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Maintaining an effective quality management system is crucial to a company’s success. It is based on relevant objectives, effective processes, and, more generally, the system’s compatibility with the company’s strategic direction. The management review is at the heart of this system.

How can the management review be optimally implemented? Which indicators should we focus on? Let’s take a closer look.

The Importance of Management Review for Quality Managers

The management review is a crucial stage of the year for quality managers. Its main objective is to take stock of quality initiatives and assess the quality management system’s (QMS) effectiveness. This is a demanding and sometimes stressful task, requiring the gathering and integration of large amounts of information.

Management Review: Goals

Management reviews are required by several ISO standards, in particular ISO 9001, which regulates management assessment in chapter 9.3. Management must carry out periodic reviews of the quality management system to ensure that it is adequate, compatible, effective, and aligned with the company’s strategy. Although ISO 9001 does not specify a precise frequency for these reviews, it is advisable to hold them at least once a year.

How to organize a Management Review?

Before the Management Review

Define the framework: It is crucial to determine who will take part in the meeting and how long it will last.

Duration: Generally, this varies from 1.5 to 2 hours, but can extend to half a day in some cases.

Participants: • Moderator (Quality Manager)

                          • Process pilots

                          • Management Committee

Preparation of the agenda: Before considering an agenda, it is important to carry out careful and structured preparation. This standard requires a certain amount of input to be taken into account.

  • Progress of various actions (risk and opportunity management actions, corrective actions due to non-conformities, actions based on the last management review).

  • Changes in context (external and internal problems).

  • Execution of various processes.

  • Further development of the QMS/MIS objectives.

  • Monitoring results and performance indicators.

  • Résultats d’audit (internes et externes).

  • Customer satisfaction and stakeholder feedback.

  • Relevance of resources.

  • External service provider performance.

  • Areas of improvement.

Note, however, that this is not just a list of these elements, but a summary that adds value.

Upstream data collection and analysis: Performing a preliminary assessment at the level of each process facilitates this analytical task through process reviews. The pilots are best placed to objectively collect and analyze this disparate data and create a process-specific overview.

Being able to control the daily feedback of information guarantees the quality of the data collected. For example, use digital forms (reporting offenses, incidents, dangerous conditions, etc.) to receive feedback directly on the spot as much as possible.

Quality managers can play a key role in supporting the pilots in this preparatory work. The aim is to make the data more readable and enable faster evaluation and decision-making.

Summarising and illustrating data: Avoid using overly complicated numerical tables or jargon that you don’t understand. Summary tables or visual graphics are recommended for summaries prepared for management reviews.

This summary should be presented to management before the meeting so that they know all the keys to conducting an effective and appropriate management review. In particular, you will be able to identify and prioritize new objectives, measures, and areas for improvement.

During the Management Review

During validation, all the input data prepared must be inspected. The pilot’s preparatory work will enable the management review agenda to be organized, which should include the input data required by the standard. The analysis during the management review should lead to the identification of the exact output data required by the standard. This data must include decisions and actions concerning opportunities for improvement, resource requirements, and potential changes to the quality management system.

In practice, each process presents an analysis of different inputs, adds value, and prioritizes the most relevant topics for the quality management system. This presentation ensures that all the elements required by the standard have been examined while helping to identify the actions and decisions that need to be taken in light of the expected output data.

Please note that management reviews must be carried out within a limited timeframe and must be effective. Be concise and include all participants. Its purpose is to facilitate decision-making and ensure the adequacy of the QMS. It is important to promote successes, explain failures, and suggest ideas for improvement.

To increase the effectiveness of management reviews, it can be useful to use decision-support tools, such as digital statistical tools that allow you to sort all the data required for decision-making according to your needs. Digital action plans are also an essential tool for continuous improvement since those responsible for actions are automatically notified and the implementation of corrective actions can be monitored in real-time.

Management Review Report

This is a report containing the information exchanged during the review, the decisions taken, and the actions to be taken. This summary is generally produced voluntarily by the quality manager. In particular, he or she may also be responsible for obtaining additional information from the pilots before the report is checked by management. Employees can receive this report to increase their integration and commitment to the QMS.

The key to a successful management review lies in careful and organized initial preparation. Setting up a central or digital information management system will greatly facilitate the preparation and conduct of management reviews. This type of meeting is an ideal place to share the objectives to be achieved and the challenges to be met. It is an important element in the continuous improvement of the system.