Having defined an appropriate policy is essential for the correct operation of the organizations. Furthermore, it is a required document to implement some standards such as ISO9001 and ISO14001. That is why, in this article we will explain all you need to know, understand and create a company policy.

· Definition of business policy

The policy of an organization is a statement of general principles that the company (or organization) agrees to follow. It marks a number of basic rules and guidelines about the behaviour expected of its employees and sets the basis about how to perform the business activities.

A good policy should not occupy more than one or two pages and should not include details. It should be a simply list that defines the philosophy of the company, such as for example a commitment to comply with the law, the desire to create a good working environment, the implementation of continuous improvement systems, the need to manage the activities and processes to obey the procedures, the expectation of minimizing the environmental impact through a good management of the resources, etc.

After creating the policy, it should be documented and included in the Quality Manual or Integrated Management Guide of the company. In addition, the policy should be distributed and known by all the employees, it must be implemented and it have to serve as a starting point when drafting the other company documents. For example, if in the politics talk about “compliance”, the rest of the procedures should emphasize in this.

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 · Types of Policies

There are several types of policies in terms of scope:

General Policies: These are policies that reach throughout the organization and mark their outlines. They should be known by everyone and provide a guide about how to behave. A good policy should be in line with the strategy set by the company and serve as a reference for the development of departmental policies and the objectives.

Departmental Policies: These are the principles to be followed in each department or service. The most common are the Quality Policy which sets out the principles and objectives to achieve a good quality level, the Environmental policy where we talk about being responsible and minimize the environmental impact, and the Politics of Occupational Health and Safety  which speaks about getting a good working conditions and minimize the risk of accidents.

Specific Policies: The latter type of policies are rules set for activities and projects tailored to them.

There are several rules that require to have a policy that includes some aspects. Among them are the followings:

ISO 9001: Requirements for quality management system

The ISO 9001 require to include a policy in the Quality Management Manual of the organization that includes the following:

– Commitment to comply with legal requirements and commitments set by the organization.

– Continuous improvement of the effectiveness of the Quality Management System.

It is also said that this policy should be appropriate to the purpose of the organization and serve as a framework for establishing and reviewing quality objectives. Finally, it must be communicated to the workers and it have to be reviewed regularly.

ISO 14001: Requirements for environmental management systems

This standard requires an environmental policy that includes the following:

– Comply with legal requirements and signed requirements.

– Continuous improvement.

– Prevention of pollution.

The policy should be appropriate with the environmental impact of the activities of the organization and serve as a framework for setting and reviewing environmental objectives and targets. This policy should be documented and implemented, reported and made publicly available.

Note: The ISO standards are applicable to all countries, but each country has its own transcription. In the case of Spain, it’s called “UNE EN ISO” (UNE = Una norma española = A Spanish Standard, EN = European Norm). Despite this, all the adaptations are equal and mutually compatible.  ISO 9001 says the same as UNE-EN ISO 9001, and ISO 14001 says the same as UNE-EN ISO 14001 (but in different languages).

· Integrated policies

In the reality, many organizations have implemented together the ISO9001, ISO14001 and other standards. In this case it is frecuent to have an Integrated Management Guide which provides for all in one document (called “Integrated Management Manual” or similar). In these situations you can create a comprehensive policy that covers all points described above and you can implement all the rules at once.

· Integrated Policy Example

Finally, let’s take an example of integrated policy for a fictitious manufacturing company that manufactures bottles and has created a policy tailored to meet ISO9001 quality standards and ISO14001 environmental management. This policy would be included in the Integrated Management Guide:

“The company PDCA Bottle Factory is a company dedicated to the production and distribution of glass bottles. Its principles and commitments are listed in the following points:

– PDCA Bottle Factory agrees to follow the legal regulations and the commitment that it has set with its customers.

– The activities of the company will be managed and documented orderly, grouping them in processes, setting ambitious targets for key processes, which will be reviewed and updated at least annually.

– PDCA Bottle Factory will establish appropriate systems to prevent pollution and manage its resources efficiently.

– The company will stablish and follow a continuous improvement system that will improve the way to perform and manage the activities of the company in order to increase its effectiveness.

These principles will be communicated and followed by all staff. In addition, this policy will be reviewed periodically to be adapted to the current situation of the company. “
Translated by: Jorge Jimeno Bernal

Original post (in Spanish): http://www.pdcahome.com/2551/como-crear-la-politica-de-tu-empresa-definiciones-requisitos-y-tipos-de-politicas/

If you notice any mistake in the translation of this post, please tell us about it in the replies.




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