QMR on contracually basis: a controversial discussed topic
[QMR = quality management representative]
The thought about an external QMR may be quite important for many small-sized and smaller medium-sized companies. The reasons can be versatile:
- the engagement of an QMR means additional personnel costs, full utilization of a QMR in QM topics typically is not given
- qualificatio of an employee is not a cheap thing
- an internal QMR causes further costs eg for upholding qualifications, further trainngs, etc.
- an external QMR can be hired on demand
- an external QMR acts from the point of an outsider, without being blinded by routine
- an external QMR can conduct complete internal audits (independent from general management)
- an external QMR should always be up-to-date - in his own self-interest
- an experienced external QMR knows about other QM systems, procedures, processes, methods etc. Therefore he may have a solution a specific QA problem quite quickly
- other employees can concentrate on their job when an external QMR takes care about QM topics
But the decisive questio is: is an external QMR compatible to the requirements of the ISO 9001 (here: DIN EN ISO 9001:2008)? In a German journal  this topic was discussed controversial. Even certification organizations are split in their opinion or interpretation of the ISO 9001. It seems that actually there is no unambiguous answer on the question QMR on contractually basis: allowable or not? On the one side the norm can be interpreted that - under distinct conditions - an external QMR can be acceptable. Those conditions include aspects like: contract between external QMR and contract giver, member of top management, reasonable availability of the external QMR, defined responsibilities, competencies and authorities of the external QMR to perform his job.
Reading the norms clause that QMR shall be an appointed member of the organizations management it can be implied that the QMR must be an employee of the organization. Other statements are that by consulting an external QMR significant business potentials may get lost (amongst others: knowing about employees and collegues; knowledge on internal aspects eg by participation on discussions, oral communication, distinct aspects of meetings, ...; typically higher identification with the organization, usually detailled knowledge on processes). To me, this is founded individually: on the one side it is based on the external QMR (interested, engaged, active), on the other hand it is based in the organization, of course (communication, integration of external QMR).
As a result from my perspective: if a company - under reasonable circumstances - hires an external QMR: why not? Personally from my experience I know many reasons pro an external QMR. And possible contra aspects can be coped with - depending on the character of the external QMR!
(German version: 2009)
- Assignment of external quality management representatives: usefull or senseless?, journal: Qualität und Zuverlässigkeit;
QZ 2009, volume 54, no. 06, p. 14-17
(German; original title: Einsatz externer Qualitätsmanagementbeauftragter: nützlich oder unsinnig?)
© Copyright 2009 von MTC - Dr. Barth.