The changing role of the quality management representative (QMR)
Munich. The revised ISO 9001 standard, scheduled for publication in late 2015, will bring a host of changes for organisations. The new standard, for example, no longer includes the clause requiring top management to appoint a quality management representative (QMR). However, this change does not mean that the role of QMR will become superfluous. In fact, the function will be embedded in a more supportive environment, as the new standard assigns more responsibility to top management. TÜV SÜD’s experts know the new requirements to which organisations should start adjusting now.
The new ISO 9001 expects top management to adopt a more proactive approach to quality management. In the future, top management is to take more accountability for the effectiveness of the quality management system. In other words, top management not only needs to provide the resources necessary for a functioning quality management system (QMS), but must also ensure QMS effectiveness and efficiency.
However, the revised standard not only includes new and expanded requirements, but also some tried and tested elements. As in the previous ISO 9001 standard, top management will be responsible for communicating within the organisation the importance of meeting customer requirements, regulatory and statutory requirements. It is also responsible for establishing a quality policy and for ensuring the setting of quality objectives. The requirements to carry out a management review and ensure the availability of the necessary resources continue to apply unchanged.
“For increased leadership and commitment by top management to be successful, top management must not see quality management as an appendix in addition to the actual requirements of business processes”, explains Ulrich Wegner, Technical Head of the Certification Body of TÜV SÜD Management Service GmbH. “Instead, quality management should be closely intermeshed with strategic planning and, where possible, the management control system, and thus with actual corporate management. To reach this goal, organisations must clearly define the roles and responsibilities of managers and executives in the field of quality management.” To ensure the importance of QM is firmly anchored throughout the organisation, top management should review QM and align it to effective and quality-related actions and processes across all levels of the organisation.
The new ISO 9001 supports this approach by identifying clearer quality objectives for all relevant areas. The role of quality management representative may prove valuable and can still be used in the future to fulfil all of the above requirements. However, those rare organisations in which QMRs are still operating as 'lone warriors' will definitely need to undertake some adjustments to meet the requirements defined in the new ISO 9001.