[This series of articles tries to emphasize the benefits of ISO 9001, and how to yield results from each major clause of the standard.]
Clause 8.5 is the biggest monster of the standard, divided into a large number of lower-level clauses, each of which is important. For this reason, it’s important to take them one at a time.
We start with the most complicated, unfortunately: 8.5.1 “Control of Production and Service Provision.” Older versions of ISO 9001 did a better job explaining this clause organically, through the language of those editions; you’ll struggle a bit to understand it under ISO 9001:2015.
Essentially, the clause is asking that production be performed under “controlled conditions” to ensure quality. The clause then provides some minimum requirements for what “controlled conditions” must include. It gets complicated under ISO 9001:2015 because the authors tried to shoehorn in service providers — who have very different “controlled conditions” — which resulted in the language of the clause becoming muddy.
As a result, you will see a lot of repeat language appearing in 8.5.1 that mirrors 8.1 as well as other clauses in the standard. For example, 8.5.1 again demands you provide resources, a concept that has been addressed multiple times already, earlier in the standard. It’s best, then, to think of 8.5.1 as a memory jogger: a list of things to re-examine before you begin work on a given job or contract. Maybe you’ve addressed them already, or maybe not — this is a safety net.
Again, this article series isn’t about explaining the standard in detail — that’s what Surviving ISO 9001 is for — but instead on how to glean benefits.
When implemented properly, Clause 8.5.1 should result in the following tangible benefits for your company:
- Each job that hits the floor, or each project that launches, should have all the necessary information, resources, staff and instructions on hand in order to work efficiently.
- Those responsible for the work will know exactly what they are supposed to be doing, what the product or service requirements are, and how to ensure the quality of their work.
- “Human error” is finally invoked in this clause, and companies can leverage this to create inventive poka-yoke tools or methods to reduce nonconformities due to human error.
Click here for the full series of articles on The Benefits of ISO 9001:2015.
About Christopher Paris
Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001:2015. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.