Planning for Change:   Auditing and Covid-19

Planning for Change: Auditing and Covid-19

Planning for Change: Auditing and Covid-19

A lot has changed this year. All of us have had to learn a new way of existing. Being social defines human existence, yet we live in a time where being social could be a matter of life and death. Yes, we have learnt to keep a safe distance from our loved ones. Companies have had to adapt to new processes. Gone are the times when your physical presence was expected at your work station. Today, it’s all about remote working. But…

Have you documented the changes you have made to your Quality Management System in accordance to clause 6.3 of ISO 9001:2015? Could this be a source of a major nonconformity? Let’s find out.

What evidence of planning around covid-19 would an ISO 9001:2015 auditor expect from your organization?

Critical requirements of ISO 9001 state that a business shall:

  • Show how they will increase success at the same time; reduce unwanted effects. 
  • Consider the opportunity and risk.
  • Show how you will integrate these risks and opportunities into your existing QMS.
  • Show improvement by analyzing the effectiveness of this integration.
  • Show that the quality policy and objectives are aligned. If not, a review will be necessary.
  • The planning of change shall consider what, who, when and why the change was necessary.

Document the effects of Covid-19

Has Covid-19 necessitated your organization to furlough staff, diversify a product/service, shut down entirely for some time, or reduced operational service? Has it caused a significant change in how you receive and dispatch? If your answer is yes, then a change has occurred in your QMS.

If this change hasn’t been integrated and implemented, that means your QMS currently no longer functions as documented- a nonconformity.

How does an organization show planning for change?

Internal audits- Documenting where your business is currently at while analyzing the areas that require a change can be accomplished by an internal audit. However, you will need to amend your audit plan to reflect these changes to show that planning was implemented.

Analysis- Risk Register, SWOT, Value Chain or any of these processes that you already had in place will need to be updated. Conversations between leaders and stakeholders of the organization should revolve around identified risks, their evaluation and mitigation plans.

Management review-Management review is focused on bringing the business back to the basics of communication, planning, reviewing and process analysis. In the current situation, getting this review forward is a great way to integrate some of the changes that Covid-19 has brought.

Resources and support– policy changes that the organization might have made, like key worker status and delivery time, must be clear, up to date, and communicated. Before your organization starts running again, the safety measures like 1-meter distancing or new work from home processes must all be implemented into your QMS. Consider re-inducting staff and document the process concerning the new policies.

In summary

Charles Darwin aptly put it that “it is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Change is all that we have now.

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