What is the purpose of your ISO manual?

27 Apr, 2020

Historically, it was a requirement of the ISO standards to have a ‘manual’ to document the contents of your management system. However, this requirement was removed as part of the most recent revisions and updates. Instead, the standard now refers to you having an ‘Overview Document’, which is similar but less strict in its requirements. Never the less, the Overview Document very much has a place in your Management System.

What is an Overview Document?

You may still choose to call this document a manual, or you may adopt the new ‘Overview Document’ term. You can even pick another name like ‘handbook’ or ‘guidelines’; we simply suggest using something which will mean the most to your business and your employees. Whatever you choose to call it, this document provides a wealth of information.

We will create a first draft of this document when you are first certificated with us. During your initial assessment, the assessor will collate the information required about your business. Your account manager will then put the Overview Document together and send to you ready for your Presentation.

You Overview Document should then become a really useful training tool for whoever is responsible for looking after your ISO Certification as well as your employees. This is because it contains everything your organisation needs to know about your management system and how you are compliant to your chosen standard. It should also include your goals, expectations, policies and requirements to maintain compliance to your chosen standard.

We know in some cases, the Overview Document is often created and then never looked at again. However, we cannot stress enough the range of benefits to you, your employees, auditors and customers.

What can it be used for?

If constructed as a concise signpost document which is kept up to date it:

  • Will describe what your organisation does to comply with the clauses of each standard. This is extremely useful for tendering and PPQs but also serves as a reference back to the standard and what is required if you are looking to develop an area of your management system.
  • Can be used for training new starters and a refresher for existing employees by giving them an understanding of your management system
  • Help you locate relevant forms and documents through hyperlinking
  • Can be issued to customers to give them an overview of your management system
  • Will save time for both you and new assessors on our auditor rotation as they can familiarise themselves with your management system prior to their visit.

What can be included?

Whilst there are no strict guidelines on what needs to be included, we suggest the following as a minimum:

  • Scope of your Management System
  • Policies
  • Organisational Chart
  • Sales Process Flow Chart (from original enquiry to invoicing)
  • Details of your Interested Parties
  • What your Risks and Opportunities are
  • Document control process
  • Audit Process
  • How you deal with Non-Conformances and Opportunities for Improvement

Need help getting your Overview Document up to date?

In order to fully benefit from this document, it is vital you regularly review it to ensure it remains relevant and up to date.

If you require support in getting your Overview Document up to date or have any questions, please contact your account manager who will be more than happy to help.

ISO Quality Services Ltd are proud to specialise in the implementation and certification of the Internationally recognised ISO and BS EN Management Standards.

Do you want to get ahead of your competition? Win more tenders or save time and money on reoccurring issues? Contact us today on 0330 058 5551 or email info@isoqsltd.com.

Alternatively, you can request a quote by filling out our enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.