How to create a quality manual that moves with your business

It is a common mistake that many organisations will rewrite ISO9001 creating a huge volume of a Quality Manual for their business. It is full of ‘we shall’ and ‘we will’, and although it is a weighty document, may actually say very little.

Here’s the good news: providing it is well-written and covers everything it needs to & in the detail it needs to, the Quality Manual doesn’t have to be several hundred pages. In fact, the more concise and easier to read, the more the document will be read.

What is required in the Quality Manual?

1 Scope of the quality management system

The opening statements of the manual explain what your business or organisation does. Again, it doesn’t have to be a long, overly complex paragraph. It could be “providing take away food to the people of Sheffield” or “design and manufacture of aircraft engine parts”.

After this opening statement, you may want to identify any areas that are outside of the scope of the document and therefore, the ISO9001 as it is applied to your business. If you are working with a consultancy, they will help you with this as they will with the creation of this document too.

2 Documented procedures within your quality management system

There are six documented procedures required under ISO9001;

  1. Control of documents
  2. Control of records
  • Internal audit
  1. Control of non-conforming products
  2. Corrective actions
  3. Preventative actions

When it comes to what should be included in your written manual, a useful rule of thumb about whether it should be included or not is this: if you need to have a written procedure to make sure mistakes are not made, then it needs to be part of this written document.

Many businesses already have this written procedure in the shape of a flow chart and when this has enough information attached to it, it can be included in the manual. It makes for a great reference point too!

3 Describe the interaction process

This can be done with a simple flowchart that identifies all the processes in your organisation with arrows showing how they connect. This only needs to be simple although you may in practice, find that it needs a lot more detail to become graphic that is useful for everyone.

Why a concise Quality Manual holds more detail

The answer is simple – the less clutter and fluff there is, the more people are likely to ‘see’ and interact with the important details.

So many quality manuals simply re-hash the ISO9001 standard, an act that doesn’t bring any real value to the process.

You can include some extras such as your mission statement, the vision for the company along with your quality policy and the objectives of the quality management system.

Word it correctly and this manual can clearly show, not just your employees but clients too, how your organisation can be of service to them.

In other words, get it right, and the Quality Manual can be an incredibly valuable document for you, employees and your business as a whole, as well as satisfying criteria under the ISO9001 standard.

How can we help you?

If you are in need of assistance with any aspect of ISO or GDPR compliance, here at Synergos we’d be delighted to help. Whether you have questions about the path to compliance or are looking for advice and support to maintain compliance, call 01484 666160 or Email and we’ll be happy to talk it over with you.


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Jenny Kilburn
Jenny Kilburn
Completed my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in 2012 I was looking to start my own business. With over 10 years improving and streamlining business systems, I grasped an opportunity to assist a local business to improve their quality and communication processes by researching the requirements of a quality management system based upon ISO 9001 and conducted my first internal audit that resulted in 97 improvement recommendations. After a successful outcome, I was recommended again and again with glowing reviews and in February 2014, Synergos Consultancy was born. I now have the role of regularly reviewing and planning the strategic direction of the business to ensure that Synergos continues to develop, whilst at the same time, still actively working closely with some of our clients. In my spare time I love to attend the theatre to watch musicals, dance productions and plays. In 2019, I attended the theatre a whopping 24 times. I follow a plant-based diet which I absolutely love. A keen tick-tock follower, I have picked up a lot of interesting recipes. A firm favourite is Brussel sprouts and sriracha sauce baked in the oven. Delicious!
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