III.D.2 Quality planning, deployment, and documentation

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What is a Quality Plan?

Excerpt From
The Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence Handbook

A quality plan is a document, or several documents, that together specify quality standards, practices, resources, specifications, and the sequence of activities relevant to a particular product, service, project, or contract. Quality plans should define:

  • Objectives to be attained (for example, characteristics or specifications, uniformity, effectiveness, aesthetics, cycle time, cost, natural resources, utilization, yield, dependability, and so on)
  • Steps in the processes that constitute the operating practice or procedures of the organization
  • Allocation of responsibilities, authority, and resources during the different phases of the process or project
  • Specific documented standards, practices, procedures, and instructions to be applied
  • Suitable testing, inspection, examination, and audit programs at appropriate stages
  • A documented procedure for changes and modifications to a quality plan as a process is improved
  • A method for measuring the achievement of the quality objectives
  • Other actions necessary to meet the objectives

At the highest level, quality goals and plans should be integrated with overall strategic plans of the organization. As organizational objectives and plans are deployed throughout the organization, each function fashions its own best way for contributing to the top-level goals and objectives. At lower levels, the quality plan (see earlier definition) assumes the role of an actionable plan. Such plans may take many different forms depending on the outcome they are to produce. Quality plans may also be represented by more than one type of document to produce a given outcome.

An example of this is a manufacturing company that machines metal parts. Its quality plan consists of applicable procedures (describing the production process and responsibilities), applicable workmanship standards, the measurement tolerances acceptable, the description of the material standards, and so forth. These may all be separate documents.

More variable information that pertains to a particular customer may be spelled out on individual work orders (sometimes called travelers). Work orders specify the machine setups and tolerances, operations to be performed, tests, inspections, handling, storing, packaging, and delivery steps to be followed. An operating-level quality plan translates the customer requirements (the what) into actions required to produce the desired outcome (the how) and couples this with applicable procedures, standards, practices, and protocols to specify precisely what is needed, who will do it, and how it will be done. A control plan may specify product tolerances, testing parameters, and acceptance criteria. While the terminology may differ, the basic approach is similar for service and other types of organizations.

Quality Management BOK Reference

III Management Elements and Methods 
III.D Quality System 
III.D.2 Quality planning, deployment, and documentation - Develop and deploy the quality plan and ensure that it is documented and accessible throughout the organization.  

Additional Resources
Back to the Management Elements and Methods CMC
Back to the Quality Management Body of Knowledge

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Date Added: Sep 11, 2018
Date Last Modified: May 8, 2019
Category: Resources
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