In the past 5 years since I started my consultancy I have had several clients tell me that their Quality Consultant will not let them edit their very own Quality Manual or associated templates. The Quality consultants are also the external auditors in these cases and pass the companies for their ISO9001 certification.
Does that ring alarm bells with YOU? It Sure did me!
It left me wondering 3 things:
1) Why would any Quality Consultant not let someone edit their own Quality Manual?
2) Why would any company use a Quality Consultant who is not interested in adding value to their business and dictates what they can and cannot do?
3) Why are External Auditors allowed to audit what is essentially their own work?
The generic quality manuals that I saw were little more than copies of the basic Quality Standard, frequently long-winded and having no resemblance to the nature of the actual company. Moreover, business owners are sometimes told that they cannot edit these dust-caked paper monsters, and cannot implement their own templates or other procedures for their own audits and other requirements. Presumably this makes it easy for the external auditors to assess them, but unfortunately, it has little chance of adding value to the client’s business.
So what do I do now – chuck my Quality Manual out of the window??
Well yes! Just make sure it doesn’t hit anyone on the pavement outside!
Rest assured my clients have now thrown away their old paperwork already and they now take full ownership of their own Quality Manual and templates.
All my clients have also been nicely surprised by just how decent the new external auditors are and how much more they actually help them improve their business (and they don’t add much more in the way of costs, either).
Most importantly, they have a Quality Consultant they can rely on to do the best for them – the client. We do what the client needs, with the ultimate aim to add value where possible, not take the money and run.
So I would suggest it is time to think again. Quality Manuals are not untouchable sacred texts. To treat them like this is to see ISO9001 as a simple box-ticking exercise to get certification. But if you do this, you’re not getting proper value out of your Quality.
Want to talk more about how to get rid of your door-stop Quality Manual and get a system that is bespoke to you? Call me on 01604210488