5.7. Section 6. Resource Management
Under ISO, management is assigned the responsibility of providing adequate resources to manage and operate the Quality Management System. Section 6 defines a set of requirements dealing with resource management.
To most people, the idea of resource management involves only peoplefor example, identifying the stakeholders and the management representatives. But in ISO 9001 (as well as in CMMI and Six Sigma), resource management means more. It means providing people, yes, but it also means providing them with the right tools and environments they need for their jobs.
The resource requirements are described next.
5.7.1. 6.1. Provide Resources
The first step in resource management is stated simply enough: provide resources. There are two objectives to this requirement. The first is to provide the right resources to manage the quality systemthat is, adequate people, tools, and environments.
The second objective is related to the first and appears, maybe at first glance, to be a bit vague. The requirement is to provide adequate resources to help meet requirements and "make customers happy." This enhances ISO's focus on customer satisfaction.
As noted in Section 5.2, one responsibility management has is to shape the Quality Management System as a tool that increases the organization's ability to meet customer requirements. This focus is further developed here.
Customer requirements serve as the benchmark for customer satisfaction. So, the organization should structure resources so that it can understand, construct, and deliver on customer requirements. This should arise as a natural offshoot of providing resources for the QMS.
5.7.2. 6.2. Human Resources
Assigning human resources is key to the success of any process improvement program. This is an often-neglected component. Of course, it's an accomplishment to design and build a Quality Management System. And sometimes you'll see that that effort tires out an organization. After that effort, the QMS might sit unused unless the organization backs up its plan with action.
The action is to assign people to carry the system into the organization. But the action should not be blind: it requires two motivations. These are described next.
220.127.116.11. 6.2.1. General
This requirement is labeled "general," but it is actually quite specific: assign competent people.
That may seem obvious, but an organization can often be tempted to throw bodies at the QMS initiative (indeed, at any project). ISO 9001 promotes assigning people who are capable, backed by experience and background, and who have the ability to control, manage, and monitor the system.
18.104.22.168. 6.2.2. Competence, awareness, and training
This second requirement supports Section 6.2.1. The organization should naturally assign qualified people to the QMS, but it also needs to support these people. It needs to ensure that the team responsible for the effectiveness of the QMS is competent, aware of the requirements of the system, and trained in its use. This is done three ways.
The first is to assess the skills of your team members. The skills assessment is designed to provide a basis for team strengthening, for improvement. Out of the assessment comes the second way: to fill any skills gaps by providing training. This may be training in the QMS, general process training, technical training, or a combination of these. The third way to maintain the competence of your team is to periodically evaluate the performance of the members.
The human resources requirement is illustrated in Figure 5-4.
Figure 5-4. Under ISO 9001, resources are required to operate and manage the Quality Management System. This includes human resources, people qualified to perform their duties; the right tools and the infrastructure to carry the duties out; and a properly configured work environment.
5.7.3. 6.3. Infrastructure
Assigning a competent team to work and maintain the Quality Management System is crucial to the program's success. To support this, the team needs the right tools to perform the tasks associated with the QMS.
This infrastructure may consist of several components. It may include the Quality Manual itself. It may include any forms, templates, or guidelines you have in place to support the QMS. It may include the computers and software your team members use. It can even include the office space you have allocated to the team.
This infrastructure requires an investment on the part of the organization. But it is necessary to ensure the QMS is backed up with the framework it needs to support its mission.
5.7.4. 6.4. Work Environment
This section of the Standard focuses on providing the right resources to manage the quality system.
Resource requirements include hiring competent people, regularly assessing their skills, providing training as needed, and providing the team with the tools and infrastructure they need to maintain the system.
The idea here is to make sure that the work environment supports the quality objectives, that the environment does not serve as a benign or overt disruption to the QMS. This is a requirement that is reflected in management's responsibility, as described in Section 5.5. Management can keep the work environment and the QMS in harmony with one other through a variety of mechanisms, by:
Of course, all organizational environments change. It's a natural part of business. Employees come and go. Policies may shift. Market trends change. Business objectives are adjusted. But these crests and troughs of business life should not be allowed to negate or overshadow the Quality Management System. It is management's responsibility to keep the two in line, each working to complement the other through an effective two-way environment.
5.7.5. Required Records
Section 6 of ISO 9001 requires the organization to maintain records that evidence skills of its stakeholders and management representatives, records of education (whether academic or professional) that demonstrate its people have the base knowledge to carry out their responsibilities, and records of training to evidence that its people have been appropriately trained in the scope, maintenance, and use of the Quality Management System.
Required records for Section 6: