The Quality Policy sets the direction of the organization's development. The Top management of the organization publicly defines the main priorities and value orientations in this document. Top management must follow these principles to all its stakeholders (consumers, employees, suppliers, society, etc.). This document also indicates what the organization's management is going to do to implement the stated priorities and value orientations.
The Quality Policy is a public document. Therefore, its content often resembles slogans. All the slogans of the quality policy should be supported by specific goals and plans to achieve these goals. Based on this, there is another purpose of the quality policy – the creation of the image of the organization. It is assumed that a documented and publicly declared quality policy will not allow the top management of the organization to "verbally" declare one thing, but in practice do the exact opposite. Of course, in the case when the quality system is created formally, just for the sake of obtaining a certificate, the image no longer plays a role.
The concept of "in the field of quality" requires a separate explanation. An organization may have various components of policy and goals, for example, marketing, financial, social, etc. In the case that the organization (the top managers) adopts the quality system as the main management system, all these components will be elements of the quality policy and goals. This position is adopted in organizations committed to the principles of total quality management (TQM). The quality policy and quality objectives are limited to issues of control, assurance and quality management in the case when an organization considers a quality system only as a separate part of a set of management systems.
Responsibility for the quality policy
The leadership of top management is one of the principles that based the quality management system. Without a clearly visible and constantly demonstrated leadership role of the organization top management this system is doomed to failure, or to achieve very limited results. Only top management is able to determine the strategy of their organization and, accordingly, the strategy of the quality system. The development of a quality policy is one of the components of leadership, therefore, only the top managers of the organization should be engaged in its development.
Top management does not have to prepare a final, precisely verified document containing laconically constructed phrases when developing a quality policy. And as experience shows, they are not ready to do it. They have another task. Top management is obliged to develop a common understanding of intentions, a system of views and the direction of the organization's development in quality management issues. "Specially" trained employees (for example, specialists of the marketing and advertising service, or the quality service) can form these developments into a complete document.
It is important to understand what the responsibility of management actually is when creating a quality policy. It should be emphasized that the document entitled "quality policy" is just a piece of paper. The top management is not responsible for creating a "piece of paper", but for creating a system of views, intentions and principles on the basis of which the development of the organization in quality management issues will take place – that is, the actual policy. Hence, another responsibility of the top management is to explain the developed policy to all employees. Every employee should understand what it is. The quality policy should become a benchmark for each employee for evaluating their actions in quality issues.
Of course, all of the above applies to a situation where the leaders of an organization need a really working quality system, and not just a certificate.
Development of a quality policy
The creation of a quality policy should begin with an analysis of the existing situation and the identification of value orientations of top management. Often, the leaders of an organization pay more attention to certain "spheres" of the organization's existence. Then these scopes become the strengths of the activity of the organization. For example, for someone a close-knit friendly team is important, for someone it is important to constantly master new work technologies, for someone it is important to achieve maximum efficiency from the use of available resources, etc. Such scopes become priorities for top managers. Therefore, the first stage of developing a quality policy will be to identify such priorities. This can be done by performing a SWOT analysis.
It is necessary to identify the value orientations of top management at the next stage of policy creation. These value orientations can be determined based on the strengths of the organization. The leadership's value orientations can be divided into several categories, for example, theoretical, social, economic, aesthetic, etc.
It is necessary to correlate the identified value orientations with the principles of quality management in order to determine how distant or near the existing priorities of the organization's top management to the principles of quality management. As a result of this analytical work, the heads of the organization will see which of the existing factors will help in creating a quality system, and which, on the contrary, will create serious difficulties.
The next stage of creating a quality policy will be the stage of developing a system of views and principles acceptable to the top management for the development of the organization in quality management issues. The principles of quality management defined in the ISO 9000 series standards can be as some reference point when creating a quality policy.
The document "Quality Policy" should contain in a concise and understandable form the basic principles on the basis of which the organization is going to develop its quality system. These principles should be consistent with the priorities of the organization's work and be acceptable to it. A common mistake in drafting this document is simply copying the principles of quality management. This should not be done. The quality policy should be based on the value orientations of the management, only in this case it will be real and workable.