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How to Make Management Review More Practical

It comes as a surprise to many people that there is no requirement in ISO9001 for Management Review Meetings. The standard does not mention meetings at all, only that company Top Management must review the Quality Management System (QMS) at planned intervals to ensure continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness (basically, that the system is still doing what the company needs it to do). The review needs to assess information from a list of Management Review Inputs to assess opportunities for improvement and determine needs to change the QMS, Quality Policy & Objectives.

What are the required Management Review Inputs?

Although other inputs could be added as desired by the company, ISO9001 has a minimum list of seven inputs that Top Management needs to review to assess the health of the QMS. If you are to satisfactorily assess information to judge the QMS to be adequate, without holding a meeting, there are several smaller reviews that need to happen. Some ideas on how to accomplish this are below.

Results of Audits: Does the Company Management Representative review the audit reports and ensure that they are included in the audit planning for the year? If this is the case, then you have someone in Top Management who is reviewing the results of audits and how they are improving the Management System. Any audit reports, if they include this review information, are not only records of the audits, but also records of the Management Review.

Customer Feedback: Do you keep a log of the customer feedback that has been received? Does this log include a record of any actions taken and which manager is responsible for this? If you ensure that Top Management is involved in the review of these logs as they are processed, and many top managers are more than interested in customer satisfaction, then you have a record of not only review of these issues, but management of resources to address them.

Process Performance and Product Conformity: Does your company keep metrics of the main processes, sometimes called Key Process Indicators (KPIs), which are used to judge the adequacy of the processes? Often, these will include the Non-Conforming Material process as one of the indicators. If these KPIs are in place, reviewed by identified members of Top Management, and used to make resource decisions on improvements to the processes then a Management Review is taking place.

Status of Preventive & Corrective Actions: If Top Management is involved in the review steps of the Corrective and Preventive Action process, ensuring follow-up to improve the system and the resource needs to address them, then the Management Review of this input can be considered to be in place without additional meetings. To learn more, see article Seven Steps for Corrective & Preventive Action.

Follow-up Actions from Previous Management Reviews: If the actions already mentioned are followed up on to ensure they were implemented, this requirement is accomplished. The important thing is to ensure that the records kept show this follow-up review.

Changes that Could Affect the Quality Management System: The Quality Management Representative is often responsible for tracking outside influences that could affect the system, such as the draft of ISO9001:2015 (expected release in 2015), or an upcoming change in government regulations that affect your industry. If these are logged and tracked, the review is easily shown. In addition, the stated reviews on internal information, such as recommendations for improvement or internal audits, address internal changes.

Recommendations for Improvement: Some recommendation for improvement, such as those coming out of the Internal Audit, can be addressed as part of that system as stated above. Other recommendations, such as from an employee suggestion system, will often be tracked on a log which can be reviewed. For complex suggestions, Top Management might need to approve the expenditure required to implement the suggestion. In all cases, if you have representatives of Top Management involved in the review processes, then the need for Management Review is satisfied.

What are the Required Management Review Outputs?

It is important to note that there is no requirement for any minutes of meeting, but records need to be maintained to show that Management Review successfully identified the following outputs for the Quality Management System:

Improvement of the Effectiveness of the System: The improvements outlined above, if the involvement of Top Management is documented, show that improvement of the QMS is taking place. The importance for any record is to ensure it is complete.

Improvement of Product Related to Customer Requirements: When management reviews the information for Product Conformity and Customer Feedback, do they take actions to improve the product to meet customer requirements? If so, this not only makes your product more marketable, and improves customer satisfaction, but also satisfies this requirement for the output of Management Review.

Resource Needs: Top Management is almost always involved in the overall resource planning of a company; in fact, it is one of their most important roles. All that needs to happen is the documentation of the reasons behind the choices of resource needs to be able to show that the review of Top Management has resulted in this plan.

Why conducting Management Review without a dedicated meeting is a good idea

While a Management Review makes it easy for the external auditor to review this requirement, it is not the responsibility of company management to make things easy for the auditor, but instead to ensure that their company functions well. Many companies that are using a Management Review Meeting normally do so on an annual basis or, at best, quarterly. For the important inputs, this can scarcely be often enough; for instance, if you only look at customer feedback every three months, you could have very dissatisfied customers due to slow response, and, if customer feedback is reviewed on a more routine basis, why not take credit for this ongoing work rather than slotting in a token meeting just for show? Such inefficient meetings are a source of cost, and good businesses try to avoid cost whenever possible.

Click here to see a free sample of  Procedure for Management Review.

Advisera Mark Hammar
Mark Hammar
Mark Hammar is a Certified Manager of Quality / Organizational Excellence through the American Society for Quality and has been a Quality Professional since 1994. Mark has experience in auditing, improving processes, and writing procedures for Quality, Environmental, and Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems, and is certified as a Lead Auditor for ISO 9001, AS9100, and ISO 14001.