Although ISO 9001 is known as a standard for Quality Management Systems, some of the requirements are much wider than one would logically expect for a mere QMS. A case in point are the requirements for Resource Management. If one really thinks about it, these requirements define a Business Management System.
Some organizations in fact refer to their ISO 9001 system as a Business Management System, rather than a Quality Management System. If one uses the latter term, the perception is that the system is a subdivision of a company that could be labelled “Quality” and as such, is the responsibility of the quality department. While this was certainly the case in the early days of the standard, this has changed starting with the release of ISO 9001: 2000.
Resource Management is a part of Business Management
Rather than the QMS simply describing how a product is made, it has become a lot more holistic. One of the big changes that helped shift the focus to the business rather than only the product is the involvement of Top Management to ensure that the QMS works well.
When management responsibilities started getting bigger emphasis, it introduced new requirements for top management to make sure that a QMS (or Management System) has what is needed for it to work properly and improve. This is where resource management comes into the picture.
In the first part of Resource Management, the reasons these requirements have been included in the standard are discussed. The business should first identify the resources needed for implementing, maintaining and improving the QMS, and to improve customer satisfaction by meeting customer’s requirements. It then follows logically that the resources must be made available. Three resource categories that should be included are listed below.
- Human Resources
Salaries and wages are often a company’s biggest expense. People are also referred to as human capital. It is therefore fair to say one of a company’s most valued resources is people, and this is emphasized with Human Resources being the first part of this section in ISO 9001. The standard requires that people doing the work should be competent. This is measured by looking at skills, training, education and experience that is needed to do a job adequately.
- Work Environment
This section deals with the work conditions of your business, and requires that the company identify what is needed, and then manage the environment. Things such as adequate lighting, temperature and humidity controls, how to deal with weather if this affects your product or service, and how to control noise from your processes should be included in your analysis.
If the requirements of ISO 9001 are viewed as defining a Business Management System, you can easily see the importance of ensuring that physical resources required to meet your products or services requirements are controlled. Things like utilities, buildings, equipment, IT infrastructure (software and hardware), communication and transportation are included. The standard helps you think of what physical resources are needed to ensure that you can not only manufacture the product or service, but also deliver it to meet customer requirements and expectations.
Resource Management and Continual Improvement
Integrating Resource Management into your system will allow you to achieve the benefits that are present when you analyze data from the QMS. The QMS is designed to use the data collected to make changes aimed at improving individual processes and, as a result, improving the overall effectiveness of your system. The best improvements can only occur if you align the QMS goals with the assigning of those resources that will make them happen.
Customers are integrating Resource Management into their ISO 9001 quality management systems (QMS) using MyEasyISO software in Jerusalem (Israel), while ISO 14001 & OHSAS 18001 Health Safety Management Systems (HSE) are implemented in Montreal (Canada).