The quality policy is the foundation of the organization’s quality system and is typically defined early in the quality manual. Quality Policies vary from organization to organization.
In some instances, they may be a page or two, and in some instances a type of logo is developed.
Most of the time the quality policy is a few sentences long and a good quality policy focuses on the management commitment to quality and the customers, not investors or regulating bodies.
It is common practice and recommended to post the quality policy in key locations within the organization to ensure it is visible to all.
Some companies attach it to employee’s ID badges. It’s most important to have it posted in the company lobby so that visitors, including regulators, are aware of its importance and prevalence within the organization.
It’s also important to have the posted quality policies controlled.
If the quality policy is not adequately controlled when it is revised it is not possible to update the posted policies with the current version.
This is a common oversight and often results in out of date quality policies posted throughout the organization.
Three Key Elements
The quality policy should really have three key elements.
- It should be developed by members of senior management.
- It should show commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.
- It should be relatively easy to generate key quality objectives from it.
A simple quality policy might look something like the following;
“ACME is committed to satisfying customer requirements for quality, reliability, innovation and field support for all of our products. ACME is dedicated to continuous innovation and improvement in all aspects of our business. ACME executive management is actively involved in establishing, maintaining and monitoring our quality system and ensures that adequate resources are available to assure quality and customer satisfaction.”
This clearly states executive management is “actively involved in establishing, maintaining and monitoring the quality system” meeting requirement one.
It also states the commitment to the customer, and not only quality, but some of the key elements of quality in reliability, innovation and support meeting the second requirement; and quality objectives can be derived from it, specifically, objectives can be set and measured for customer satisfaction and product reliability meeting the third requirement.
For example, the Acme could determine they want 95% customer satisfaction and 95% product reliability, and use customer satisfaction surveys and reliability testing to show how they compare to those objectives.
This quality policy is offered purely as a very simple example, they can be much more elaborate, and detailed, and vary depending on the organization and it’s business needs.