As part of their transition to ISO 9001 2015, North America Traffic took the opportunity to revise their esoteric and jargon-heavy Quality Policy to one their staff could easily understand and work with.
North America Traffic is a private, family-owned portable traffic signal manufacturer based in the Niagara region of southern Ontario.
Before the ISO 9001:2015 Transition Project
Like many organizations registered to ISO 9001, North America Traffic’s top management had delegated most of the responsibilities for maintenance of the Quality Management System to one individual. The individual did their best to ensure all requirements of the standard were being met, but in the end, the process was becoming a “checklist” activity, and management was having a difficult time making the transition to ISO 9001 2015 requirements with the regular business processes, and identifying the value of this certification. The quality of their product is second to none, but how did ISO help?
After a few meetings with management (who were motivated to achieve value through ISO registration), it was determined that we would review the existing documentation of thequality management system and determine what was needed for the organization and for the requirements of the revised ISO 9001 standard. Since the company had over a year from our first meeting to their registration audit, we decided we would take the full year to not only revise the documentation, but to educate top management on the requirements of the standard and how they could demonstrate leadership.
Following the Project
During the process, we had two major breakthroughs:
- The management team at North America Traffic are committed to improvement. They meet regularly to set goals and ensure resources are made available to achieve these objectives. These Management Meetings, not identified as Management Review in the previous Quality Management System, were much more effective than the quarterly “Quality Meetings” that were being held to simply complete a checklist.
- Much of the documentation was written for auditors, not for the employees. In one staff meeting, the General Manager pulled the Quality Policy off the wall, read it to the staff and asked, “What does it mean?” No one could provide an answer, to which he replied “I don’t know either.” The policy contained “ISO-speak” language that did not provide guidance for the staff. The revised Quality Policy meets the requirements of the standard, but more importantly provides a real framework for objectives and can be understood by any one who needs to perform work on behalf of the organization.