ISO 9001:2015 Conflict of Interest Question

3 Replies

ISO 9001:2015 Conflict of Interest Question

Posted by Amanda Foster on Feb 10, 2020 2:26 pm

This question is particularly aimed toward ISO 9001:2015 certification auditors, but all input is welcome.

For a small manufacturing company (approx 25 employees) with a quality department of 1, is it a conflict of interest for that person to also be production manager?
Amanda Foster, ASQ CQA

Re: ISO 9001:2015 Conflict of Interest Question

Posted by Luigi Sille on Feb 10, 2020 6:41 pm

It does not have to be conflict of interest.

The problem is that the same person has to check his or her own work. This can be a huge problem. 
-Errors can go unnoticed.
-Chances to improve the process, products will be almost gone



 

Re: ISO 9001:2015 Conflict of Interest Question

Posted by Amanda Foster on Feb 11, 2020 2:31 pm

Luigi Sille‍, so, you think it's not a conflict of interest for the person who drives the production floor and the only inspector to be the same person? 

It seems to me as though there could be times that quality suffers in order to meet the production schedule in this scenario. I really don't know for certain, though, which is why I posed the question here.
Amanda Foster, ASQ CQA

Re: ISO 9001:2015 Conflict of Interest Question

Posted by Duke Okes on Feb 11, 2020 7:18 pm

There are almost always potential conflicts of interest, even if the roles are separated.  However, one way to look at it is to think of an even smaller organization, say 5 people.  No way can all roles be assigned to different individuals.

So I would consider things such as:
- What industry is it (e.g., if high risk, such as medical devices, then it's likely a problem; if not high risk, less so)
- Is there only the quality/production manager, or is there someone else with a quality title.  If the latter then give that person a dotted line reporting relationship to the top person (e.g., general manager)
- Are there clear policies/guidelines that can help an individual who has multiple roles know what priorities/actions are/not appropriate?
- If the company is ISO 9001 registered then the audit function can help assess whether the conflict if interest is creating problems (e.g., look at organizational objectives/performance metrics and whether actions are being taken that do not support them

Of course whoever the production manager reports to is ultimately responsible for ensuring that any conflicts are resolved/addressed.