Determining Quality Management Documentation Metrics
As the concrete outline of your processes, procedures and other aspects of your quality management system documentation needs to be consistent not just in relation to the company, but also in regards to common criteria that is used on an industry or global scale. The following metrics will provide a guideline on how to evaluate your documents to ensure effectiveness.
1. Best practice industry criteria
All documentation should be consistent in style and format to allow for better usability. During the review and audit stage, this consistency is measured against common criteria that can easily be met with the help of document control. Documents should be recorded with author, reviewer, release date and version number, along with the title, document number, compliance criteria and event dates of creation, review and approval.
2. Procedure description overview
Also known as procedure metadata, this description provides a clear overview of the document contents, which could include the purpose, range, definitions, responsibilities and references. This data can also be used in a document template for easier access when creating new procedures. Unlike the actual procedure itself that focuses on actions, this overview simply acts as a summary of the document.
3. Document review criteria
Documents need to be error-free, and well-written to outline clear actions and tasks required in each procedure or policy. Common review criteria would include:
- Framework – current actions to be achieved
- Uniformity – wording and terms are used consistently
- Comprehensiveness – information concise to avoid misunderstanding
- Control – clear targets, criteria or measurements are outlined
- Compliance – conformance criteria are outlined
- Accuracy – there are no grammar or spelling mistakes
- Precision – documents are easy to read and understand
4. Document circulation
How documents are distributed is another review factor that is important to consider. Employees should be able to access documentation easily, and management should have a method in place to ensure that documents have been read. Internal audits and assessments are the simplest way to make sure that procedures have been read, understood and followed across the organisation. Measurements and targets for employees to follow procedures can also be done periodically, with collected data reviewed to ensure that targets are being met.
5. Document metrics
Each of the criteria above can be used to measure document effectiveness, providing clear metrics that assist in constantly improving documentation. The review process is essential to offer a way to identify areas of improvement, which in turn allows for an efficient system that can be used for every procedure, policy or other document that is created. As part of your quality management system, these criteria will prove invaluable in helping you confirm to best practices for all documentation.