ISO9001 recognises that nothing happens within a company without the direction of what the standard terms Top Management. These are the people at the highest level within an organisation who coordinate, direct and control the organisation, for instance the Directors or Business Owner.
An ISO9001 Quality System will not be established, maintained or improved without the direction and authority of Top Management. Therefore there are a number of clauses within ISO9001 directed specifically at Top Management. These include;
- Management Commitment - communicating to the organisation the importance of meeting requirements; establishing the quality policy; setting quality objectives; conducting management reviews; ensuring availability of resources.
- Customer focus – ensuring customer requirements are determined and met with the aim of enhancing customer satisfaction.
- Quality Policy – needs to be established; needs to be communicated and understood within the organisation; reviewed for continuing suitability.
- Quality Objectives – need to be established.
- Quality Management System Planning – making sure planning of the system is carried out to meet requirements and quality objectives.
- Responsibility and Authority – ensuring responsibilities and authorities are defined and communicated within the organisation.
- Management Representative – appointing a member of the organisation’s management having specific responsibilities to the operation of the quality management system.
- Internal Communication – ensuring communication processes are established within the organisation regarding effectiveness of the quality management system.
- Management Review – reviewing the quality management system to ensure its continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness.
It is down to Top Management to ensure that the above requirements are met. In so doing the work to establish a working ISO9001 Quality System is possible. Without this involvement and commitment the Quality System will struggle to comply with ISO9001.