Looking for quality? Competent people are as important as effective processes

ISO 9001 Competent StaffImplementing a best-practice quality management system (QMS) aligned to ISO 9001, the international standard, is as much about employing competent people as it is about having effective processes.

Clauses 5 to 8 in ISO 9001 provide references to meet individual quality management system requirements and help get the best out of people:

  • Clause 5: Management responsibility – Top management need to explain the value created by the quality management system, the importance of customer satisfaction, and the relationship between quality policy, business plans and individual roles.
  • Clause 6: Resource management – Human resource planning should be strategic (long term) and tactical (short term), and include a recruitment and selection process. That process should be transparent to candidates, and emphasise the importance of their competence. The clause also refers back to the competence acquisition process described in Clause 4.
  • Clause 7: Product realisation – Those responsible for product realisation and service delivery understand customer needs and expectations, as well as product requirements. More specifically, 7.1.2 and 7.2 stipulate the requirements for people within the organisation and the competency of those people.
  • Clause 8: Measurement, analysis and improvement – When people from all business functions are engaged on the audit team, that team is seen as representative of the entire organisation. It advises that those being interviewed during an audit should be made aware that the audit involves assessing the process and not the person.

The ISO 9001 principle ‘Involvement of people’ states: “People at all levels are the essence of an organization and their full involvement enables their abilities to be used for the organization’s benefit”.

The key is encouraging people’s involvement (defined in ISO 10018 as “engaging in and contributing to shared objectives”) and competence (the “ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve intended results”).

Having competent people in place that follow through with quality processes is vital to any QMS.

ISO 9001 2015 Quality management systems - RequirementsFor more information about determining and developing competency within your staff, and how it relates to the QMS, download a copy of the official standard here >>