Quality Magazine

Manufacturing Excellence: The Best Management Review

March 30, 2010
A good management review ensures the management system, corrective actions and internal audit processes are working in harmony.



Making the most of a quality management review begins with a meaningful management system. If a quality system is ineffectively developed and deployed, a good management review will steer to improve it. On the other hand, if a good quality system is developed and deployed, a poor management review will spiral the system down to triviality. The management review is the mind of a quality management system.
Current frequency of the management review process ranges from once a year to once a month, or is aligned with the frequency of surveillance audits by the registrar. Corporations are more inclined toward reduced frequency, as most management believes this is rote work, belongs to quality people and quality does not mean business. Of course it is forgotten that quality is business.

When the management review even at the reduced frequency takes place, management team members attend unwillingly and direct the management representative to run the meeting. Mr. Management Representative proudly runs the management review in full compliance with the procedures, covering all items required according to the standards. At the conclusion of the meeting, one or two preventive and a few more corrective actions are identified.

While it may all sound a little exaggerated for a few companies, it is only a few companies that use the management review process effectively.

What is the evidence? If done well, businesses will be doing well and employees will love their ISO 9001 quality management system.

Who owns the management review process? Irrespective of intent in the standards to make it effective, it must be owned by the company leadership, or the boss. It must be the number one priority of the management representative to steer the ownership in the hands of the boss. With the proper ownership, pieces of a best management review will fall in place.

First, the frequency of management review will be aligned with the financial or operations review for making business sense and efficiency. Normally the financials are summarized and reviewed monthly so the recommended frequency of a management review process must be at least once a month. The process is owned by the president or CEO, but facilitated by the management representative. The management representative must make sure the ownership of each process and procedure is clearly documented and practiced effectively.

The objective must be clear that a good management review must lead to high compliance and continually improve operation performance, reduce the cost of poor quality and improve the bottom line. If the quality management system is designed correctly, it may lead to business growth as well.

To accomplish improving performance pay attention to the following in a management review:

Clearly define target performance for key and critical business processes.

Monthly improvement goals must be established for every manager or the process owner.

Review performance measures against goals and identify actions to sustain improvement.

Review effectiveness of corrective actions and internal audits. Corrective actions are effective if the problems go away, firefighting goes down, outgoing quality improves and customer returns are reduced.

Internal audits are effective if processes are simplified or easier to work with and produce higher quality or fewer failures.

Frequency of good internal audits must be approximately once a week to maintain awareness and create quality thinking. Internal auditors not only ensure compliance to procedures, they also identify opportunities for specific process improvement.

If a management review ensures the management system, corrective actions and internal audit processes are working in harmony, the organization will do well. Employees will like their quality management system. Otherwise, the quality management system will remain the dreaded job of the quality professional, will not work well and employee morale will suffer.