Having an adequate environment and the right materials to work in is essential in the daily life of any organization. And for this, every company needs to provide an adequate infrastructure for its entire team. Do you know Requirement 7.1.3 Infrastructure and how important it is for companies to provide an adequate infrastructure to operate their processes?
ISO 9001:2015 states that the organization needs to determine and provide the location and means necessary for the implementation of the processes, as well as ensure maintenance and continuous improvement of the quality management system.
Therefore, ISO 9001, through requirement 7.1.3, seeks to ensure that companies provide and maintain an environment where it is possible to achieve the organizational objectives.
We must remember that providing the necessary resources is directly linked to achieving conformity of the services or products that the company delivers. So, in this article we will present what requirement 7.1.3 says, and show how ISO helps an organization to determine its required infrastructure.
What does requirement 7.1.3 say about infrastructure?
Every company must have an adequate infrastructure for its operation. As mentioned above, this is closely related to the performance of the employees at work and the organization as a whole.
The infrastructure is a set of structural elements, facilities, services and basic equipment that are essential for the execution of activities. The lack of an adequate infrastructure hinders the entire operation, because there is no point in having the best team if it does not have the basic resources to perform the tasks, right?
Therefore, it is mandatory for companies to provide the appropriate conditions to perform the activities and be in compliance with the relevant requirements, whether from the organization itself or from any interested party.
That being said, let’s take a look at what the standard tells us that organizations must follow.
“The organization shall determine, provide, and maintain the infrastructure necessary for the operation of its processes and to achieve conformity of products and services.
NOTE Infrastructure may include:
(a) buildings and associated utilities;
- b) equipment, including materials, machinery, tools, etc., and software;
- c) transportation resources;
- d) information and communications technology”
See that the requirement says that the organization MUST determine, provide and maintain infrastructure, so we can already understand that it is a requirement that organizations need to comply with in order not to suffer conformance in the audit.
Moreover, these 3 other highlighted words (determine, provide, and maintain) are essential to understand the main goal of this requirement. And with that, ensure that everything that is needed will be made available in the company. Let’s see:
The organization must DETERMINE
The first step is for the organization to determine the infrastructure it needs to carry out its activities and run its services / products.
Here, the company will determine everything that the workplace needs to have, i.e. if it is a suitable environment, if it has a space that can offer a quality of life to the people who will work there, if it has the necessary tools, if the infrastructure helps to ensure compliance, etc.
In addition, it is important to map if the site presents any kind of risk, try to identify it, and find ways to control it.
All these determinations vary according to the type of service the organization offers, the product it produces, and the context in which it operates. This is necessary because each location has different objectives and the resources and materials required for each company to carry out its activities are determined during the planning.
The organization must PROVIDE
First the company must determine all the workplace processes, the materials / equipment that will be needed, and the staff that will work; everything they need to develop their work with quality.
After this initial determination, the company must make all this happen, that is, put all these objectives that were planned and determined into practice by providing all the necessary infrastructure.
To be able to reach this moment, planning is essential. For it is from this preparation (infrastructure determination) that the company understands which resources it can provide immediately, which ones need more planning, what is indispensable to provide, what can be outsourced, etc.
The organization must MAINTAIN
After determining and providing all the resources and adequate infrastructure, the standard says that the organization must maintain all the processes that have been established.
We know that maintenance is not always the easiest task; it requires a lot of resources and effort from all parts of the company. Maintenance also involves a lot of the company’s commitment to the quality of service (or product) that it seeks to offer.
Therefore, the organization must analyze and define which infrastructure resources are already available, but this is not enough! It is necessary to periodically check their functioning, as well as change and purchase new materials when necessary.
In some cases, to perform the maintenance that is mandatory for the proper functioning of the company, it will be necessary to develop specific processes for this, but it is your context that will decide. The important thing is to keep the infrastructure working and enabling compliance!
The importance of focusing on infrastructure and requirement 7.1.3
As we observed throughout the reading, in every process it is necessary to organize steps, determine the objectives, understand and put into practice what means will be necessary to achieve what we seek.
Item 7.1.3 of the ISO 9001:2015 standard presents all the aspects in which a good infrastructure can influence the processes. We can see how this requirement has a depth of what we need to have available to determine, provide, and maintain our processes and companies. Without following these indications, it may become more complex for the organization to achieve its goals.
Thinking about infrastructure is not just a normative issue, but a way for the company to determine everything that is necessary to increase productivity, product quality, and the quality of life of its employees.
By following these guidelines it is possible to create more effective and fluid processes to circumvent nonconformities and get more customers.