This article explains how to write a quality system plan template to revise and update your quality system for compliance with ISO 13485:2016 when it is released early next year. The end of the article includes a form to complete if you want to download a free quality system plan template.
Templates are the key to writing a quality system plan
Plan, do, check and act (PDCA) is the mantra of the Deming disciples, but does anyone know what should be in your quality system plan template. Everyone focuses on the steps–the “What’s.” Unfortunately, people forget to include the other important pieces of an all inclusive quality system plan template. Why? When? Who? and How much?
The table in the template is an example of “What?” steps to perform, but it is specific to my procedures. You will need to revise the table to reference your own procedures and the changes you make will be specific to your quality system plan. The other sections of the template tell you what needs to be included in that section, but I did not provide examples for those sections.
Why to write a quality system plan template
The purpose section of the quality system plan template answers the question of “Why?” You need to specify if the purpose of your quality system plan is compliance with new and revised regulatory requirements, preventing recurrence of quality issues or maybe a faster development cycle. The purpose section of the plan also provides guidance with regard to the monitoring and measurement section of your quality system plan template.
When to write a quality system plan template
Most changes have deadlines. In the case of ISO 13485:2016, there will be a 3-year transition period, but most companies establish internal goals for early implementation by the end of the fiscal year or the end of a financial quarter. Some of the changes can be made in parallel, while other changes need to be sequential. Therefore, there may be specific milestones within the quality system plan template that must be complete by specific dates. These dates define “When?” the steps in the quality system plan must be implemented.
Who should write your quality system plan template
As my quality system plan template indicates, I recommend defining both individual process owners and teams of process owners where processes can be grouped together. For example, I typically group the following four processes together as part of “Good Documentation Practices (GDPs)”: 1) control of documents (SYS-001), 2) control of records (SYS-002), 3) training (SYS-004), and 4) change control (SYS-006). In fact, I cover all four processes in a webinar called “GDP 101.”
It is important to have one person that is accountable and has the authority to implement changes for each process, but only one person should be in control of each process. If you have four related procedures, then the team of four people will need to coordinate their efforts so that changes are implemented swiftly and accurately. For the overall quality system plan template, I recommend assigning a team leader for the team of four process owners described above. One of those people should be responsible for team leadership and writing the quality system plan template.
Monitoring implementation of your quality system plan template
Monitoring the progress of your plan ensures successful implementation of the plan. Sometimes things don’t work as planned and corrections need to be made. Additional resources might be needed. The plan may have been too optimistic with regard to the implementation time required. I recommend assigning one person the task of retrieving team status reports from each of the teams and consolidating the team reports into an overall progress report.
Free download of ISO 13485:2016 quality system plan template
The sign-up form below will allow you to receive an email with the ISO 13485:2016 quality system plan template attached. This is a two-step process that will require you to confirm the sign-up.