Management system guidance

10.0 Improvement

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10.1 General

Your organization should actively seek out and realize improvement opportunities that will better enable it to achieve the intended outcomes of its management system. Potential sources of improvement opportunities include the results of analysis and evaluation of environmental, quality and health & safety performance, compliance, internal audits and management reviews.

Improvement often does not take place on a ‘continual’ basis. Sometimes improvement can be affected reactively through corrective actions, incrementally overtime, by a step change or breakthrough, creatively through innovation or by re-organization and transformation.

Look out for objective evidence that improvement is taking place. Improvement does not need to be continuous, but it does need to be evidenced as an occurring process. Your organization should determine and select opportunities for improvement and implement the necessary actions in order to:

  1. Meet customer requirements and enhance customer satisfaction by using satisfaction indicators/ratings, complaints profile, returns/rejections and warranty claims (Refer to 9.1.2);
  2. Improve products and services to meet requirements as well as to address future needs and expectations by understanding contractual arrangements and implied customer expectations. Focus on improving products and services, including future needs and expectations, investment in latest technology and innovation, improving reliability, improving yield, reducing cost, and improving on-time delivery;
  3. Correcting, preventing or reducing undesired effects by investigating root cause, preventing escapes to the customer, acting on customer feedback and/or in service reports;
  4. Improving the performance and effectiveness of the QMS by acting on process performance results, understanding audit findings, reducing waste, process re-engineering, structural re-organization, and promoting breakthrough projects.

More information on PDCA


4.1 Understanding Context 4.2 Interested Parties 4.3 Determining Scope
4.4 Management System Processes  
5.1 Leadership and Commitment 5.2 Policies 5.3 Roles, Responsibility and Authority
6.1 Address Risk and Opportunity 6.2 System Objectives and Planning 6.3 Planning for Change


7.1 Resources 7.2 Competence 7.3 Awareness
7.4 Communication 7.5 Documented Information
8.1 Operational Planning and Control 8.2 Requirements for Products and Services 8.3 Design & Development
8.4 Externally Provided Products and Services 8.5 Product and Service Provision 8.6 Release of Products and Services
8.7 Non-conforming Outputs 8.8 Emergency Preparedness 8.9 Accident and Incident Investigation


9.1 Monitor, Measure, Analyse and Evaluate 9.2 Internal Audit 9.3 Management Review


10.1 Improvement - General 10.2 Non-Conformity and Corrective Action 10.3 Continual Improvement

Free internal audit checklists

Check out our free internal audit checklists. The audit checklist template is just one of the many tools which are available from the auditor’s toolbox that help ensure your audits address the necessary requirements.

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