In today’s article, we will discuss the importance of quality policy in the broadest sense. For a long time, the definition of this item was understood as something bureaucratic and of little use. However, with the advancement of management and the increasing awareness of professionals, it has become increasingly vital in achieving results.
To start, it is worth remembering that establishing, implementing, and maintaining a quality policy in a certified body or company seeking certification is mandatory. And this is not only for ISO 9001:2015, but for any ISO guideline standard.
This happens because policies are a good practice that should be taken seriously, helping to direct processes and raise awareness among people. Thus, systems such as environmental management and employee health and safety will also require the creation of policies that support management and daily processes. Having said that, let’s better understand what a policy is.
What is a Business Policy
As a whole, policies serve to establish the relationship that the strategic leadership of the organization has with its processes and the way it intends to deliver its products, provide its services, and thereby achieve results.
Thus, the policy is the channel through which all agreements (internal and external) regarding work and deliveries will be established. It is extremely necessary, basic, and mandatory in terms of certification. Just as it is vital that it be connected with the company’s strategy and the objectives that the organization seeks to achieve.
The Importance of the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Policy
The policy is part of the leadership session of the famous SL annex and, thus, also of ISO 9001:2015. This means that it must be established by top management, preferably with the participation of all other leaderships and people present in the management system.
This happens because the organization needs to make people aware of the quality and the work they perform, thus, understanding and acting guided by the policy is fundamental! The policy helps people understand not only why they are working but also what is expected of them.
Bringing the policy factor to the PDCA cycle, a methodology that guides all ISO standards and is a reference in continuous improvement, the policy is in the P for planning. That is, it arises at the moment when we are thinking and discussing the system and which paths we will follow to ensure the achievement of our objectives.
Requirements for a Good Quality Policy
ISO 9001:2015 presents some good practices that help to develop a quality policy more adherent and focused on people, processes, and results.
Looking at the standard, we first understand that the policy needs to be appropriate to the context of the organization (requirement 4). This means that it should align with the scope of the system, the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, and the threats and opportunities.
Similarly, the policy should provide strategies and structure to achieve quality objectives. Thus, the policy must take into account the macro scenario of the company so that we can establish goals, develop behaviors, and ways to achieve the expected results. This, of course, always providing conformity and customer satisfaction.
According to the standard, it is also necessary for the policy to establish a real commitment to the requirements of the management system, bringing the responsibility of the leadership to provide all the necessary resources for conformity, from training and instructions to various physical resources. Likewise, there must also be an active commitment to the continuous improvement of the management system and for the company as a whole.
Quality Policy and Compliance Relationship
Policies are also fundamental to ensure better compliance with compliance rules, being vital in this area. Thus, the management system needs to take into account not only normative needs but also regulatory and statutory requirements.
In simple terms, the quality policy needs to align with all the specific needs of the company, ensuring that they are met. It needs to ensure adherence to the requirements of ISO 9001, guaranteeing the integrity of the certification.
Finally, the policy also needs to ensure that legal requirements are complied with and met, thus achieving regulatory conformity.
The True Importance of Quality Policy: Continuous Improvement and More Results!
With everything we’ve discussed in this text, it becomes easier to understand how the quality policy is essential for business strategy. It should be well thought out, well crafted, and part of the heart of your company and all its deliveries.
The policy is much more than a jargon or decorative frame on the wall of your company. It should be the essence of training, the execution of processes, and how people serving the company should behave. Thus, the policy is an integral process, which needs to be thought out from creation to communication and maintenance.
It is worth noting that the standard requires the policy to be documented and available both internally and externally, i.e., to all interested parties. This reinforces its importance and pervasiveness within the organization.
However, if we look for the most important point regarding the importance of the quality policy, without a doubt, we focus on continuous improvement! As a guide to behavior, a good policy intensifies the sense of improvement and creates more receptivity to problems and the need to solve them.
As it talks about the company’s commitments and its deliveries, it brings to the table the need to improve products and services and ensure more customer satisfaction. A company with a well-adjusted, realistic, and motivating policy has, in itself, a powerful tool for encouraging excellence and optimizing processes.
Therefore, the policy motivates and directs the company to determine and continually seek to improve what it commits to deliver to the market, the type of quality it wants to deliver, and, in general, the impact it has on society. Only by weaving operational, training, financial, and strategic objectives based on a strong and experiential policy will it be possible to achieve these objectives and attain excellent results for all interested parties!