Quality Processes - Clause no. 4.4
Dear All,

Please note that I am working in Chamber of Commerce (300 employees), and now most of our processes (services) have been automated over a CRM system.

Now my task is to specify the changes that happens over the processes flow charts of the old manual processes.

For example:

The Chamber has Quality Portal that contains the Processes’ Map (which is showing the interactions between the services).

One specific Department has in total 5 processes:

The current situation is that: all these 5 processes (that are not automated) have process flow chart on the Portal.

My Question:

How I will reflect the automation on the Quality Portal?

Is there any need to draw the flow chart for the new automated process and replace it with the process flowchart of the manual process? Or shall I only keep the process flowcharts of the old manual processes on the portal without adding the flowcharts of the automated ones (is there a need to draw the process flowchart for the automated processes even if it simple?)

What would be the documentation of the processes in this case (to comply with clause 4.4 in ISO 9001:2015)?

Thanks in advance.
4 Replies
Hello Najlaa,

I think there is not a straight forward answer to this situation. One thing to consider is that 4.4. in ISO 9001 does not requiere any kind of process flow chart....that is a choice of a company in order to comply. It is a good choice but it is not mandatory.

I would like to understand if the automated process are the whole process or just a part of it. The requirement goes to the interaction between processes and not of individual activities.

If I have 3 process, as an example, and they are connected as three big blocks, I am showing the interaction between them, the interaction could be as complex as needed. If the are manual or automated processes it does not change the nature of the interaction, just who performs the activities inside the processes.

On the other hand if my process diagrams are made, let say with lanes showing the activities of each person within the process and some or all of those activities have gone into an automated process, that could be boxed in one symbol stating it is an automated process. The symbols to be used depends on the approach you are using, there are many variations.

Knowing the type of processes representation chosen by your organization could help to visualize a potential solution to the situation.


Najlaa, hello! You might consider the necessary level of detail to satisfy the requirement and add value to your organization. For example, the sequence and interaction of processes at a high level isn’t “how” dependent. If servers were disabled for a month, information and work would still flow, if the organization’s mission and revenue depended on it. Whether paper or computer, info type 1 is generated, processed in Process 1, and filed or handed on to Process 2. Make sense?
Dear Najlaa,
Many organizations that are automating their "enterprise business system" create a similar problem. The process charts that are in the software system differ from the actual work processes that have been conducted by workers. One thing is evident, there can only be one process description that is valid at a time. Which should be dominant? The one that works best! One sign of laziness in the development of enterprise-wide management software is to either use the provided process templates or to allow the external consultants to develop the flowcharts that specify the system. Both of these options create chaos in an organization. The best way to do a digitalization project is to have the manual process stabilized, agreed, and demonstrated to work as desired. Then to simplify the process, assure that its performance measures track across the flow of related input and output processes, and then to have a joint team of experienced operators who will use the process to work with the software team that will code it and establish requirements for the Master Data architecture and measurement reporting systems. If this is not done then problems will occur and misalignments of activities will become the way you detect "opportunities for improvement" which are actually just illustrative of the software design errors that were built into the system. Software is one area where "doing it right the first time" actually pays really large benefits - especially when you are talking about the human interaction with the software system! This is why "Agile" methods with their "SCRUM" technique add power to software development as they keep checking back with the users to determine if the design is working for them.
Best regards,
Hello Najlaa,

Congratulations on switching over to the automated Quality Portal.
Keep it simple, by adopting the System Failure Mode Effect Analysis (SFMEA) technique by engaging a cross-functional team.
The team members/ internal interested parties are drawn from different processes for the changeover from manual to automated systems.
For ISO 9001 compliance, the bottom line is to write what you do, then do what you have written.
I have done similar system flow charts changeover at many plants since 1992 using SFMEA. This system change has an immediate payoff.

Best Regards,
Girish Trehan

QMS Lead Auditor-independent contractor
Partial-Load Professor, Sheridan College
ASQ Education Chair Section 0402