In your ISO9001-2008 quality management system, how often do you need to do things?

Recently, while participating in a customer audit of one of my clients, the question came up about how often my client company does various things required by their ISO9001-2008 quality management system. The quality guy from the customer company had his own ideas about what should be done, and he tried to impose his ideas onto my client company.

For example, customer quality guy thought it was necessary for management to meet every day to discuss things like quality, safety, on-time delivery. We do this once a week. In my mind I was thinking “gee, it must be nice that your company has all these extra people with all this extra time to kill by meeting every day”, and “what kind of problems do you guys have that you have to discuss them every day?”. What came out of my mouth was “We don’t have a lot of problems that would require meeting every day to discuss them. We find that once a week works just fine for us”. Customer-quality-guy gave me a little “harumf” and moved on to the next question.

The point is, it’s pretty much up to you how often you want to do the various requirements of an ISO9001-2008 quality management system. Should you conduct internal audits every week? Every month? Once a year? It’s up to you. You do have to conduct internal audits at least once between your external audits. If you find a lot of issues and want to increase the frequency of internal audits, super! Go for it! But if your company is small and does not have a lot of issues, once a year could be enough. Same goes for management review. Same goes for document review. Same goes for communicating with your employees. Is it a good idea to go 6 months without communicating to employees? Probably not. But nowhere in the ISO9001-2008 does it mandate the frequency with which you communicate with employees.

Like so much about the ISO9001-2008 quality standard, it’s up to you to decide what works for you.

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