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IATF 16949 ISO 9001 Quality management Quality Management System

Quality objectives – results to achieve in the quality management system


Entering the New Year for many organizations means a summary of activities in the quality management system for the previous year. At the same time, it is the moment to prepare the organization to meet the requirements of ISO 9001, IATF 16949 (more about this standard here) or another standard in the coming months. In many organizations that treat the New Year as the beginning of “the new interval”, the quality objectives are the basic elements to consider and establish.

Quality objectives- why they are important?

Organizations certifying their quality management systems against the requirements of ISO 9001 and IATF 16949 are process-oriented (the process-oriented approach to management is discussed here). Additionally, they are required to use process monitoring (monitoring is discussed here). Therefore, they use metrics that guide continual improvement and the efficient use of resources.

Effective use of metrics is possible due to the assignment of quality objectives to them.

Thanks to them, organizations gain information on whether they are following the chosen direction by implementing their strategy, and thus whether they are taking the right actions.

What are quality objectives?

The definition of the goal is included in ISO 9000:2015 states:

Objective – a result to be achieved.

ISO 9000:2015, Quality management systems — Fundamentals and vocabulary, p. 3.7.1

Thus, each objective determines the planned material or non-material outcome of the process.

The formulation of the objectives can be done in two ways [1]:

  • keeping in mind the requirements and expectations of the entire process; they can be defined as the overall goals of the process,
  • and / or goals may result from tasks carried out during the process; they can be defined as specific objectives of the process.

The objective may be related to manufacture a specific product, to collect relevant information, etc. But most of all, the most important goal in the process approach is to achieve customer satisfaction [2]. Therefore, all efforts to design a process should start with an analysis of customer requirements [3].

What should the objectives be?

For goals set up in the organization remember about the SMART principle:

  • Specific properly formulated, understandable to everyone and important for the company,
  • Measurable – that is, formulated in such a way as to be able to numerically express the degree of goal achievement,
  • Achievable – goals should be ambitious but realistic to achieve,
  • Relevant – the goal should correspond to the strategic direction of the organization,
  • Time-bound – the goal should have a specific time horizon in which it is intended to be achieved.

Objectives related ISO 9001:2015 requirements

Top management should demonstrate leadership and commitment to the quality management system by: (…) establishing quality objectives that are consistent with the context and strategy of the organization.

ISO 9001: 2015 Quality management systems — Requirements, p. 5.1.1 b)

ISO 9000:2015 defines top management as:

Top management is the person or group of people who, at the highest level, lead and oversee the organization.

ISO 9000:2015, Quality management systems — Fundamentals and vocabulary, p. 3 .1.1

When considering the quality management system compliant with the requirements of ISO 9001, the quality objectives should be established for the appropriate:

• functions,

• levels,

• processes,

needed for the quality management system.

According to ISO 9001 point 6.2.1, the quality objectives should be:

• adequate to the quality policy;

• measurable;

• take into account applicable requirements;

• refer to the conformity of products and services and increase customer satisfaction;

• monitored;

• communicated;

• updated.

Remember that you must maintain documented information on quality objectives.

In addition, ISO 9001 point 6.2.2 says that when planning how to achieve quality objectives, you should specify:

• what is to be done;

• what resources are needed;

• who will be responsible;

• when it will be completed;

• how to evaluate the results.

Quality objectives in IATF 16949: 2016

IATF 16949 in 6.2.2.1 specifies that objectives should be defined, established and maintained for the relevant functions, processes and levels throughout the organization, especially if related to meet customer requirements.

IATF 16949 also states that top management is responsible for ensuring that these objectives are established and maintained.

The absolute difference from ISO 9001:2015 is the requirement in IATF 16949:2016 to set quality objectives and related performance targets (internal and external) (at a minimum) once a year.

Additionally it should be:

• taken into account the results of the review regarding interested parties

• and their relevant requirements.

What else you should remember?

1. The quality policy is the framework for setting quality objectives, the implementation and maintenance of which is the responsibility of the top management of ISO 9001: 2015 point 5.2b).

2. Persons doing work under the organization’s control should be aware of relevant quality objectives, ISO 9001: 2015 point 7.3.b).

3. Ensuring the achievement of the intended results in the quality management system is also the responsibility of the top management of ISO 9001: 2015 point 5.1.1g).

4. Monitoring in an organization without reacting to failure to meet objectives can strain resources and lead to a lack of improvement in achieving better and better results [4]. Hence, referring to the holistic approach in the chapter 9 of ISO 9001: 2015 and IATF 16949: 2016, organizations are required to evaluate the performance, and thus the effectiveness of the quality management system.

5. In the event of any possible deviations, actions should be taken, for example, corrective action or improvements, which are the subject of chapter 10 of ISO 9001: 2015 and IATF 16949: 2016.

Let me show you how I monitored processes with use of objectives!

If you are curious, I encourage you to download the template I have prepared for you. You can use it in your work by editing it as you like.

Hope you found the article interesting. Let me know in the comment!

Thank you for your presence.

Agata Lewkowska Ph.D.

PS. If I can help you with quality management issues, please contact me. You may also join me in my private group on Facebook: ISO 9001 & IATF 16949 QualityWise Group.

For people who want to know more:

Knowledge must have a solid foundation in order to avoid information noise. Therefore, the article was based on the following literature:

[1] Miller P., Metodyka badania zmienności i skuteczności procesów ciągłych, Oficyna Wydawnicza Szkoła Główna Handlowa w Warszawie, Warszawa 2014, s. 65

[2] Armistead C., Machin S., Implications of business process management for operations management, International Journal of Operations & Production Management 1997, no. 17 (9), p. 893; Kohlbacher M., Reijers H.A., The effects of process – orineted organizational design on firm performance, Business Process Management Journal 2013, no. 19 (2), p. 248; Thawesaengskulthai N., Tannock J.D.T., Pay-off selection criteria for quality and improvement initiatives, International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management 2008, no. 25 (4), p. 366 – 382; Willaert P., Van den Bergh, Willems J., Dechoolmeester D., The Process-Oriented Organization: a Holistic View. Developing a Framework for Business Process Orientation Maturity, [in:] Alonso G., Dadam P., Rosemann M. (ed.): BPM 2007, LNCS 4714, p.2;  Zairi M., Business process management: a boundaryless approach to modern competitiveness, Business Process Management Journal 1997, no. 3 (1), p. 68

[3] Nadarajah D., Kadir S.L.S.A., Measuring Business Process Management using business process orientation and process improvement initiatives, Business Process Management Journal 2016, no. 22 (6), p. 1072; Trkman P., Mertens W., Viaene S., Gemmel P., From business process management to customer process management, Business Process Management Journal 2015, no. 21 (2), p. 250-251

[4] Kohlbacher M., Gruenwald S., Process orientation: conceptualization and measurement, Business Process Management Journal 2011, no. 17, (2), p. 272

[5] ISO 9000:2015 Quality management systems — Fundamentals and vocabulary

[6] ISO 9001:2015 Quality management systems — Requirements

[7] IATF 16949: 2016 Requirements for quality management systems in serial production and the production of spare parts in the automotive industry, 1st edition, 2016

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2 replies on “Quality objectives – results to achieve in the quality management system”

Fantastic article Agata. Thank you for the Process vs Objectives monitoring file template. I will try to use this, but may be a little apprehensive as I have never tried to monitor all key processes in one file. The process owners are responsible for doing this and they already have files in use to track their processes and sub-processes. Do you have plans to release any further videos with Paul Hardiman as the ten I watched last year were really informative. Each year the AIAG and/or other bodies release a Top 10 Major and Top 10 Minor Nonconformances against ISO9001 & IATF16949. Could you release videos that may help people be more aware of what could be done better in their processes and objectives to avoid having these nonconformances or to improve their processes to ensure that they never slip into a nonconformance and achieve their objectives?

Thank you Roger. It is also a good practice that process owners track their metrics in separate process file. Combined file may be easier to use for top management who is obligated to review those processes. And yes…there are further plans to record new series with Paul, good advice with NCs 🙂