Documents are a very important part of any quality system. It’s a way of standardizing your processes/ procedures.
These documents will continuously change (they are alive) so they have to be monitored in a organize way.
It doesn’t matter which quality management system you want to follow, Documents and documents control will be an important part.
All your processes and procedures have to be documented. This takes time to accomplish, but documenting them is just the beginning.
The quality of your products/services have to remain the same despite whoever is working at that moment.
This is why standardization is necessary.
When you have a formal quality system in place, then the real work begins. You have to keep your documents up to date. Every change, has to be documented.
In your Quality handbook you can stipulate the frequency of updating your SOP’s, work instructons , also your Handbook has to be updated.
Documents have to be checked if they are being read, and if they are followed.
Through the use of internal audits, one can check the following:
….If employees work according to the SOP’s / work instructions.
….If the quality management system works properly.
…..Objective view where the improvement opportunities are.
UPDATING your documents ( Revision control)
Keeping track of your updates is time consuming that’s why you must have it under control, it’s NOT difficult, but you must pay a lot of attention to “minor details”.
Large companies with enough resources use automated systems to show exactly when documentations (SOP’s) have to be updated. But smaller organizations can not afford this.
One thing that worked for me (a small organization) was the use of a visual method. Colour coded SOP’s, work instructions.
Making use of colour coded SOP’s makes it easier to see which SOP’s / work instruction have to be updated. The color corresponds to a specific year.
This is an effective, and non expensive way to keep track of your documents.
Documentation is a very big part of any quality management system. It has to be up to date, and has to be followed by everyone ,so it has to be ALIVE
Another way I use everyday to get evidence if employees are working according to the SOP’s / work instructions is by walking around, it’s a way to observe how work is being done.
It’s a very effective management style for small organizations.