due by 9/15/2018, we are looking at some of the new concepts and their application. Last year we discussed the strategic fundamentals of Context of the Organization, Interested Parties, Leadership requirements, Defining QMS processes, and Risk based thinking. This year we’ll be focused on application – making your system benefit you. And since it’s January, we’ll start with:


Planning and Objectives: (the core of any management system).

Did you grow up hearing “what we measure, we achieve”? ISO strongly believes this to be true, so the requirement to set objectives now includes planning to achieve them. There go the objectives that everyone ignores because they are impossible to meet! Objectives must be established at relevant function, levels, and processes (not just huge corporate wide goals). The purpose of these lower level goals is that when each team knows and meets their goals, the company as a whole will meet its goals and achieve its quality policy. Whether you call them objectives, goals, targets, or KPI’s (Key Process Indicators) the standard says they must be:

  • Consistent with the quality policy -- if the policy says “meets customer expectations”, have objectives for at least on-time delivery and complaints

  • Measurable -- with specific defined time frame, quantity, or quality

  • Take into account applicable requirements -- regulatory as well as customer

  • Be relevant to product conformity or customer satisfaction -- products delivered OnTime & In Full (OTIF), response times, or service level agreements

  • Be monitored and reviewed for progress -- at set intervals at team or management meetings

  • Be communicated -- employees must be aware of what the objectives are and how they contribute; and outsourced service providers need to know the quality and environmental objectives that you are measuring them against. Scorecards, Dashboards, LEAN boards, and OBEYA walls are all tools used to visually communicate objectives vs reality, and drive team participation. Teams own the goals they helped set!

  • Be updated as appropriate -- setting new ones once achieved, or adding interim steps to achieve a goal that has been missed, or adding new goals to address new issues or requirements

  • Be maintained as documented information -- they must be written down, and not just tribal knowledge, and postings must be maintained/updated

Next step – ensuring we achieve the plan (like the difference between wanting a clean kid’s room and seeing it happen). Companies must determine an action plan:

  • What will be done (specific actions and methods)

  • What resources are required (ensuring they are available where needed)

  • Who will be responsible (by team or department, not “the ISO rep”)

  • When it will be completed (without a deadline, completion is dubious)

  • How results will be evaluated. (team project or management reviews, performance reviews, supplier reviews)

One last thought – Change happens! When you identify needed changes (like the 2015 revisions, new product lines, new environmental requirements, changes in process, supply chain, or key personnel, new location, technology, outsourced processes, etc.) planning ensures that the system continues to function during implementation (like a trial run to identify any issues, resources and people needed). Implementation plans will vary by the risk. Happy goal setting!

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