Process Ownership? Yes!



For many in management, implementing a set of arcane Process Ownership? Yes!requirements such as ISO 9001:2015 or its cousins, AS9100D or even IATF 16949, can seem like a daunting task! For starters, the title includes the word “Quality” and that’s a department, right? Aren’t they the people responsible? And then, there’s the terminology, which is rarely found in our daily lexicon.

It’s no wonder the implementation of the ISO 9001 requirements can be a struggle. Specifically, there’s a requirement for “Leadership” (in Clause 5) and in particular “Leadership and commitment” (5.1) where it states, in part, “Top management shall demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to the quality management system…” and then goes on to list 10 specific actions which apparently describe the behaviors of top management in demonstrating this commitment.

Donald McGannon is attributed as stating, “Leadership is an action, not a position.” We can get further practical insight into what the ISO 9001:2015 requirements for Leadership mean through the lyrics of the song “Owner of a Lonely Heart” written by the legendary progressive rock band Yes:

“Move yourself
You always live your life
Never thinking of the future
Prove yourself
You are the move you make
Take your chances, win or loser
See yourself
You are the steps you take
You and you, and that's the only way
Shake, shake yourself
You're every move you make
So the story goes”

The implication from the song is that if you are in a position of Leadership, it’s about taking action – with a focus on the future: “You are the move you make…”

For most organizations, the top-most management naturally “own” one or more processes. However, what they do in this role may be insufficient to meet the Leadership requirements. So, what does it take to be an effective Process Owner? The following description may be useful:

  1. Know the requirements for their Process:
    1. Customer (Customer-specific requirements, where applicable)
    2. Regulatory (If applicable)
    3. Corporate (If any are rolled down)
    4. The relevant ISO 9001 (etc.) section
  2. Know the Process:
    1. The inputs
    2. The activities/controls
    3. The outputs
  3. Know the Measurements and Results:
    1. Process Objective/Goals(s) based on “OTIS” (On Time, In Spec)
    2. Process Measurement(s)
    3. Current State of Process Performance
  4. Know the Actions:
    1. To improve the Process Performance, or
    2. To correct any shortfall in Planned Performance

Any Process Owner who can speak to these aspects of their assigned process will be in an excellent position to understanding another key requirement of ISO 9001:2015 – Management Review. All of these topics are on the agenda for management to review, ensuring their Quality Management System is effective and achieving the planned results.

As another verse of the Yes song states: “You've got to want to succeed

MEET OUR EXPERT: Andy Nichols, Program Manager
Andy NicholsTo The Center’s clients, Andy Nichols, CQP MCQI, brings 40 years of expertise in a wide variety of roles and industries, with a particular focus on quality management systems in manufacturing organizations. Prior to joining the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, he was the East Coast Regional Sales Manager for NQA, a “Top 5” Global Certification Body, responsible for significant sales growth in a highly competitive marketplace. He has authored two books, “Exploding the Myths Surrounding ISO 9000 – A Practical Implementation Guide” (published by ITG in April 2013) and “A Guide to Effective Internal Management Systems Audits" (published May 2014).


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Categories: Quality Management