Support activities include communication, documented information, competition, resources and awareness as the basis on which to support an effective business activity.

 

In the high-level structure adopted by ISO 9001: 2015, support activities appear prior to the realization of the product and / or service as a necessary step to take into account to effectively carry out the activity Of the company and offer the customer a product and / or service according to their needs and improve their expectations.

Within this chapter, ISO 9001: 2015 includes concepts such as resources, competencies, awareness, communication and documented information, which will be discussed in a slightly broader way. And for this I will take as reference the publication “ISO 9001: 2015. The axes of the review. ”

Resources as a basis.

Support activities at ISO 9001: 2015
Communication, awareness, documented information, competence and resources stand as the foundation on which to build an effective operational process.
At this point ISO 9001: 2015 is based on a definition of the internal and external review and an identification of the strengths of the company as well as the weak ones in relation to the resources available and which are necessary to establish, Implement, maintain and improve the quality management system.

When thinking about resources we should not stay in the materials or the warehouse, but we must go into elements more difficult to quantify such as competition, people or infrastructure. In addition, it must be assessed which of the resources necessary to carry out the activity are available within the company and which have to be subcontracted to external suppliers.

In this way, concepts such as people or infrastructure acquire new nuances. In the first case, the quantitative perspective becomes clearer in reference to the people necessary for the implementation of the quality management system and the efficient operation of the different processes.

On the other hand, within the infrastructure the scope of the definition is extended not limited to the facilities but also including the transport or the computer equipment, giving them the value that they have when directly affecting the conformity or not of the products and / Or services provided to customers.

In relation to the environment for the operation of the processes, the revision has not only brought about a change in the wording but also seeks to eliminate errors of perspective, facilitating their understanding.

In this way, the standard includes some examples of environmental conditions that can affect directly as aspects:

Physical: temperature, humidity, light, air, etc.
Psychological: stress, exhaustion, bad working environment, etc.
Finally in this section, knowledge is also considered as one of the essential resources. And, as with all of the above, it requires that it be properly managed to ensure its availability, as well as to establish when necessary and who needs it.

That is, at the moment in which we define and plan a process, we determine what knowledge we need to carry out the activity and make sure we have it in the same way as the equipment or documentary support, to give two examples. And not only must we stay in this first step, but logically we must keep the knowledge that the organization has and make it available to anyone who needs it.

The competition and key awareness of the system.

In relation to competition, the company must ensure that the degree, mode and capacity in which people employ their training, skills, education and experience favors the quality management system in terms of its effectiveness and capacity for improvement.

On the other hand, when referring to the awareness, we must not forget that this concept applies to all people working in the company, whether contracted personnel, ie internal, or those who are subcontracted as the latter also affect The product or service that is provided to the customer, the effectiveness of the quality management system and the achievement of the goals and objectives set.

Support activities in ISO 9001: 2015

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