You wrote that you believe the number of policies and procedures in a
company is directly proportional to the number of people who have
disparate values [in that organization]. I don't agree.
While your idea may hold true for certain kinds of organizations (I don't
know that), it certainly doesn't hold for some ISO 9000-compliant
companies I'm familiar with.
We have about 700 employees and 1200 "policies and procedures"--the
so-called level 2 and level 3 documents. There are companies of 3,000
employees which have only several hundred documents. What drives the
numbers in these distinct cases with which I am familiar is not the number
of people but the complexity of process.
In fact, there may be a false appearance at play: an organization may
have a department where twenty people must adhere to a set of 3 procedures
and ten work instructions (3 "What we do" documents and 4 "How we do it"
documents). If left to go it alone, these 20 people might complete their
tasks 80 different ways. ISO, in this case, aligns for the sake of
consistency by taking best practices and "standardizing" them until a
better way is found. This is the wheel of continuous improvement.
As you correctly assert, policies and procedures "exist to ensure uniform
and consistent behavior" so as to ensure the consistency of product and/or
services to a customer.
At my company, we have leveraged ISO certification to align the company's
processes and begin a "guerilla deployment" of TQ principles and tools.
That means aligning our behaviors and thinking about serving the
customer--our explicit, thinking, defined and dynamic place in the process
of adding value.
-- Barry Mallis firstname.lastname@example.org Total Quality Resource Manager Internal Auditor Trainer MARKEM Corporation Keene, NH
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