In a new departure, clause 7.1.5 in the 2015 revision of ISO 9001, the world's leading quality management standard, addresses the importance of Knowledge in supporting quality.
The clause reads as follows
7.1.5 Knowledge The organization shall determine the knowledge necessary for the operation of the quality management system and its processes and to assure conformity of goods and services and customer satisfaction. This knowledge shall be maintained, protected and made available as necessary. Where addressing changing needs and trends the organization shall take into account its current knowledge base and determine how to acquire or access the necessary additional knowledge.This clause would suggest that, to meet the new version of the standard, an organisation should have
- A definition of the critical organisational knowledge (knowledge about operation, process, goods and services)
- A system for maintaining, protecting and accessing that knowledge
- A system for acquiring or accessing (and potentially for creating) any new knowledge, as things change
There no doubt will be many different ways in which organisations meet these requirements, and there will of course be the perennial argument "does this apply to tacit knowledge, or just to documents".
However we would suggest that this requirement is met as follows
- As part of a Knowledge Management Strategy, you define your critical knowledge needs
- You create a Knowledge Management Framework for your organisation, that ensures knowledge is created, discussed, captured, synthesised, and re-used. This framework contains the four critical enablers; Roles, Processes, Technologies, Governance. The contents, scale and complexity of this framework will vary enormously - from very simple (in the case of a small company) to sophisticated and complex for major multinationals.
- You run a scan or audit of your critical knowledge topics, to ensure each of these is in an acceptably managed state
Contact Knoco for support in preparing for this new requirement.