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The ISO 9001:2015 standard is a set of requirements that set the framework for an organization's quality management system. Clause 7 of the standard addresses support. We'll give you a brief and easy-to-understand overview of this clause.
Clause 7 of ISO 9001:2015 is all about support functions. It includes requirements for various resources, competence and training, communication and documentation.
The first part of this clause clarifies the requirement for a company to determine and provide, in a timely manner, resources needed to implement and improve the processes of the quality management system.
Resources include people (human resources) and their competence, as well as training necessary to achieve the required competencies.
Further, the company must identify, provide and maintain the infrastructure needed to achieve the conformity of its products or services. Infrastructure includes buildings, equipment, transportation and communications technology.
The company must identify and manage those human and physical factors of the work environment needed to achieve conformity of its products or services.
Maintenance activities of equipment, machinery as well as the work environment are part of this section.
The company must take special care of all measuring devices and properly calibrate them.
Organizational knowledge is another resource that must be determined, maintained and, importantly, shared so that the company can fully utilize it. Organizational knowledge is a wide-ranging term, which includes best practices.
When addressing the needed competence of its people, the company must not only consider training but also hiring and reassignment of people.
Awareness is another part of clause 7. Management and staff must be aware of the quality policy and relevant objectives, as well as their part in the ISO 9001 quality management system.
Further, the company needs to have established internal and external communications channels.
Last but not least, clause 7 addresses documents and records. Essentially, the company must control its documents to ensure that the right people have the current version of the right document available. Records must be kept for numerous activities.
There are another six clauses in ISO 9001:2015 that contain requirements for a quality management system. For an overview and an explanation of how they all fit together, please see our article on ISO 9001:2015 Requirements.
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