Continual improvement draws together various aspects of the Quality Management System:
ISO 9001 requires continual improvement of the effectiveness of the QMS.
Continual improvement is driven by the objectives set by top management. As a minimum, quality objectives should address:
There is no requirement that the organisation should set objectives for improvement of all its processes at any one time. It would be unrealistic to expect an organisation to make progress in all potential improvements simultaneously.
Each improvement will require the commitment of resources, which should be prioritised by top management, especially if investment is required.
Inputs for improvement opportunities are obtained from the following sources:
Opportunities for improvement may also be identified on a special project basis. The following are examples of such projects:
It is not a mandatory requirement to document your continual improvement process. However, you should always look to adequately define and control any operational processes that stimulate the betterment of your quality management system. Therefore, the implementation of a continual improvement procedure will be appropriate to the majority of businesses.
Develop and implement a procedure that defines the roles and responsibilities for:
We provide a Continual Improvement Procedure template to help you manage this process in many of our ISO Templates.
The effectiveness of the continual improvement process is often determined by looking for evidence that the organisation has ensured that improvement objectives are consistent with the overall goal of enhancing customer satisfaction and increasing the level QMS performance.