Since ISO 9001's inception, resource management requirements have been limited. In the 1994 version, their only reference
appeared in a paragraph related to management responsibility that required the identification and provision of resources for training and verification activities. Even though ISO 9001:2000 has devoted an entire section
to resource management, the requirements haven't expanded significantly. However, they do include some gray areas that may prove challenging for organizations and their internal and external auditors.
What has changed?
For a quick guide to locating resource management elements from the 1994 version in the ISO 9001:2000 draft international
standard (DIS), see Figure 1.
The following is a summary of resource management requirements that were present in ISO 9001:1994 but have been clarified and more explicitly stated in
the DIS. These requirements are taken from sections 4-8 in ISO 9001:2000.
Organizations must ensure that personnel with defined responsibilities in the
quality management system are competent, defined by appropriate levels of education, training, skills and experience.
Training must meet the competency levels required of personnel performing activities that affect quality.
The following resource management requirements, found in sections 4-8 of ISO 9001:2000, are new:
Organizations must determine and provide, in a timely manner, the resources necessary to implement and improve the quality management system processes and to address customer satisfaction.
Organizations must identify, provide and maintain facilities necessary to
achieve conformity of their products.
Organizations must identify and manage human and physical factors in relation to the work environment.
The requirement for organizations to keep training records has been expanded to include records of education, experience, training and qualifications.
Employees must understand the relevance and importance of what they do
and how they contribute to the achievement of the quality objectives.
Organizations must evaluate the effectiveness of the training they provide.
In both ISO 9001:1994 and ISO 9001:2000, organizations are required to
determine training needs, provide training to meet the needs, maintain training records, qualify their personnel and allocate adequate resources to the quality management system.
The following items from ISO 9001:1994 have been omitted in the revision:
A documented procedure for training is no longer specified.
Specific language regarding types of resources (e.g., trained personnel for management; work performance; and verification activities, including audits) has been removed.
What challenges will organizations face?
A common complaint within many organizations is a lack of resources. This
complaint usually relates to not having adequate time and staff to complete tasks. Some organizations take great care in laying out resource plans. However, while many plans are related to the number of people needed (a
factor driven by financial constraints), the additional allocation of resources for extra projects, computer systems or equipment changes is often neglected.
When the bottom line tightens, training is usually the first resource to go. Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword, because people still need training
when taking on new responsibilities or implementing new systems.
Under ISO 9001:2000's section 6.2.2, Training, awareness and competency,
two new concepts emerge. First, organizations must ensure that employees are aware of how their activities contribute to achieving organizational goals.
Second, personnel must be "competent" rather than just "trained." Some argue that these are interchangeable, but others would say that competence implies something beyond
training--namely, competent people can demonstrate, through their actions, that they have been trained successfully.
"The most important question the organization needs to ask is, what does the
person need to be doing in order to demonstrate competency?" explains Linda Kemp of Kemp Strategies, a training design and performance improvement
company based in Minneapolis. "Competency must be identified up front. If this is done properly, and the company can develop a definition of competency
for the various positions in the organization, they can use this information for hiring, determining employee's needs, advancement opportunities and training.
All of these pieces need to be linked together for an organization to be successful with its people. It should be noted that training is only one part of a bigger piece of the entire system."
To help organizations understand competency requirements, the International Organization for Standardization will issue ISO 10015 Guidelines for Training
, a document designed to assist organizations in moving their current trained work force to a competent work force. This guideline will provide the
concepts for achieving this objective. Also, keep in mind that personnel competency is one of the main criteria when management is determining the amount of documentation the organization should consider.
Training employees is a challenge for many organizations, and training programs may range from basic new employee on-the-job programs to sophisticated Web-based training and testing. Today, organizations meeting
ISO 9000 requirements are already burdened with identifying, providing and recording their training and may feel additional pressure when faced with the
new requirement to identify competency needs and demonstrate training effectiveness. Inadequate training often becomes the scapegoat when addressing problems and shows up in the root cause section of corrective
actions, springing from both internal and external audits. Organizations will be wise to investigate this area to determine if training problems are identified. If
they are, it could mean one of two things: root cause investigation didn't identify the problem or the training is ineffective. For auditors, corrective
actions may be a source of information to determine training effectiveness. Also, by tying corrective action trends back to management review, it may
become apparent that resources haven't been adequately applied with regard to improvement activities.
"Evaluating training effectiveness is not difficult if companies are committed
and have measures in place," says Kemp. "This means that they must identify or define the objectives of their training upfront before training is done.
Effectiveness cannot be evaluated at the end of a session simply by asking participants if they liked the training. The most expensive solution to a problem
is training. Eighty percent of the time, training won't fix the issue--the biggest problem organizations have [with training] is not doing a thorough analysis to
determine whether training is the answer. People should only be trained if they don't know how to do something. If they already have the skills, training will not solve the problem."
Quoting a famous training expert, Kemp adds: "If you held a gun to someone's head and told them to do a certain task, could they do it? If the answer is yes, then training isn't needed."
Another challenge that organizations may encounter is determining and providing resources to specifically address customer satisfaction. Many
organizations don't clearly understand their customers' needs, nor do they have adequate mechanisms to determine resources that measure customer
satisfaction effectively. Furthermore, the results of some customer satisfaction measurements may not provide organizations with the information necessary to
make improvements. Two new additions to the ISO 9001:2000 revision are the identification of customer requirements and the measuring and monitoring
of customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction. This means that organizations must determine what resources they'll require to do both effectively.
Finally, the new requirements related to an organization's facilities and work environment may also present some challenges. Many organizations could
experience difficulty in figuring out how to integrate these requirements within their quality management system. Fortunately, ISO 9004:2000 provides some guidance by describing the requirements in further detail.
When addressing the new requirements, it will be important for organizations to clearly define their system for training, how personnel competency is
determined, how training effectiveness is determined, and the criteria for managing their facilities and work environment.
"When auditing a company's resource management process, it will be
important for the organization to explain its approach, and the auditor should evaluate the company's process toward these resource topics," says Kevin
Beard, operations director at National Quality Assurance, USA. "If the system doesn't require specific presentable evidence supporting the areas of section 6,
Resource management, the onus is on the auditor to show the system does not work. The most likely areas an auditor would evaluate are performance
metrics, defect trending, audits, test results, and so on to try to ferret out problems. The next step is to investigate if the cause of any of these problems could be attributed to resource management topics."
How will the revisions affect different industries?
The revisions should not affect industries differently. Because of the standard's flexibility, it will be left up to each organization to determine how in-depth it will
go with the requirements. It's to be expected that some industries, because of certain regulatory requirements, will have a more sophisticated approach for
managing their facilities and implementing safety programs, ergonomics and so on. It will be important that organizations sufficiently define how they are meeting the requirements in this section.
Key points about resource management
6.1 Provision of resources
Organizations must provide needed resources that will address customer satisfaction and implement and improve their quality management systems. It
will be up to the organization to determine whether additional resources will be necessary to achieve this requirement. This requirement is tied to management
review in section 5, Management responsibility, which now specifically states that the outputs from the review must include actions relating to resource needs.
6.2.2 Training, awareness and competency
In addition to addressing training needs and qualifications of personnel, organizations must now describe how they will determine the effectiveness of
their training and the competency of their people. A gray area of this section is the difference between competence and qualification. Although "competence"
and "qualification" are synonymous, many would agree that individuals can be qualified but may not necessarily be competent to carry out the job.
Consequently, organizations should consider defining what competency means to them and how they would demonstrate this within their quality management
system. Organizations must also ensure that their employees are aware of the importance of their activities and how they, as individuals, contribute to
achieving the quality objectives. Also, ISO 9001:2000 now specifies what types of training records must be kept.
This section's requirements are considered to be a gray area within the ISO 9001:2000 standard. The organization is responsible for identifying, providing
and maintaining the facilities it needs to make good product. This section includes three areas:
Workspace and associated facilities--this implies the employees' work area and the building itself
Equipment, hardware and software--basically from 4.9 Process control (1994 version)
Supporting services--this may imply the maintenance services to maintain the facilities
The ISO 9004:2000 guideline should be reviewed for more insight into defining the facility requirements.
6.4 Work environment
This section indicates that organizations are responsible for identifying and managing "the human and physical factors of the work environment" needed to
make good product. These factors influence motivation, satisfaction and performance of people. Human factors may include opportunities for involvement, ergonomics and safety rules. Physical factors may include heat,
noise, light, airflow and cleanliness. ISO 9004:2000 provides a further description of these human and physical factors which can lend some assistance for addressing this section.
In a nutshell
Providing resources is still a requirement in the revision. However,
organizations must now provide resources to implement and improve processes within the quality system and provide resources to address customer satisfaction. These resources must be provided in a timely manner, which
means that organizations shouldn't be able to claim that certain aspects of the quality management system weren't implemented due to lack of people, time or equipment. The Resource Management
requirements are broken down into four categories: provision of resources, human resources, facilities and work environment.
Organizations will have a great deal of latitude in defining their resource management systems. However, they must understand and clearly describe the
details of their system to be successful in addressing these requirements. The flexibility in the standard may be good news and bad news for both the user and the auditor.
"Numerous items within the standard are written with a great deal of vagueness," explains Beard. "This leaves a lot of room for various
interpretations. The worst thing an auditor can do is let opinions or subjectivity into the audit. Therefore, the auditor has an obligation first to understand the
company's interpretation and approach to these vague areas and then exercise some flexibility when viewing the process. When working to a standard with a
more philosophical twist, the auditors must adjust their approach to ensure that objectivity is maintained."
With a rapidly changing business environment, organizations must continually
determine the employee training needed to confidently provide their customers with quality products and services that meet or exceed expectations. Since
customers continue to want and expect more, organizations must periodically analyze the training and competency needs of the organization.
Once this happens, an organization can compare the identified needs against the current performance and document the gaps. In order to close the training
and competency gaps, the first thing organizations should do is to define the competency needs. Once these are clear, organizations can design, plan and
provide the training. After the training has been conducted, organizations should have a mechanism in place to evaluate the outcome of the training to determine effectiveness.
The resource management section has been through numerous modifications since the working draft stage. It will be interesting to see if more modification
or clarifications are made to a somewhat broad set of requirements during the DIS stage. Regardless of future changes, this section is sure to create lively discussion among all users.
About the authors
Jeanne Ketola, CEO of Pathway Consulting Inc. in Minneapolis,
Minnesota, has more than 20 years of business experience in a diverse range of industries. She is an ASQ Certified Quality Auditor, an RAB Quality Systems Auditor and a trained management coach. Ketola is an
active participant of the U.S. TAG to TC 176, which is responsible for reviewing and writing the ISO 9000 revisions, establishing all U.S. positions and voting on the final draft standard prior to publication. She
has participated at a national level in writing the auditing guidelines for ISO 9000-Q10011 and is secretary of the ANSI Z1 executive committee,
which is responsible for all actions relating to national quality standards. E-mail her at email@example.com .
Kathy Roberts, President of Sunrise Consulting Inc. in Raleigh, North Carolina, has held various quality engineering and quality management positions in a variety of industries during the past 10 years. She is an
ASQ Certified Quality Auditor and a trained examiner for the North Carolina Performance Excellence Process. Roberts is an active member of the U.S. TAG to TC 176 and vice chair of the ANSI Z1 executive
committee. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Ketola and Roberts are authors of the new book ISO 9001:2000 In a
Nutshell: A Concise Guide to the Revisions, published by Paton Press. For more information about their book, visit www.paton press.com, e-mail email@example.com
or call (530) 342-5480.