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    Additional Responsibilities of Quality Management Representatives

    If you have difficulty understanding what other roles the quality management representative could have, you are not alone. Even though ISO 9001:2015 does not formally require a quality management representative, many companies have kept this position in place, as it can help with managing the Quality Management System. While the roles for the standard are discussed in my article What is the job of the quality management representative?, many people have difficulty understanding what is meant by the standard when it states that the required responsibilities are to be assigned to the management rep “even if they have other job responsibilities in the company.” So, you may ask, “What are these additional responsibilities of quality management representatives that are not noted in the standard?” Here are some common jobs that are done by many quality management reps, along with the duties specified in the ISO 9001 standard.

    Quality manager

    It is not always obvious, but the quality manager is not necessarily the quality management representative for the ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS). These two job responsibilities are not equal. Since many smaller companies have difficulty assigning the role of quality management representative as a standalone position, they find a manager in the company who can take on the extra responsibilities. One of the most common duties held by a management representative is that of quality manager. This is probably because, when the top management of a company is deciding who should be the management representative for the ISO 9001 management system, they immediately think that a Quality Management System should be overseen by the manager responsible for quality in the organization.

    Of course, the quality manager will have the responsibility to manage the personnel in the quality department, such as inspectors, including all that goes with this (e.g., performance review, salary review, staffing levels, department budget, etc.). They will also be responsible for the planning for the quality department, such as when inspections need to be done and who will deal with non-conforming product. This would also mean that the quality manager is likely the process owner of the quality department processes, and is therefore responsible for ensuring they are properly integrated with internal supplier and internal customer processes. If you are adding the role of quality management representative to the responsibilities of an already existing manager, the manager of quality is often the first choice.

    External liaison

    Probably the second most common set of additional responsibilities taken with the role of quality management representative are those mentioned in the standard itself: the job of being a liaison with outside parties. It is true that the certification body for the Quality Management System needs to have someone to contact to arrange for audits, reports, and corrective action correspondence, and this is often done by the quality management rep. Additionally, especially if the management rep is also the quality manager, customers like having one point of contact when they have a comment or complaint to resolve. The key to this role is to ensure that being a liaison is not all that the management representative does, as customer visits could easily overtake other important focuses of the management rep’s job.

    Analysis of data for management review

    In order to report on the QMS performance, the data identified will need to be analyzed for ease of use. The quality management rep will often be the one who reviews the data to be presented at the management review, assesses the data, and then makes it presentable through statistical analysis, charting, and packaging it into a presentation for a management review meeting. This could, of course, be accomplished by reviewing the raw data, but since the management review meeting is required to review a list of seven inputs (results of audits, customer feedback, process performance and product conformity, status of preventive and corrective actions, follow-up of previous management review actions, changes that are coming for the QMS, and recommendations for improvement), it would be easier if the data were presented in a more understandable format. The quality management representative will often be the person responsible for the release of minutes and control of management review actions, as well.

    Don’t let the responsibilities of the quality management rep take second place

    This is, of course, a very short list of some of the common additions to the stated responsibilities in ISO 9001 clause 5.5.2 of QMS process maintenance, reporting on QMS performance and promoting customer requirements. The key balancing point is to ensure that the other responsibilities of the manager are maintained, while not affecting the new responsibilities of being the quality management representative, who must ensure the oversight of the Quality Management System. Like any other job, reviewing and monitoring the workload of the employee against the job responsibilities is critical to ensure enough time is available to dedicate adequate attention to all aspects of the job description. It is important to remember that while monitoring the assigned tasks, it is perfectly acceptable to change the manager assigned as the quality management representative if this becomes necessary. Without proper oversight, the expense that has gone into creating the system could easily be wasted, as the system will not generate the value and improvements that are expected by top management. Wasting resources is not what the QMS is all about; it is about adding value and building a framework to improve.

    Click here for a free sample of  Quality Manual.

    Advisera Mark Hammar
    Author
    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.