ISO 9001 Clause 9.3 Management Review

Management review is a regular evaluation exercise where the performance of the quality management system is reviewed to check if the systems are producing the desired results. This process requires the top management to periodically review various elements of the Quality Management System and ensure its suitability, adequacy and effectiveness. That means the top Management shall review that the Quality Management System to check if it still fits its purpose (suitable), is still sufficient (adequate) and is still able to achieve its intended purpose (effective).

While assessing the suitability and adequacy of the Quality Management System this clause requires management additionally consider any changes to the context of the organization and also alignment between the QMS and the strategic direction of the organization. The intent is not only to review the performance of the Quality Management System but to also evaluate the need for any changes in the quality policy, objectives and other elements of the Quality Management System. Management review is an important process that helps in identifying continuous improvement initiatives which are at the core of the ISO 9001 standard.


Why is it important?

Management review is an additional performance evaluation check apart from internal audits and monitoring and analysis which helps in ensuring the effectiveness of the quality management system.

Management oversight is important for any management system or a continuous improvement initiative to succeed. It is, therefore, crucial that management remains committed to holding these meetings on a regular basis to keep themselves abreast with the performance of the management system. Management reviewing the management system at regular intervals helps in understanding changes in the context which is important to ensure that the Quality Management System always remains in sync with changing business scenarios. A key output of the management review meetings is the identification of process improvements which in turn helps in improving quality and customer satisfaction which are key to the success of any company and business growth.


Frequency of Management Reviews

Management review should be conducted at planned intervals; this could be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually. The frequency should be decided by the Management based on the size and nature of the organization.

It is a common misconception among companies implementing ISO 9001 requirements that management review is a separate exercise that should be done by the top management at a fixed frequency. While this approach is fine but there can be various ways of making the management review more effective, less time consuming and fused with existing processes in place. The goal should be to meet all the requirements of ISO 9001. Top management can look at different aspects of the management system and decide which of the elements can be discussed or is already being discussed in existing ongoing meetings. For example, if top management has a meeting already in place where they review the customer satisfaction survey results; this is one element of the management system that should be reviewed. So, Instead of having this agenda again in the management review, the management team shall continue the existing practice and ensure that the records of the meeting are being maintained.

In a larger organization, where multiple layers of management are there, a more suitable approach would be to have management meetings at different levels to capture data which then can serve as an input to the strategic planning meetings of the Executive Team.

To conclude, an organization may conduct management reviews as a standalone activity or in a combination of related activities (e.g. meetings, reports, etc.) and the frequency at which it needs to be conducted should be based on the business environment, size of the organization and complexity of the work being done.


Preparing Management Review Inputs

ISO 9001 requires that the top management review various elements of the quality management system which include:

  • status of actions from previous management reviews
  • changes in external and internal issues relevant to QMS
  • adequacy of resources
  • opportunities for improvement
  • effectiveness of actions taken to address risks and opportunities as explained in clause 6.1.
  • information on quality performance and effectiveness including trends in:
    • non-conformities and corrective actions
    • customer satisfaction and feedback from relevant interested parties
    • monitoring and measurement results
    • audit results
    • the extent to which quality objectives have been met
    • process performance
    • conformity of product and services
    • the performance of external providers

Data related to all these elements should be gathered as inputs for the management review. Preparation for the meeting may require you to gather data on various quality parameters, risks and opportunities and their status, changes to the context of the organization, non-conformities and their status, customer satisfaction results, audit results, trend analysis, supplier performance, resource requirements, opportunities for improvement, etc. The inputs should be used to determine trends in order to make decisions and take actions related to the quality management system.

An organization can include additional items in management review (such as new product outline, financial outcomes, new business opportunities, issues or opportunities from the business market, etc.) to determine if the organization is achieving its intended results and would be able to do so in future.


Who should attend Management Review?

Top Management or the Executive Team of an organization is required to attend the Management Review. The Management could decide based on the inputs of the management review on other members who could be required to attend the management review. In a larger organization, with multiple layers of management, decisions should be taken on the basis of the relevant stakeholders that are required for the topics being discussed.


Outputs of the management review

Sub-clause 9.3.2 of ISO 9001 specifies certain requirements for the outputs from management reviews.

These must include decisions as to whether there is a need to change any aspect of the QMS including, but not limited to, resources required to support the operation of the QMS, as well as any decisions relating to continual improvement opportunities. The organization must retain documented information to provide evidence of the results of management reviews. Management review records must include minutes of meetings, decisions taken, responsibilities for corrective or improvement actions and related timelines and follow-up actions from previous management reviews. Examples of documented information include presentations, meeting minutes and reports.

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