QMS Guidance Pt. 12 – ISO 9001 Cl. 9.3

Clause 9.3 conveniently tells you how to do a Management Review, that its the responsibility of the SMT to do the review and what should come out of the review. It also, via a very handy bullet list gives you an outline for an agenda for the review.

Sub-Clause 9.3.1

A general clause requiring the SMT to review the QMS at planned intervals. So you need a plan, its not required to be documented but at the very least I’d advise taking a stab at documenting some kind of schedule, that way anyone who might not be able to be present can think ahead and provide their contribution ahead of time. What this clause does require is that the QMS is reviewed for its suitability, adequacy, effectiveness and alignment with the strategic direction of the organisation, so you’ll need to go back and remind yourself of sub-clauses 4.1 & 4.2.

What this sub-clause doesn’t require is a meeting, either annual or regular. Meetings either face-to-face or virtual can be a good idea, but not necessarily. I’ve been involved with some organisations that use secured intranets or email and phone calls to do reviews, which provided they’re planned then you’ll have met the requirements of the standard. Personally I prefer ‘Zoom’ or ‘Slack’ meetings but there are other solutions too.

Sub-Clause 9.3.2

Effectively this sub-clause, in the form of a bullet list, can be treated as an agenda for the review.

You’re not required to do the review all in one go and I’d advise splitting it up into manageable chunks, reviews can get boring, especially if you’re not directly involved in the topic under review. The standard also doesn’t require all managers to review all parts so if you have a few absentees this probably isn’t a big problem so long as the key people are actively involved in the review. The key here is to make sure you cover off all the agenda points in-line with your plan.

What the standard says nothing of however, is if there are any agenda points that are more significant than others. The extent to which risk and opportunity fluctuates will vary according to the organisational setting, meaning some aspects of the agenda might be revisited more than once annually. It might be that a significant supplier goes out of business, so as a consultant I’d be advising a planned discussion around how to deal with the situation, what risks this poses and also what opportunities it reveals. More recently the Covid-19 situation will have thrown up all kinds of risk and opportunity situations, particularly around context and needs & expectations of interested parties.

Sub-Clause 9.3.3

A really short clause requiring the results of the management review to be documented.

For each agenda point outputs should address opportunities for improvement, if there are any changes needed to the QMS and what resources are required.

The Key Take-Aways

Take-Away # 1 – the SMT have got to be involved, they were way back in clauses 4.1 & 4.2 so its logical they will be here too. What this means is that change and authorisation will come right from the top. And who’s going to deny the boss?

Take-Away # 2 – the standard provides a really handy agenda, all you have to do is follow it and you shouldn’t then have any difficulties in ensuring everything is covered-off

Take-Away # 3 – by dividing-up the agenda and ensuring those who have the most to contribute do so you’ll find you have an efficient and effective way of getting through the management review process

Take-Away # 4 – by thinking through what’s going to be changed, how this affects the QMS and what resources are required to be effective you have essentially a plan for change management in place.

Philip Dawson MBA | Business Consultant | Leadership Coach

Lead Auditor | ISO 9001 | ISO 14001 | ISO 45001/OHSAS 18001 | ISO 27001 | Lean 6-Sigma Practitioner

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