Writing Your ISO9001:2008 Documentation? KISS!

First of all I’d like to thank all those ISO9001:2008 quality system managers for keeping me in business! Probably half of my time is spent rewriting companies’ quality system documentation. Usually the documents are far, far more complex than what is needed for the organization. It’s not uncommon for me to reduce the QMS documentation by half.

One company I recently worked with had over 300 documented procedures in their quality system. The company was about 50 people, and really only needed about 12 documented procedures. They had stuff like how to discipline people, how to schedule lunch periods and breaks, how to hire people, how to interview outside contractors, and on and on and on.

Under ISO9001:2008, all of those documents must be periodically reviewed and approved. Guess what happened? The quality system was too big to effectively manage, and they fell behind. During their surveillance audit they received a couple of major nonconformances from the auditor. Their ISO9001 certificate lapsed, and it took a while for them to get everything cleared up and back on track.

Why do people write such unnecessarily lengthy and complex documentation? Do they honestly think all that crap is needed? Or do they not have all that much to do, and want to justify their existence in the organization? I suspect quite a few fall into the latter category.

Another company I work with had hired a full time ISO9001 administrator to write their documentation and implement ISO9001. The company employs about 150 people. The company didn’t know too much about ISO9001, other than that they wanted to get certified. So they (mistakenly) figured it would be good to hire a full time person to implement ISO9001:2008. After 6 months of this doofus not getting much done, they fired him and hired me. I convinced them that they did not need a full time person, as it’s not a full time job in a company of that size. After 4 months of working 2 to 3 days a week, we got the company certified. After that it’s just a day or 2 per month for internal audits, administration of corrective actions, and other details.

People, it doesn’t have to be complicated! ISO9001:2008 only requires you to have 6 documented procedures. Most companies end up needing a few more than that, but its rare to need more than 20.

So why do people write such enormous, complicated, and unmanageable documentation? To keep me in work? If that’s the case, thanks!

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4 Responses to “Writing Your ISO9001:2008 Documentation? KISS!”

  1. it is vital for any organization implementing or is in the process of evaluating process consultants for forthcoming implementation to ensure the consultants understands the customer’s needs and requirements, including the service lines, organization’s goals and visions before designing and implementing ISO processes and quality manual. The documented processes must comply to organizations’ project offerings and service lines. The consultant must never make the mistake of dumping some other client’s documented processes and the customer must also review what is delivered the consultant and how much it aligns with its needs.

  2. Ascent World is ISO Quality Certification Cosultant Company based in Mumbai – India, Dubai – UAE, Colombo – Srilanka and other parts of world.

  3. Milind Joshi says:

    Even today, when we say that ISO has established to some extent in Indian companies, the people in key positions believe that the more complex the QMS manual the better.
    This very fact makes the entire system virtually impracticable to implement.
    It is high time today that the Indian managers appreciate the power of simplicity.

  4. ISO 22000 says:

    I think people are generally not aware of what and how much they should write in a documentation and that’s why the stuff goes wrong . With a proper guidance, proper documentation should be prepared.

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