ISO 9001 QMS in SharePoint

In this article we explain how your business can benefit from the ISO 9001 standard. We will discuss how Microsoft SharePoint can implement the quality management system that is required to meet the requirements for the ISO certification. By the end of this article you will understand the benefits of a ISO 9001 QMS in SharePoint.

What is IS0 9001:2015?

ISO 9001:2015 is a standard that sets out the requirements for a quality management system. It helps businesses and organizations to be more efficient and improve customer satisfaction.

What is a Quality Management System (QMS)?

A quality management system is a way of defining how an organization can meet the requirements of its customers and other stakeholders affected by its work.

ISO 9001 is based on the idea of continual improvement.

It doesn’t specify what the objectives relating to “quality” or “meeting customer needs” should be but requires organisations to define these objectives themselves and continually improve their processes to succeed in reaching high quality of delivery.

How Does It Benefit Me?

  • Managment

    It will provide senior management with an efficient management process

  • Responsibility

    Documented evidence of key responsibility across the organisation

  • Tender Process

    Often a mandatory requirement if your business wants to tender for some public sector or enterprise work

  • Reduce Costs

    The QMS will identify then encourage efficient and time saving processes

  • Continuous Improvement

    Periodic review processes ensures your business processes are constantly improving

What is SharePoint?

SharePoint is a web application that integrates with Microsoft Office. Launched in 2001, SharePoint is primarily sold as a document management and storage system, but the product is highly configurable, and provides excellent search and audit functionality making it an ideal platform to build an ISO 9001 QMS in SharePoint.

SharePoint Quality Management System (QMS)

Implementing the requirements of the ISO standard is not an easy task, it can be a long-winded process, but SharePoint can be used as a platform to build the quality management system quickly.

SharePoint can be used to meet multiple requirements for the certification, specifically in satisfying the requirements for Control of Documentation.

ISO standard offers guidance for the requirements that must be met regarding control of documents throughout their life cycle. The stages of this cycle have been outlined below, along with the native SharePoint features that may be used to satisfy the requirements if you build your ISO 9001 QMS in SharePoint.

ISO 9001 QMS Requirements

We will now look at the key requirements for a IS0 9001 and how you can achieve an ISO 9001 QMS in SharePoint.

Documents Must Be Approved Before They Are Published

Out of the box SharePoint offers functionality such as document libraries and workflows to meet the requirement of approving documents.

For Office365 user’s other products such as FLOW are available for automating the creation of approval tasks. FLOW’s can be setup quickly for basic approvals or can be tailored to meet your bespoke requirements such as below:

Documents Must Be Reviewed/Maintained/Re-Approved or Removed After a Set Amount of Time

ISO 9001 QMS in SharePoint offers multiple ways to satisfy this requirement. For businesses with SharePoint Server the best way would be to create an information management policy that can automatically initiate workflows after a specified amount of time after the previous approval. This can then start off the next review approval process.

For organisations with Offic365 we would recommend creating a Microsoft FLOW that would use a schedule timer to check the documents review date on a frequent basis. If the document was passed its review date it can initiate a review process.

Both methods can be tailored based on your unique timeframe of days/weeks/years.

The Latest Version of Documents Must Be Readily Available

ISO 9001 QMS in SharePoint functionality covers this requirement in several ways. The first would be to enable draft working with check in/out functions and to only show Major versions to end users.

This would allow for document owners to work on documentation in a draft state without it appearing to all other users of the system or requiring approval.

Once the document owner is ready to submit the document back to the quality management system they would publish a major version that would trigger the approval workflow.

Once approved the document would become a Major version and appear to all users.

The second option would be to enable document version history on the document library. This would force the library to maintain a specified number of major and minor versions. Certain users can be given access to review previous versions of the documents.

Whereas majority of users would only see the latest major version of the document that has been through the approval process.

The Latest Changes To The Documents Can Be Reviewed

Enabling the document version history is the simplest way to meet this requirement. This will allow you to simply view what amendments have been made to each document.

With a ISO 9001 QMS in SharePoint you can even restore a document back to a previous version if a mistake has been made to the document and this will be tracked as part of the version history.

Govern and Monitor External Documents

Recently majority of SharePoint extranets are being built in SharePoint Online to take full advantage of free external users. This means you only need to pay for the licenses your employees are using and not for external users such as contractors or suppliers.

This means you can give access to external users and they can upload the documentation directly. No longer do you have to move documents from email attachments manually into folders or scan pieces of paper you have received from your supplier.

Stop The Use of Documents That Are NO Longer Required

The features mentioned in the previous sections would address this requirement for example:

  • Using workflows and polices to alert document owners when they must review, update or remove their documents on a regular basis.
  • Only the latest versions of documents are available for all users.

Ensure The Documents Constant Accessibility

The documents must be easy to access and understand. This is achieved by storing the documents within SharePoint in a logical way. The documents can then be tagged with key words to make them even easier for end users to find via search.

The documents can be easily accessed through the web interface or even synced off-line for users with intermittent internet connection.

Additional QMS SharePoint Functionality

SharePoint can be tailored to meet your company’s bespoke requirements; the possibilities are endless. Below is some possible additional functionality that can be bolted onto the basic ISO process:

  • Audit Trial

    Audits that can be exported directly into excel for analysis

  • Escalations

    Additional automated steps can be in place to escalate polices and procedures that have not been reviewed in a timely manner

  • Multi Approvals

    Multiple approval steps can be configured for specific users such as document owners, quality managers, sponsors, legal, Heads of departments and Directors.

Author

 Valto Dougie Wood
T: 01244 747 622
E: Dougie.wood@valto.co.uk
10 Watergate Row
Chester, CH1 2LD

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If your business is interested in creating a ISO certified quality management system or you would just like to maintain your company policies in a structured way, feel free to contact us today.

At Valto, we’re committed to helping our clients get the most out of Office365 & SharePoint. If you’d like a FREE demonstration of any of the Office365 products please Call now on 03335 779 009 or Contact Us.