When embarking on a new quality management system and writing a new quality manual for your organization, one of the most important decisions to make is how your quality policy statement should read. A quality policy statement is a requirement of an ISO9001:2000 quality management system, and can be regarded as the general guiding philosophy of your company or organization.
If you compare guiding a company to steering a ship, the nautical equivalent of a quality policy statement might be something like "We are going to sail to New York". This is a general statement of the overall goal. In your company's quality manual, you might say something like "Our goals are to achieve 100 percent customer satisfaction, constantly innovate in our products, and continually improve in all our activities". How can you steer the ship if you don't know where you want to go?
The quality objectives you choose to include in your quality manual, on the other hand, are the nuts-and-bolts, day-to-day objectives that will show how you are doing in regards to your overall goal. Quality objectives are also a requirement of an ISO9001:2000 quality management system, and must be included in your quality manual.
Depending on the size and complexity of your organization, I recommend that you have from 3 to 7 quality objectives in your quality manual. Any less than three is probably inadequate to accurately measure the improvement in your quality. Any more than 7 is probably too difficult to keep track of, and may start to become redundant.
Quality objectives must be measurable based on objective, numerical data. A vague statement in your quality manual such as "create the best product" is not measurable. The word "best" is a subjective evaluation, and can not be measured accurately. Your quality objectives should most likely contain some sort of numerical reference. Here are some examples:
Whether or not you are ISO certified, it is definitely in your best interest to keep track of where you are in relation to where you want to be. In order to steer the ship accurately, not only do you need to know where you want to go, but you also need to know where you are currently.
I recommend that you compile statistics on your quality objective performance at least twice a year. Your performance measurements should be one of the inputs for your management review meeting, but you are free to compile and examine the statistics as often as you feel would be helpful.
Whether it be during the course of your management review, or at any other time, an analysis of your quality objective performance can be quite revealing. It can validate that you are on the right track, or can point out deficiencies. Hopefully a regular analysis of your quality objectives will keep you on track, and keep pointing you in right direction, in your quest for continually improving your quality system and your whole organization.
I always recommend that people keep their ISO quality manual as simple as possible, while covering the necessary requirements of ISO9001:2000. Keep your quality policy statement simple, but meaningful. Keep your quality objectives simple, meaningful, and measurable.