ISO9001-2008: It doesn’t have to be complicated

Recently I visited a new client whose previous consultant had abandoned them. He just up and disappeared, failing to answer the phone or emails. Maybe he died, who knows. Anyway, Company H, with 15 people in the company, was left with a thick set of paper documents that had little relation to their actual operations. Yes, it was only on paper. I thought to myself, what year is it? 1970? Why anyone would have their documents only on paper, without an electronic version, in this day and age, astounds me.

But it’s what was written on that paper that is truly awful. The manual and documents is about 3 times longer than it needs to be. It contains such flowery language, I have to wonder what was the intent of the writer? There is a form for management review that is 7 pages long. Such a form is not required by ISO9001:2008, let alone a 7 page form.

The (presumably dead) consultant also saddled this poor little company with a set of job descriptions, each a minimum of 5 pages long. C’mon, really? Does a production worker really need documented competencies such as “customer service”, “interpersonal skills”, “change management”, “delegation”, in a 5 page job description? I don’t think so.

It makes me mad when I see where a consultant has taken advantage of a company owner’s lack of knowledge of ISO9001:2008. I just can’t believe that consultants with this quality of work are still able to find business.

People, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. For example, ISO9001:2008 requires only 6 procedures. And for that matter, you can combine some of them into one document. I often combine corrective actions and preventive actions into one document, it just makes more sense.

If you’re thinking about getting ISO9001-2008 for your business, and you’re talking to a consultant, ask him or her about their view on keeping it simple. You don’t need flowery language that no one will read. You don’t need a bunch of forms, you may not even need one! You don’t need a bunch of definitions at the start of every document. You don’t need to describe every process, every job, every procedure, in such excruciating detail. Remember KISS: Keep It Simple, (insert your derogatory word starting with S here).

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One Response to “ISO9001-2008: It doesn’t have to be complicated”

  1. CHRIS NKOCAJ says:

    I have actually heard of Quality manuals, just one page!

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