There is no simple answer to the question of the time commitment for an ISO Quality Management System (QMS). There are a number of variables to consider including the ISO standard you are registered to, the number of employees, the capability of your management team, the complexity of your business processes, and your knowledge of quality. The answers to such questions will determine the level of effort required to maintain an ISO system. How much time do you spend on your ISO QMS annually?
There are a few factors driving how much time you will spend each year woking on your ISO QMS.
All ISO systems require regular attention, care and feeding to ensure the systems works. Auditing, Action Steps, and Training are the primary activities. Let’s look at how much time an ISO system requires annually to operate for a small company of 50 employees.
All ISO systems require an audit program consisting of internal audits, registration audits, and maybe audits of your suppliers, by your customers, or the government.
ISO systems require actions to improve processes that are failing and even for those achieving planned results. Either way action needs to be taken to continuously improve.
Education can be used for corrective action, preventive action, or for general improvement. Training is an all-purpose activity. The more education you plan for, the easier the ISO system will be to operate.
1. Internal audits: 3 days
2. Audit findings: 8 days
3. Registration audit: 3 days
4. Review nonconformances: 12 days
5. Management review: 1-5 days
6. Training employees on quality: 2 days
7. Continuing education: 2 days
8. Misc. quality discussions: 12 days
Your total time will vary depending on the ISO standard you use, number of employees you have, the capability of your management team, the complexity of your business processes, and your knowledge of quality. TOTAL TIME of 47 days per year or 2+ man months dedicated to quality is what a small company of 50 employees might require. Add more time if you are growing, have high turnover, a lot of nonconformances, new suppliers, products, processes, or improving more aggressively.
Yes, you could require one person on a full time basis or a department of quality people if you are a small automotive manufacturer applying advanced product quality planning (APQP). These estimates provide a starting point for a discussion about your quality management system.