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Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Quality Manual

I am often asked about quality manuals and what they should contain. The ISO9001 Standard states that the quality manual should have as a minimum:
  • The scope of the quality management system, including details of and justification for any exclusions;

  • The documented procedures established for the quality management system, or reference to them:

    • Document control;
    • Control of records;
    • Internal Audit;
    • Control of non-conforming product;
    • Corrective Action;
    • Preventive Action.

  • A description of the interaction between processes of the quality management system.

This meets the requirements of ISO 9001 but would have little benefit to the company. It would get the badge on the wall but little else.

I was once asked to produce a quality manual on a single sheet, and I did so, although it was A3 on two sides. The company took my advice and produced a number of work processes to back this up.

The largest quality manual I ever saw was in seventeen lever arch files and was so comprehensive that it even included instruction on how to make tea. It was never used as a serious document and was almost impossible to keep up to date. It was also so specific that it set the user up to fail if he used his left hand rather than his right.

Fortunately we no longer produce documentation by weight.

A modern manual contains the mandatory scope, six procedures, a description of the interaction of the processes, a number of work processes and an index of current forms. This along with records would not only meet the requirements of 9001 but would also be a valuable tool for the company.

My view is that the manual should be as comprehensive as needed but not overly complicated. It should be suitable for the company and not imposed by a consultant. It should be designed to be used and not just stored for use during assessment. And finally it should work for the company and not make the company work for it.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Protect your Computer Systems

Apparently there is a new and disastrous Trojan waiting to damage our systems. This one is called ZEUS and it waits patiently on our systems for us to enter bank details and then exports these to a collection website for use by the crooks.

It is further worrying that some antivirus programmes have failed to detect this Trojan.
A survey suggests that some:

  • 30% of those systems infected did not run any type of antivirus system at all;
  • 14% had antivirus but it was out of date;
  • And the remaining 56% did have up to date antivirus but it failed to detect the virus.

One way to defeat this type of Trojan is to rotate passwords regularly and also to run an additional antivirus check periodically. Monitor your bank accounts and watch for any unusual activity. Report any unusual occurrences straight away. The Banks will refund any transaction where you have taken all reasonable precautions but have still been defrauded.

Now that the recession has reached the bottom, crooks are trying a number of new ways to get their hands on our hard earned money. Don’t let them get away with it for lack of care on our part. Put aside some time each week to carry out a review of both security and how we all conduct our transactions and vary the time and method to ensure routine is not detected.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Health and Safety - Gliding

Readers of this blog will know that I took up gliding in May this year and I have notched up over 40 flights on my way to being allowed to fly solo.

It is fair to say that I may have been a bit optimistic in thinking that I would have mastered all the skills by the end of the summer, but I have improved greatly (according to my instructor).

One particular high point occurred last Friday when I made a perfect landing. On returning to the launch point two of my fellow pilots said "that was a really good landing", praise indeed. I was keen to do it again to prove that it wasn't a fluke and my next landing, although not as good, was acceptable.

I freely admit that landing has been the most difficult of all the tasks and one that I have had to work really hard, and continue to do so to get right. I am still hoping to go solo but before the year end.

Flying a glider is a bit like carrying out a risk assessment:

  • Is the wind in the right direction and is it gusting?
  • Do I feel fit to fly?
  • Has the glider been inspected before flight?
  • Have I carried out the proper pre-flight checks?
  • Are there any hazards?
  • Have I been briefed by my instructor for the flight?

If any of these are negative then I will not fly. My usual instructor is also the Safety Officer for the Club and he has taught me to be very safety aware.

If I kill myself while flying, it is highly likely that he will be killed as well, as he is sitting behind me. (Something he tells me he is keen to avoid). Even an accident means lots of paperwork and the psychological impact both of us could be severe.

I remember that in my Royal Air Force days one fighter squadron had a chipmunk trainer for fun. Some pilots used to think of it as a toy plane. In the cockpit there was a sign that said "All aeroplanes bite fools. There are old pilots and bold pilots but very, very few old bold pilots".

I will remember that.

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