6.2 Quality Objectives and Planning to Achieve Them

What are quality objectives for ISO 9001? You should seek and record evidence that your organization’s quality objectives are consistent with the quality policy, and that they are relevant to product and service conformity, and the enhancement of customer satisfaction.

Quality objectives should be measurable and are likely to have their own metrics by which levels of attainment can be ascertained. Check that the quality objectives are communicated throughout the organization and that they are updated to ensure relevance to changing business needs.

ISO 9001:2015 ISO 9001:2008 Summary of Changes
6.0 Planning For The Quality Management System 5.4.2 Quality Management System Planning

Title only

6.1 Actions To Address Risks And Opportunities

5.4.2

Quality Management System Planning This is a new requirement that requires a process to be implemented to determine and evaluate applicable risks. The organization will be expected to have an understanding of this requirement and be prepared to explain how they are managed within their quality system.
8.5.3 Preventive Action
6.2 Quality Objectives And Planning To Achieve Them 5.4.1 Quality Objectives This requirement is amended to ensure that quality objectives are relevant to the conformity of products and enhancing customer satisfaction.

Quality objectives should be analyzed to assign resources, identify responsible parties, establish a timeline, and determine evaluation practices.
6.3 Planning Of Changes 5.4.2 Quality Management System Planning This is a new requirement. Organizations should retain documented information relating to planning and implementing changes that impact upon the QMS.

 

6.2.1 Objectives

An effectively implemented quality management system aligns the policies with strategic and management system objectives and provides the framework upon which to translate these objectives into functional targets.

The goal-oriented framework allows the goals established at the uppermost levels of the organization to flow down through the QMS to influence functional and personal objectives and targets.

Objectives and Targets

Establish and maintain documented QMS objectives and targets, at each relevant function and level within the organization.

The objectives and targets establish an important link between the policies and the management programmes.

The objectives and targets must be consistent with the QMS policies. Depending on the size, management structure, and other factors pertaining to your organization, the objectives may be established and reviewed by various personnel and with direct top management input.

Auditors will expect to review a set of interrelated objectives, ensuring that they are mutually consistent and that they are aligned with the strategic direction of your organization.

How to Document the Objectives

How to Document the Objectives

Documented information of objectives typically is in the form of a description or matrix of the objective and corresponding means and timeframe to achieve the objectives.

Your organization will need to set objectives for relevant functions, levels and processes within its QMS. It is for your organization to decide which functions, levels and processes are relevant.

A key addition is the use of indicators to monitor the achievement of objectives.

Indicators are defined as a measurable representation of the status of operations, management or conditions. Each objective will need one or more associated indicators.

Types of Objectives

Objectives can apply to an entire organization, can be site-specific, or can be specific to individual activities.

The appropriate level(s) of management personnel should define the objectives and targets. In some cases, personnel who set objectives may not be the same as those who set targets. Remember that the objectives are the overall goals as reflected in the principles established in the policy.

Scope of Objectives

The scope and number of the objectives and targets must be realistic and achievable. Otherwise, the success and continued commitment from top management and employees will diminish.

Consider these factors , as you begin to formulate your objectives:

  • Legal and compliance requirements
  • Significant aspects (aspects directly related to significant impacts)
  • Significant hazards (hazards directly related to risks)
  • Financial, operational, and business requirements
  • Views of interested parties

Targets must be quantified where practicable and the units that are used to quantify the targets are referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs). A KPI is defined as an expression that is used to provide information about management system performance.

The following are some examples of KPIs:

  • The quantity of raw material or energy used
  • The amount waste produced
  • The number of incidents/accidents
  • The percentage of waste recycled
  • Investment in environmental protection

Carefully consider the type of KPI you choose to use.

Suppose your organization establishes a target to reduce its non-hazardous waste by 40 % and the KPI you choose is the total tonnage of waste produced each year (tons/year). If your organization triples its production of units and reduces the amount of waste by 50 % percent per product unit, the KPI, tons per year, does not show the reduction.

In this case, the better KPI would have been the weight amount of waste per product unit (Kg per unit).

In many cases, measuring against the production units proves to be more accurate.

Management Improvement Programme

Organizations are required to establish and maintain one or more management improvement programmes for achieving their objectives.

The management improvement programme is a key element to the success of the QMS. Properly designed and implemented, management programmes should achieve the objectives and, consequently, improve your organization’s performance.

The management programme must:

  1. Address each objective and target
  2. Designate the personnel responsible for achieving targets at each relevant function/level of the organization
  3. Provide an action plan describing how each target will be achieved
  4. Establish a time-frame or a schedule for achieving each target

meeting setting objectives and targets

Setting objectives and targets

Setting objectives and targets should involve people from the relevant functional area(s). These people are well positioned to help establish, plan for, and achieve these targets. The involvement of people helps to build commitment and demonstrates positive leadership.

1. Get Top management buy-into the quality objectives. This ensures that adequate resources are applied and that the objectives are integrated with other organizational goals;

2. In communicating objectives to employees, try to link the objectives to the actual quality improvements being sought, e.g. reducing non-conformances and closing out corrective actions, as this will give people something tangible to work towards;

3. The quality objectives must be consistent with the overall mission/plan and the key commitments established by your policy;

4. Be flexible with your objectives, define the desired result, then let the people responsible determine how to achieve the result;

5. Objectives can be established to maintain current levels of performance, or to improve performance;

6. Communicate your progress in achieving objectives and targets across the organization. Consider regular reports on this progress at staff meetings;

7. How many objectives and targets should an organization have? Various QMS implementation projects for small and medium-sized organizations indicate that it is best to start with a limited number of objectives (say, three to five) and then expand the list over time;

8. Keep your quality objectives simple initially, gain some early successes, and then build on them;

9. Keep in mind that your suppliers (of services or materials) can help you in meeting your objectives and targets (e.g., on-time-delivery).

Ensure that your organization has identified both internal and external issues and interested parties that are relevant and which support the strategic direction of your organization. The strategic direction must be utilized as an input to the policy, objectives, risk management, monitoring and measurement, and management review processes.

Linking Objectives to KPIs & Targets

The table below shows how aspirational statements can be taken from your policy and linked to the related objective(s).

Policy Statement Extract Objectives Types of Indicator/KPI Possible Targets
‘We will achieve customer satisfaction’   Survey results Achieve an overall rating of > 5.5 in 2019
  Achieve a high level of service user satisfaction No. of customer complaints Less than 2 complaints submitted in 2019
‘by providing reliable systems’ Maintain a high level of system reliability Time system is down during regular work hours Systems downtime < 5% during working hours
‘that meet customer requirements’ Ensure systems provided are fit for purpose Survey results Achieve “fit for purpose” rating of > 5 on survey
User agreement after completion that the request meets the original specification 100% of completed requests signed off to indicate customer agreement
‘We will respond as quickly as possible when contacted by a customer and we will work to meet agreed deadlines for all data requests’ Provide a responsive customer service Compare actual request completions against the targets agreed with users 95% of work requests completed within deadline
‘In the event of a serious incident, we will restore full system operation in the quickest possible time’ Maintain the ability to recover the systems in the event of a disaster Time taken to recover from disaster (conduct annual or bi-annual test) Recover system operation within 6 hours of a disaster

The table also provides ideas for KPIs and targets that in turn may be used to measure the achievement of each objective.

6.2.2 Objectives & Planning to Achieve Them

Your organization must undertake planning in order to determine how its QMS objectives will be achieved. This planning includes determining the work required in order for the organization to realize its objectives you should look for evidence that effective planning is taking place to support the achievement of your organization’s objectives.

Additionally, your organization must determine how it will evaluate the work done, including the use of indicators, and whenever possible, to integrate these planned actions into its business processes.

The use of indicators need to be audited in detail in order to determine whether:

  • Objectives based on sound information
  • Indicators really related to the corresponding objectives
  • Statistical tools needed to define and to monitor objectives
  • Indicators reach the expected values
  • The organization can assure that the objective has been achieved

Evidence of Planning

You should seek and record evidence that effective planning was undertaken in support of the organization’s quality objectives and their achievement. You should ensure that this planning activity takes into considerations of Clause 6.2.1, as well as the following points:

  • Identification of processes, resources, and skills needed to achieve quality
  • Identification of suitable verification criteria at appropriate stages
  • Compatibility of design, production, inspection and testing
  • The confirmation of criteria of acceptability for all features and requirements
  • Details of calibration of any special measuring or test equipment to be used

An Action Plan for Each Objective

Establishing an action plan for each objective may require considerable effort on the part of the personnel at relevant levels within your organization.

To ensure the progress of the action plan and a coordinated effort, a target leader should be selected for each target. The target leader will be responsible for ensuring a target is achieved within the specified time-frame.

Once the action plan is established, you must implement it. You may find that the following suggestions will help foster a cooperative effort in accomplishing the plan:

  • Involve your employees early in establishing and carrying out the action plans
  • Communicate the expectations and responsibilities laid out in the action plans to those who need to know
  • Build on the plans and programmes you have now for compliance
  • Keep it simple
  • Focus on continual improvement of management programmes over time

Monitoring and Revising the Quality Objectives

The quality management programme should be revised regularly to reflect changes in your organization’s objectives and targets.

Track all new or modified operations, activities, and/or products in case the management programme needs to be amended to reflect these changes.

 

ISO 9001 Clauses - PLAN

 

Author: Richard Keen
Updated: 15th October 2019

Richard Keen

Richard Keen

Richard is our Compliance Director, responsible for content & product development.
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