Volume 8 · Issue 8 · August 2003
The ISO 9000:2000 PSI IDEAS Q&A: Question 14
The ISO 9000:2000 Product Support Initiative (PSI) was developed in 2001
by the US Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO Technical Committee (TC)
176 to gather feedback about the use of ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 9004:2000
and to assist US organizations in understanding ISO 9001:2000, implementing
quality management systems (QMSs) and continually improving those systems.
As part of the PSI, the IDEAS (Information, Discussion, Examples, Analysis
and Sources) program is designed to provide help to organizations during
Under the leadership of Jeanne Ketola, CEO of Pathway Consulting, Inc.,
and an active participant of the US TAG, IDEAS created this question and
answer process to provide a variety of perspectives on requirements of
ISO 9001:2000 and the challenges they present to organizations using the
standard. Each question is distributed by THE OUTLOOKs Senior
Editor to experts from the user community, the standards field and the
registrar sector who have volunteered to provide their perspectives in
answer to a given question. In addition, Jeanne Ketola and Morgan Hall,
who is the US representative to the ISO/TC 176 Interpretations pilot project,
have the opportunity to comment on the question and answers given.
The answers are compiled, edited to ensure consistency of language usage
(but not necessarily of content), published monthly in THE OUTLOOK
and posted soon thereafter to a page on the US Standards Group web site
dedicated to the PSI. It is important to note that these answers do not
represent interpretations, sanctioned or otherwise, by ISO/TC 176 or the
US TAG, and are only the experts perspectives of ISO 9001:2000 based
on the question and their experience and understanding.
Below is the fourteenth question in the series and the answers received
from 4 experts, with commentary by Ketola.
What are some ways in which Top Management ensures that quality objectives
are established at relevant functions and levels in the organization
in conformity with the requirements of Subclause 5.4.1? How does Top
Management assure that the objectives at the function levels align with
the big picture (corporate) objectives so that personnel are aware of
how they contribute to the overall achievement of the quality objectives,
as required by Subclause 6.2.2, Competence, Awareness and Training?
What effective methods are organizations using to communicate to personnel
to ensure that personnel understand and can work to fulfill the objectives?
What do registrar auditors look for when they interview Top Management
in regards to the objectives? What do the auditors look for in regards
to employee awareness of the objectives?
Answer From a User Expert
Lloyd D. Brumfield, Quality Assurance Engineering Specialist, Ford
Customer Service Division/MSX International North American Quality Office
Top Management should always consider the eight Quality Management Principles
when establishing, enforcing and measuring the quality objectives, quality
policy and quality planning of an organization. Those Principles, which
were taken into consideration when ISO 9001:2000 was being written, are
contained in ISO 9004:2000, Quality management systemsGuidelines
for performance improvements, which is a good resource for organizations
implementing ISO 9001:2000. Top Management must always make sure the quality
objectives are quantitative, since all the organizations associated
functions or departments will need to be able to measure if and how well
the organization is achieving those objectives effectively.
However, since quality objectives are to be established at all relevant
functions and levels, the requirements in Subclause 5.4.1 might best be
met by establishing for every function or department a localized Quality
Operating System (QOS) or Business Operating System (BOS). This localized
system needs to provide a systematic, disciplined approach that uses standardized
tools and practices to manage business processes and to achieve ever increasing
levels of customer satisfaction.
Based on our experience in the Ford Customer Service Division, Top Management
in any organization should consider the following areas for the development
of measurable quality objectives for which quantifiable measurements can
- Customer Satisfaction
- Cost of Quality
- Repair and Rework Costs
- Continual Improvement of a Function/Departmental Process
- Internal Audit Results (i.e., are the reports identifying valid nonconformities
and opportunities for preventive actions and best practice sharing?)
- Management Review Results
- Product and Process Performance
- Benchmarking Results
- Training Effectiveness and Employee Awareness
- Customer Communication
- Analysis of the Data (e.g., the analysis being undertaken provides
data to permit evaluation of continual improvement opportunities).
It is important for Top Management to select quality objectives that,
when measured, will provide clear indicators of success or failure. If
an objective cannot be measured so as to provide a clear indicator, you
may need to rework the objective or select different measurements for
it. Top Management must also select quality objectives that reflect the
quality policy, since the purpose of the objectives is to maintain adherence
to the policy and/or to move closer to its fulfillment. The policy is
your long-term approach to quality management while an objective is a
step toward achieving that policy.
For Top Management to ensure that the organizations personnel are
aware of their relevance to and importance in achieving the quality objectives,
the localized QOS or BOS I mentioned above would be a perfect way of doing
this. Note that these localized systems are not independent of the QMS
but will provide for the procedures specific for that function or department
and will include relevant quality objectives, so that any objectives for
a function or department will be pursued through the localized system,
which feeds into the overall system. Such operating systems can be designed
to provide monthly reports of success in achieving functional/departmental
objectives that, when combined with the reports for all relevant functions
and departments, will provide Top Management with a report card for the
As for effective methods of communicating to personnel, Top Management
must provide the resources for awareness training for all employees that
explains the new process approach and the Quality Management Principles
and how these relate to the organizations quality policy, quality
objectives and quality planning. An organization can use placards, memos,
news releases, bulletin boards, 4-panel charts, e-mails, newsletters,
reports of quality objective results and team meetings to communicate
to all employees all the quality objectives and the measurements for those
Having all employees aware of the quality objectives of the organization
and the results being achieved, even when the objectives and results are
for other functions and departments, is an effective way to reinforce
the importance of the objectives to each employee, because they see what
is taking place elsewhere in the organization. Note that a good auditor,
internal or external, should be evaluating employee competence and the
meeting of the objectives throughout the organization during the audit
by talking with employees and Top Management to make sure everyone understands
the objectives and what is expected of them.
My experience is that registrar auditors look first at the quality objectives
that are to be understood and communicated to everyone in the organization.
Then, they seek to verify if the quality objectives are in sync with the
quality policy. At this point, the registrar auditors will interview members
of Top Management to see if they know and understand the quality objectives
and to ask how the objectives are communicated to the relevant functions
and departments and what is done with the measurements taken.
The registrar auditors evaluate employee awareness by interviewing people
at different levels of the organization to make sure they all have a good
understanding of and comfort level with what is expected of them in doing
their daily tasks and to measure the awareness these individuals have
concerning how their jobs contribute to the achievement of the organizations
Answer From User Experts
John R. Broomfield of Quality Management International, Inc., Member
of US TAG to ISO/TC 176, PSI Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator
You will note that the above header states "User Experts" in
the plural. In support of the PSI IDEAS Q&A, I discussed Question
14 with a number of my organizations clients so as to find a suitable
User Expert to participate on this question. However, the discussions
I had with seven of those clients were so relevant and pertinent that
I decided to sum up these discussions into a single User Experts response,
ISO 9001:2000 requires measurable quality objectives assigned to relevant
functions and levels. However, functional or departmental objectives can
easily distract and distort processes to deliver whatever a "factional
functional boss" may want or require. This detracts from the ability
of the processes in that function or level to be fully aligned with customer
needs and driven to fulfill those needs (per the requirements of Clause
7.1a, Planning of Product Realization, and Subclause 7.2.1b, Determination
of Requirements Related to the Product). An organization can assign the
quality objectives for the system and its processes to someone having
the responsibility to monitor progress and having the authority to invoke
any necessary preventive actions (per Subclause 8.5.3, ImprovementPreventive
"Our big picture corporate mission is client success,"
responded Peter Pavlakis, Vice President of PAV-LAK Construction, which
serves as a contractor for institutional buildings (e.g., school buildings
and rail and bus stations), when I asked him about quality objectives.
"We have even analyzed our specific process for fulfilling this mission.
Running through our management system is our customer-driven core process
that converts the needs of customers into cash in the bank." Pavlakis
added that all of PAV-LAKs "project managers and all our other
processes support this customer-driven core process."
"We use the quality objectives we already have in place or involve
our employees in setting new objectives that are chosen because the investment
in their measurement is likely to repay several times over," replied
Mike Sessler, who is the Quality Management System Manager for the Metso
Paper Service Center in Beloit, WI. Metso is a Finnish company that designs,
installs and maintains papermaking equipment all over the world. And Sessler
should be familiar to many of you, since he participated on Question 11
in April 2003.
These companies have connected the requirements of Subclause 5.4.1 with
those of Clause 4.1, Quality Management SystemGeneral Requirements,
that relate to the development of the QMS. Both analyzed their existing
processes. This relates to Clause 4.1d, which requires the organization
to "ensure the availability of resources and information necessary
to support the monitoring and operation of these processes", and
their interactivityper 4.1a) "identify the processes needed
for the [QMS] and their application throughout the organization"
and b) "determine the sequence and interaction of these processes"sufficient
to fulfill the process objectivesper 4.1c), "determine criteria
and methods needed to ensure that both the operation and monitoring of
these processes"to develop their process-based management system.
System managers like Keith Monnier of Sidney Tool & Die, Inc., an
aerospace precision machine shop in Ohio, encourage managers to specify
the information they need from the management system in order to make
better decisions. As a team, they select certain process objectives that
are to become the QMSs measurable quality objectives, based on the
data contained in the reports from the management system on the following
- Customer satisfaction
- Product conformity
- Process performance
- Employee involvement
- Supplier performance.
"For example, when asked, customers may express less than full satisfaction
with lead times," offered Monnier. "So the processes that delay
delivery are given measurable objectivesto achieve shorter, more
predictable lead timesand are redesigned to remove the causes of
delays, variation and unnecessary work-in-progress attributable to the
Notice how the above list of system performance indicators correlates
closely with Clause 8.4, Analysis of Data. This correlation leverages
the cost of measurement, data collection, analysis and reporting. Research
conducted by The Gallup Organization on its clients shows that some clients
add measurement of employee involvement to their performance indicators
to avoid the potential for a lack of employee engagement with the objectives
of their employers.
An example of this was provided to me by Norm Smith, Chief Operating
Officer of Foam Rubber Products in Indiana, which makes foam rubber cushions
used in office seating and school buses. Smith and his team measure employee
involvement by calculating the flow of employee-suggested improvements
to the management system according to the following ratio, which is calculated
Number of Suggestions/Number of Employees
Some companies have ISO 14001 as well as ISO 9001 registration for their
business management system and use this system to run their business to
add value while preventing pollution. Ken Johnson, Vice President of SMT
Industries in Ohio, and his team use and continually improve SMTs
fully integrated management system (IMS) to run the machine tool business.
They prefer to use the environmental program specified in Clause 4.3.4,
PlanningEnvironmental Management Programme(s), of ISO 14001:1996
to set and assign objectives and targets for reducing adverse impacts
and increasing beneficial impacts on the environment.
SMTs targets are time-based steps up a ladder to fulfill objectives.
Another useful approach to fulfilling quality objectives is for an organization
to set objectives and targets and assign each to a specific process team.
The environmental management program at SMT has evolved into a continual
improvement program and is a focal point for the users of the management
Jazz Semiconductor in California also operates an IMS that conforms with
both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. William Teare is the JAMS (Jazz Management
System) Management Representative, and he and the process team have designed
and validated a new process for JAMS planning (per the requirements in
Subclause 5.4.2, Quality Management System Planning) to synthesize the
business objectives with the quality and environmental objectives and
targets. In recent years, the business objectives at Jazz Semiconductor
have changed faster than the core process objectives because the changes
in its industry and market were rapid.
Unfortunately, the JAMS was underrepresented during the many strategic
and business planning sessions during that time period. Now the JAMS is
fully represented and the necessary changes to JAMS are planned and implemented
to protect the integrity of the IMS as JAMS is made suitable for ongoing
use and improvement in fulfilling the business objectives of the company.
Leaders demonstrate their commitment to fulfilling the requirements of
customers and regulators and the objectives of the management system when
business planning is part of an organizations system and the leaders
explain the quality policy and the process team objectives to the employees.
Top Management must demand information from the organizations system
in order to make better decisions and to report to the employees on how
well the management system is helping the organization fulfill requirements.
Visibly committed and consistent leaders earn the trust of employees,
who thereby believe that the management system is important and worthy
of their collective effort to make it work even more effectively.
Answer From a Standards Expert
John E. ("Jack") West, Chair of the US TAG to ISO/TC 176
Rather than consider each question bundled in Question 14 individually
and with specific reference to requirements in ISO 9001:2000, I would
like to try to address what I consider the heart of the matter: alignment
of the overall organizational objectives with the measurable quality objectives.
An organization needs to go back to the very basics and answer the question:
"How do we make money in this business?" Recognizing the things
that drive profitability can be a big aid in understanding how to align
If the quality objectives are developed in a way that supports the overall
business direction, there is very likely to be alignment. So their development
needs to start with the business planning process. Often, an organization
develops its quality objectives and their measures separately from its
overall business planning. In the best of organizations that I have seen,
the two are fully integrated. Development of the objectives and their
measurables in this integrated way can avoid suboptimization, where some
functions select their own objectives to optimize their own performance
but not that of the overall organization.
People are generally the key to meeting objectives, while information
and data are power. It is quite common for managers to hold "the
numbers" quite close to the vest and share only that information
that employees need to do specific tasks. Unfortunately, this means that
the employees have a hard time relating their own performance to the overall
results of the organization. It is important to learn which information
is helpful to the workforce and to carefully share it. To the extent that
a piece of information or a data set would improve an employees
ability to make correct decisions, solve problems and improve performance,
it should be shared.
Some information, such as current financial results, overall customer
satisfaction and other high-level data, is often important as background.
It may explain why certain of the objectives have been established. Other
information should enable employees to understand how they contribute
to overall performance. Each employee or work team should clearly understand
the objectives as they apply in their area and should know how they can
contribute to meeting those objectives.
Remember that what gets measured gets done. This is an important concept
for Top Management to keep in mind in setting quality and business objectives
and is consistent with what ISO 9001:2000 requires. Having measurements
that accurately reflect employee and organizational performance is important,
but it is more important to avoid selecting measures that drive performance
in the wrong direction. For example, if the key measure of performance
is the speed with which work is done and if speed causes mistakes, it
does little good to tell employees to produce no defects. They will do
what is measured: work fast!
Answer From an Auditor Expert
Norman G. Siefert, ANSI-RAB National Accreditation Program Auditor
Top Management must ensure that quality objectives are established at
relevant levels of the organization. The first point that needs to be
understood is that, if value is to be gained by ISO 9001:2000 implementation,
Top Management needs to be ensuring that everyone in the organization
understands that the requirements in Subclause 5.4.1 do not exist in isolation.
One way for Top Management to help assure quality objectives are established
and disbursedand that all employees are aware of them and understand
that they are linked to the quality policy and tie in with all processes
of the QMSis to have Top Management initially participate in the
QMS planning process, requirements for which are defined in Subclause
5.4.2. In fact, 5.4.2 requires that Top Management ensure that QMS planning
is carried out so as to meet the quality objectives. Direct participation
in QMS planning will also make Top Management very involved in and aware
of the quality objectives (and whether the functional level ones align
with the corporate ones) and what it will take in terms of resources to
achieve those objectives. In addition, such active participation will
send a message to all employees that the objectives and the QMS are important
to Top Management and therefore to the organization.
To assure ongoing functioning of the QMS and pursuit of the quality objectives,
Top Management must subsequently participate aggressively in the periodic
Management Reviews. "Aggressive participation" means that Top
Management will be looking carefully at the measurements data for the
organizational and functional/departmental objectives and seeking to set
new objectives that push the organization further in terms of performance
improvement and system effectiveness.
Another way for Top Management to ensure quality objectives are established
where needed and that employees are satisfying the requirements of Subclause
6.2.2 in the process is to recognize that the QMS must be results-oriented
and is truly designed to produce results. ISO 9001:2000 mentions the need
for effectiveness of the QMS in 19 paragraphs. By extension, Top Management
must also recognize how to maintain and increase "effectiveness",
which is defined in 3.2.14 of ISO 9000:2000, Quality management systemsFundamentals
and vocabulary, as the "extent to which planned activities are
realized and planned results achieved". This means that activities
must be chosen that can be measured and where the results of those activities
can be monitored. This ongoing monitoring is a method that may be used
by Top Management to determine when and what type of new quality objectives
are needed or desirable.
Communication to personnel about the quality objectives and Top Managements
interest and involvement in the QMS will occur by having Top Management
participate in the QMS planning process, including the setting of objectives,
and in the active, ongoing monitoring of QMS effectiveness. In this respect,
the effective implementation of Subclause 8.2.3, Monitoring and Measurement
of Processes, and Clause 8.4 is relevant.
Under these circumstances, the auditors will not need to look far in
verifying that Top Management has done what is required relative to the
quality objectives and that all employees are aware of the objectives
and are pursuing them. Since the auditors will be conducting an audit
of a process approach-based QMS with ISO 9001:2000, there will be many
instances in the auditing of the QMS where the evidence of conformity
with the requirements of 5.4.1 and 6.2.2 will be demonstrated.
Jeanne Ketola, CEO of Pathway Consulting, Inc., and Member of US TAG
to ISO/TC 176
I encourage organizations to think "business objectives" when
looking at the requirements for the quality objectives in Subclause 5.4.1.
Most top managers understand the concept of setting goals and objectives
for the organization. It is the word "quality" that seems to
confuse members of management and causes them to think too narrowly. By
thinking about business objectives or goals, management is able to easily
align the management system with the actual work management is doing rather
than thinking of "the requirements of ISO 9001" as an ad hoc
One of the most effective ways that I have seen an organization use to
demonstrate how its objectives are set was to create a simple diagram
showing the top-level objectives and how these objectives applied to the
various departments. Management created the tactical plans, including
the measurements for the objectives, and the plans became a part of each
managers performance review.
The diagram provided a clear map and communication tool for managers
to use within their various departments to show how the objectives applied
to each area. Another effective method a different organization used was
to list its key objectives on poster-sized paper, along with a short explanation
of the objectives, the measure(s) involved and the departments that the
objectives applied to.
These posters were found in all departments and there was no question
about which of the objectives related to each of the various areas. In
both of these cases, employees at all levels were clear in their understanding
of the objectives that applied to them.
When I perform third-party audits, I am looking for Top Managements
explanation of the organizations objectives and the measures that
let Top Management know whether or not the organization is meeting those
objectives. I also interview other levels of management for their understanding
of which objectives relate to their areas as well as their employees.
When conducting these interviews, I am looking for consistency in approach
and consistency in the understanding that management and employees have
of their objectives. I also compare the quality policy and the objectives
to ensure that the objectives are supporting the claims made within the
When the objectives have been rolled out effectively and communicated,
employees have no problem understanding and talking about which goals
apply to them.