ISO 9001 Management Review – Going in Circles

Are We Going in Circles ?ISO 9001 Management Review

Implementing ISO 9001 can sometimes feel like you are a dog chasing its’ tail; you can’t just walk down through the standard completing  a section at a time. Instead you have to jump from quality policy to documentation to customer requirements to design and hey isn’t this all about process control? Talk about making us linear, engineering-types crazy with frustration.

ISO 9001 Management Review is really a two-way Street

ISO 90010 management review is a key element in making implementation of the standard a viable continuous improvement effort. Support for change comes from the top down and is communicated in the ISO 9001 management review. Management is responsible for making sure the resources are available to create change. Management is responsible for setting priorities for change. ISO 9001 management review is the place where employees demonstrate what is and isn’t working and conveys to management what they need to accomplish positive change. ISO 9001 management review is the place to communicate and set the goals for the next business cycle, so while it may feel like you are going in circles it is really a two-way street for communication.

Typically, the management representative pulls all the information together for the ISO 9001 management review and generates the agenda for the business cycle. Note, it should be for the business cycle. In most companies the business cycle is annually so a single ISO 9001 management review per year suffices. However, I have seen companies where the business actually cycles multiple times a year. In this case, for the ISO 9001 management review to be an effective tool, and not just “the ISO 9001 standard requires it so we have to sit through it” meeting, it should be performed multiple times per year.

The management representative is responsible for keeping the presentation on track, but that does not mean doing the entire ISO 9001 management review, single-handedly. Each area should report and take full responsibility for the presentation of the data and answer questions related to that data.

Organizing the ISO 9001 Management Review

The data being presented at the ISO 9001 management review should not come as a surprise to management. They should have been receiving, and reading, regular updates. This meeting is to present trends from the data to be used to guide future actions and goals and most importantly, determine if the system is working or needs serious revision.

Each activity in standard implementation should link back to and communicate to management through the ISO 9001 management review. The ultimate responsibility of management is to allocate resources, develop a plan to be competitive, to stay in business and to provide jobs. For this reason, during implementation of the ISO 9001 standard it sometimes feels like the efforts take the employees in circles, always returning to the ISO 9001 management review. Continuous improvement is a cycle and a never ending quest following the Plan Do Check Act model. ISO 9001 is a tool for continuous improvement and therefore is cyclical in nature. ISO 9001 management review is the two-way street for communication to create constancy of purpose for continual improvement of products and service to society, allocating resources to provide for long range needs rather than only short term profitability, with a plan to become competitive, to stay in business, and to provide jobs[1].


[1] Dr. W. Edward Deming, 14 Points, “Constancy of purpose”

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