What are Quality Objectives?
Clause 6.2 of ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems Standard requires an organisation to establish ISO 9001 Quality Objectives at relevant functions, levels, and processes needed for the quality management system ie – how will the performance of the quality management system be measured and what are the objectives we are hoping to achieve through implementation of the QMS.
How SMARTER Quality Objectives can Help
Whilst it is not specified in ISO 9001, we recommend SMARTER Quality Objectives that underpin the delivery of the goals detailed the organisation’s strategic plan, support the Quality Policy, and are aligned with the SMARTER philosophy of:
- S – Specific: quality objectives should be clearly articulate what is trying to be achieved. They should be relevant to the conformity of products and services and to enhance customer and stakeholder satisfaction.
- M – Measurable: Quality Objectives should be quantitative and data to support performance able to be measured. This data is needed to identify baseline performance against the objectives and to allow for ongoing performance measurement.
- A – Achievable: Quality Objectives should be realistic and attainable to be successful. There is no point in having an objective that is not achievable.
- R – Relevant: Quality Objectives should support the Quality Policy and the organisation’s Strategic Plan.
- T – Time-bound: When will the objective need to be achieved by? Is it an ongoing objective measured at a specified frequency or a targeted completion objective?
- E – Evaluated: Quality Objectives are required to be evaluated at Management Review Meetings – Clause 9.3.2 of ISO 9001:2015.
- R – Reviewed: Quality Objectives are required to be reviewed at Management Review Meetings – Clause 9.3.2 of ISO 9001:2015.
Clause 6.2.2 of ISO 9001:2015 also requires that when organisations are planning their Quality Objectives they determine:
- what needs to be done,
- resourcing requirements,
- schedules and due dates,
- how the results of the performance will be evaluated
Who Needs to Know about the ISO 9001 Quality Objectives?
Quality Objectives should also be communicated to all personnel whose roles and responsibilities have a direct or indirect bearing on the performance of the objective. This includes the results of monitoring, review and evaluation of performance data in order to ensure ownership and accountability of performance.
Quality Objectives and being able to measure the performance of the Quality Management System are key to identifying performance problems and also demonstrating continual improvement. Importantly, developing clear, concise SMARTER Quality Objectives also requires systems for capturing meaningful data to support performance against the objectives, and ultimately the achievement of the Quality Policy and goals as detailed in the organisation’s Strategic Plan.