Management system guidance

Quality manual

ISO Navigator Pro™ is a free tool that provides practical, expert guidance for businesses wishing to interpret and better implement the requirements of ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001:2018.

Our range of templates cover the requirements of ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001:2018, and offer an easy way to implement your next management system.

Benefits of keeping your quality manual

When deciding to keep your manual, take guidance from your accreditation body and customers

In business we are often distracted and can lose focus on what is important, the quality manual and the management system help to keep us focused. The quality manual describes the quality management system in accordance with the stated quality policy and objectives, while the procedures describe the processes and activities required to implement the quality management system. Quality manual template

Although ISO 9001 no longer requires the quality manual as a mandatory document, it is perhaps still the most important part of any modern quality management system.

Organizations often address the requirements of the standards by preparing a management system manual and by implementing procedures to control processes.

In reality, it is still important still to document the important parts of the business, especially areas with the highest risk

Many businesses and operators of mature quality systems recognize the added value these elements bring to their operations and their quality management system. The quality manual, the polices, processes and procedures are all about what your company has decided is important to ensure they can provide the services and products that continually meet customer requirements, deliver satisfaction and for the business to meet its own targets and objectives.

The quality manual provides the scope of the management system (e.g. what the business does, wants, expects, etc.). Also, the manual contains an overview of management's and employee responsibilities as well as conformity statements applicable to the ISO 9001:2015 causes that are contained and supported by your management system.

The management system processes and procedures provide detailed requirements for each of your key processes with the intent to specify who does what, when, where, how the process, action, or task is performed, and what documentation is used to verify that all required the quality related activities have been executed as required.

Quality manual basics

Ensure the quality manual addresses all relevant requirements of ISO 9001, and that exclusions from Section 8, Operation; are documented in the quality manual as appropriate. Operational procedures should be included or referenced in the quality manual, and the interaction between the processes of the quality system should be documented (e.g. process map, flowcharts, etc.).

The quality manual is often used as the normative basis of reference to international standards, and when used internally provides an overview of the ISO 9001:2015 requirements and processes. All management system documents should be properly controlled. For example, each change should be authorized and logged, and the updated document should get a new revision number or code.

Why have a manual if none is required for accreditation? You can document the procedures, scope, policy and anything else your business and the standard requires. You could create a booklet-sized resource in which the QMS documents are referenced, or even as a series tabs in a spreadsheet document, stored on a shared drive.

If you use a process map, the procedure references could be listed there. The procedures could be referenced as part of the actions to mitigate risks with in your risk-register. There are many practical methods to replace your quality manual!

Communicating the quality manual

Communicating your quality manual via the intranet or internet actively encourages engagement with stakeholders, employees, customers, suppliers and other interested parties. As a top-level, controlled document, the quality manual is often used as a business and marketing tool with the following indispensable benefits:

  1. Communicates business strategy;
  2. Defines how customer needs are identified, met and monitored;
  3. Marketing tool for promoting the organization and communicating its quality management system externally;
  4. A tool to establish and imbed organizational credibility and accountability;
  5. Documents management system scope;
  6. Documents management system processes;
  7. Communicates sequence and interaction;
  8. Communicates the quality policy;
  9. Communicates the quality objectives;
  10. Relevance to products and services, and sector;
  11. References documented information;
  12. Outlines core expectations;
  13. Attracts pre-qualification offers;
  14. Documenting and explaining exclusions;
  15. Alignment and compliance to standards and regulations;
  16. Certification/registration and Pre-audit reviews;
  17. Well-defined procedures and processes
  18. Supplier audit reference;
  19. Useful induction tool for new staff;
  20. Greater visibility of quality assurance for products and services.

Quality manuals allow you to demonstrate the quality of what you do for your customers, employees and stakeholders and will help embed best practice into your organization.

If you're looking to purchase a quality manual, our quality manuals, procedures and audit checklists are trusted by thousands of small businesses and globally recognized brands to reduce the risk of non-conformances and corrective action during the implementation, operation and certification of an ISO 9001 quality management system.

Quality manual scope

The quality manual provides a general description of your organization's QMS and the various processes employed within its scope. It adds value by helping the process owners to understand their roles within the management system. So, create a manual that is more user-friendly than auditor-friendly since a well designed quality manual would address the needs of employees and also the expectations of customers.

The scope of your quality manual should capture the structure and interactions of your business and its quality management system, delineate authorities, inter-relationships and responsibilities of personnel, provide reference to the procedures, forms, reports, process and activities that it describes.

The quality manual demonstrates implementation of the ISO 9000:2015 quality management principles and how they are adopted into daily operations as a way to provide a foundation for detecting and preventing non-conformities and continually improving.

Need a quality manual template?

Our ISO 9001 quality manual template, procedures, forms, and audit checklists provide the robust framework required for implementing a compliant, process-based quality management system. It is very comprehensive and goes into depth on every section of the ISO 9001:2015 standard.

Optional guidance documents and additional procedure templates are available to help you meet the quality management requirements of ISO 9001:2015, whatever the size and scope of your operations!

By developing the quality manual and procedures to align with the concepts, guidelines and terminology given in ISO 9000:2015, ISO 9004:2018 and ISO 19011:2018, the quality manual templates and procedures deliver clear, concise and well-documented content that provides long-term value for money!

Quality manual template formatting and compatibility

The editable quality manual templates are supplied in .docx and .xlsx formats, while the guidance documents are supplied .pdf format. They are compatible with Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat for Windows or MAC and are compatible with SharePoint, Microsoft Office 365, and all proprietary digital storage solutions. The ISO templates are supplied as .zip files for fast download (3.9 to 9.2Mb) | extracted .docx and .pdf file sizes are between 1.5 and 8.5Mb.

Quality manual template example downloads

Download examples of our quality management system templates in .pdf format and see how they could help you save time and money!

ISO 9001:2015 quality manual template QMS Production Control Plan
QMS Context of the Organization Procedure QMS Process Interaction
QMS Internal Auditing Procedure QMS Turtle Diagram
QMS Inspection Procedure QMS Non-conforming Process Outputs Process Map
QMS Context & Interested Party Analysis QMS Clause-by-clause Interpretation
QMS Process Matrix & Application QMS RCA & Corrective Action Guidance
QMS Corrective Action Request QMS Internal Audit Guidance
 

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ISO Navigator™ is our FREE online training tool that shows you how to apply the principles of PDCA to your operations. We also offer many helpful templates that get you on the road to documenting your management system, please visit the download page.