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ISO 9001:2008: Quality objectives 5.4.1

Quality objectives are a clear requirement in their own right as opposed to being just a part of the policy. They must be established in support of the policies and focus on meeting product requirements and achieving continual improvement.

The translation of the quality policy into practice is made by defining the supporting objectives. ISO 9001 does not specify how the objectives should be documented; they could be documented in business plans, management review outputs or within the quality manual.

An effectively quality management system will align the policies with strategic and system objectives and provides the framework upon which to translate these objectives into functional targets.

The goal-oriented framework demonstrates how goals established at the uppermost levels of the organization flow down through the integrated management system to influence functional and personal objectives and targets.

Establish and maintain documented quality objectives and targets, at each relevant function and level within the organization. The objectives and targets establish an important link between the policies and the management programmes.

The objectives and targets must be consistent with the policies, including the commitment to prevention of pollution and continual improvement. Depending on the size, management structure, and other factors pertaining to your organization, the objectives may be established and reviewed by various personnel and with direct top management input.

Quality objectives are not static and should be updated in view of the prevailing business climate, customer expectations and continual improvement activities. Don’t be afraid to revise your objectives, but as always; ensure that personnel are made aware that they have changed! It is worth remembering that even partial achievement of a quality objective demonstrates improvement.