Q&A: Bringing Multiple Companies Under One Management System - ISO 9001


I'm going to open this up with a shout out to Dharma Singh for the question about ISO 9001; in fact it's two questions.

Dharma asks specifically about the mandatory procedures in ISO 9001, adding that he’s got multiple companies across multiple sites, in multiple countries: ‘Can we bring them all under one quality system?’, He asks.

The answer to both those questions is that ISO 9001 is looking for some common documents, and more importantly, evidence that you arrange people into a place where they can find the information that they need.

While the standard refers to ‘mandatory procedures’, and ‘mandatory policies’, there's a couple of things you need to give people guidance on. You want to follow that thread of having a quality website or a place to go, where people have instructions on how to look after your system. That's really where we're at right now with the mandatory procedures.

We're saying make sure you've got your website, or your policies and procedures accessible for staff. If you're still following that thread, keep them current and up-to-date.

Until you've moved into a completely electronic system, you've got that mandatory procedure around currency they've put as a mandatory set of guidance that you need to have or a policy or procedure around record-keeping. How long are you going to keep things for? How long do you keep your evidence for?

And to answer your last question: can we bring them all under one quality umbrella?

Yes.

My recommendation to people is to utilise just one internal audit plan, one internal audit master plan or schedule for the whole organization.

This way, you can track your progress on a single centralized management review or board report. This way, you have a business plan for your management system, which is in invaluable for conveying your objectives and targets, and will help you tie that up with an internal audit schedule that covers the whole organization. That entails sending people around the place, booking systems and processes and one centralized common management review, so you can have a couple of management reviews or feeding up into that.

"So yes, not only can you can bring them under one quality head, I encourage you to, in the name of a more efficient management system."

So Dharma, I hope that helps you, and thank you very much for your question. If you need any further help with your ISO 9001, please have a look at our free ISO9001 gap analysis checklist.

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