A quality manual is a document that defines the quality management system of an organisation and demonstrates how the quality management system should function. Quality manuals may vary in format and detail, in order to fit the scope and complexity of your organisation.
A key use of quality manuals is that your management can easily communicate to the rest of the organisation what their expectations are for quality. Therefore, your manual should be written in relatively simple terms. It should outline:
All organisations should have a quality manual. Your quality manual is important.
It will describe how your quality management system should function and how it is maintained.
It provides a permanent point of reference that describes the profile of your quality management system.
Documenting the elements of your quality management system system allows you to examine and analyse your current procedures in order to identify any inefficiencies. This will reduce the chance of your quality management system from growing in an unplanned way.
Having a quality manual will also mean that your important business information is not confined to the inside of people’s heads. If your organisation is relying on an employee to remember the quality management systems and this employee may leave, taking the information with them, will leaves the rest of the organisation at risk.
A quality manual will help reduce communication problems. It gives your new employees an initial sense of your organisation's intentions and its clear vision.
Having the quality manual in place will save a lot of time when it comes to auditing as this is a set piece of documentation that can be shown to the auditors – which they love!