Quality Manual vs Quality Plan
Knowing the difference between quality manual and quality plan is essential if you are entrusted with the duty to introduce a Quality Management System for your department or for your organization. That is because in the rapid changing business world, maintaining quality is an essential requirement to gain sustainable competitive advantage in the industry. Quality manual and quality plan are two set of documents used in managing quality in organizations. Quality manual is useful in implementing quality management system within the organization and quality plan is a document that specifies the quality standards and specifications related to a particular project. This article analyzes the differences between quality manual and quality plan.
What is a Quality Manual?
The quality manual is a set of documents that is used to define an organization’s Quality Management System (QMS). These documents include,
• Quality Policy Statement – It indicates the level of the organization’s commitment towards maintaining quality.
• Quality Policies – It indicates information about the plans of the organization and includes high level documentation about the things that the organization is going to do.
• Standard Operating Procedures – It includes details regarding the responsible parties who carryout various activities and the allocated time duration.
• Work Instructions – These include specific procedures that explain different activities that need to be carried out.
All these above explained documents are included in the Quality Management System. Most organizations have created their quality management system based on the ISO 9001:2008 standard.
What is a Quality Plan?
A quality plan is a collection of documents that is used to specify quality standards, practices, resources, specifications, and the sequence of activities related to a particular product, service, project. Quality plans may include,
• Organizational Objectives.
• Steps involved in the organizational processes.
• Allocation of resources, responsibilities and authority during various stages of the process or project.
• Specific documented standards, procedures, practices and instructions.
• Suitable testing, inspection, examination, and audit programs at different stages.
• Documented procedures for changes and modifications to a quality plan.
• A method for measuring the achievement of the quality objectives.
• Other actions that are required to fulfill the objectives.
In order to be more competitive in the industry, it would be beneficial to maintain quality standards throughout the organizational process.
Benefits of a Quality Plan
Quality plan preparation has multiple benefits such as,
• Assuring conformity to customer requirements.
• Assuring conformity to external and internal standards and procedures.
• Facilitating traceability.
• Providing objective evidences.
• Evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of the quality management system.
What is the difference between Quality Manual and Quality Plan?
• A quality plan can be specific to a particular product or service, and includes details about the ways in which the customer requirements are met.
• Quality manual is a set of documents that define the Quality Management System of an organization. It is useful in implementing a quality management system within the organization.
• Quality manual includes quality policy statements, various other quality policies, standard operating procedures and work instructions.
• Meanwhile, the quality plan may consists of organizational objectives, organizational processes, resource allocations, responsibilities and authority during various stages of the process or projects and specific documented standards, procedures, practices and instructions.