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Management commitment to quality is important to any successful management system. Many standards, such as ISO/IEC 17025, require management commitment to impartiality, continual improvement, and development and implementation of the management system.

During this webinar, we went over standard requirements that pertain to management commitment and gave examples of how to apply the requirements as part of management activities. We also touched on the benefits of accreditation in promoting quality and demonstrating management commitment to quality.

Our speaker for the webinar, Melanie Ross, is the Technical Products Developer at ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) and has over 20 years of experience in quality assurance, quality control, and quality management. She has worked in several different industries, including chemical, biological, oil and gas, and aerospace. Her main role in each of these industries was the development of management systems, including internal audit programs, vendor qualification procedures, and implementation of lean six sigma. Currently, Melanie is a Technical Products Developer for ANAB designing and delivering training courses and supporting client outreach through business development activities. Her role serves as a technical resource to customers, assessors, and other interested parties.

This blog is a recap of what was discussed in the full webinar, which can be accessed here.

Importance of Management Commitment to Quality

Management’s commitment to quality is very important because they provide the resources for implementation and maintenance of the management system which contains all the processes related to quality. Their involvement and engagement is needed throughout the organization in order to lead by example and to provide quality processes for individuals to use.

The policies and objectives that management sets need to be meaningful to the organization and not just set because of a requirement in a standard but drive the business. They are also responsible for driving the integration of the management system into business operations.

The standard requirements are not just an exercise in order to check all the boxes, but an opportunity for management to show the importance of quality and their commitment to quality.

Who is “top management” in relation to ISO/IEC 17025?

Numerous ISO standards use the term “top management” to indicate the highest level of management in the organization. When we think of top management, we often think of senior managers (CEOS, VPs, Directors of HR, etc.). In a laboratory, they may not necessarily have those roles. You may just have a laboratory supervisor. In that case, top management may be the laboratory manager.

Standard Requirements

ISO/IEC 17025:2017

There are many areas of the standard that state “management shall”, and we will list a few of those areas below:

  • Management shall have a commitment to impartiality (4.1.2)
  • Management has the overall responsibility for the laboratory (5.2)
  • Management needs to define the management structure and relationships (5.5.a)
  • Management needs to ensure communication takes place regarding effectiveness of management system and meeting requirements (5.7.a)
  • Management shall ensure the integrity of the management system maintained when changes are planned and implemented.
  • Management shall communicate duties, responsibilities, and authorities to personnel (6.2.4)
  • Managers need to establish, document, and maintain policies and objectives (8.2.1)
  • They must provide evidence of commitment to development and implementation of management system (8.2.3)
  • Ensure results of internal audits reported to relevant management (8.8.2.c)
  • Review management system at planned intervals to ensure continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness (8.9.1)

ISO 9001:2015

Top management shall….

  • Demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to the quality management system
  • Create accountability for effectiveness of system
  • Establish quality policies and objectives
  • Integrate management system into business processes
  • Promote use of process approach and risk-based thinking
  • Ensure resources are available
  • Communicate importance of effective management and conformity to requirements
  • Ensure management system achieves intended results
  • Engage, direct and support persons
  • Promote improvement
  • Support relevant management roles
  • Demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to customer focus
  • Determine, understand, and consistently meet customer requirements
  • Determine and address risks and opportunities
  • Maintain focus on enhancing customer satisfaction

Applying the Requirements

While the standards often state things like communicate with personnel and assign responsibilities and authorities, it doesn’t tell you how to apply the requirements and there are a lot of different ways that management can apply the requirements to the standard. Melanie suggested a few ways to apply the requirements:

  • Using position descriptions that define those duties, responsibilities and authorities
  • Organizational charts define the relationships in the organization
  • The policies and procedures state how to get the job done
  • Setting goals and objectives that are guided by the above policies and procedures
  • Staff meetings, production meetings, line walks
  • Memorandums
  • Management can make a commitment to quality by committing to accreditation or certification
  • Another area where you can see management commitment to quality is in the field of product certification. Product certification infuses a degree of confidence and trust in the products that are certified. Products are certified to specified requirements via testing, for example. It is an impartial and competent demonstration of fulfillment of these specified requirements by a third party
  • Also, by using “Personnel Credentialing”, management can demonstrate a commitment to quality. It helps ensure that personnel meet the required standards of training for the positions they hold

Demonstrated Commitment to Quality

Top management needs to take accountability for the effectiveness of the management system. In other words, top management needs to lead by example. The team needs to understand the internal and external issues that impact the organization. This allows them to focus their efforts on the best area that they can demonstrate a commitment to quality. One of the best ways to demonstrate that commitment is to create a culture of quality and customer satisfaction. This is where individuals understand their responsibilities and authorities within the organization and act on those in an appropriate manner through the processes that are laid out in the management system. Lastly, integrate the management system and quality system into business operations and processes.

Categories: Audits, Compliance Management

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