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What Does ISO 9001 Clause 7.4 Communication Mean?

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Clause 7.4 of ISO 9001:2015 refers to the communication requirements within an organization. It specifies the necessity of an effective internal communication system to ensure information relevant to the quality management system (QMS) flows appropriately, accurately, and timely.

Key elements of Clause 7.4

  • Internal Communication: Ensuring all relevant information pertaining to the QMS and quality objectives is communicated to the appropriate levels within the organization.

  • Relevant Information: Timely and accurate sharing of relevant information that aids in the functioning of the QMS, facilitating better decision-making and understanding.

  • Communication Channels: The clause encourages setting up channels for effective, clear, and comprehensive communication. This includes meetings, reports, emails, memos, or other suitable methods that facilitate information flow.

An example demonstrating Clause 7.4 Communication

A manufacturing company holds regular monthly meetings that include all department heads and key employees. During these sessions, the company discusses quality objectives, performance, customer feedback, and any non-conformities that need attention. The management communicates changes to procedures or policies, ensuring that everyone understands their role in maintaining the quality standards. Additionally, the company uses email alerts for urgent updates, and there's a centralized document repository accessible to all employees for the latest quality documentation and procedures.

An Example of Clause 7.4, Internal and External Communication

Manufacturing Company Internal Communication:

a) Communication Topic: The company decides to communicate changes in the production process that could affect product quality.

b) Timing: When any changes or updates are made to the production process or quality standards, they communicate these before implementation to ensure all employees are informed and prepared.

c) Target Audience: Relevant departments (production, quality control, R&D) and supervisors are informed.

d) Communication Method: The company uses a combination of methods: regular meetings, internal newsletters, and email alerts.

e) Responsible Communicators: The quality manager, head of production, and department supervisors are responsible for conveying this information.

Manufacturing Company External Communication:

a) Communication Topic: Informing customers about new product features or changes in service delivery.

b) Timing: Information is communicated prior to implementing changes to products or services, ensuring customers are prepared.

c) Audience: Customers, suppliers, and distributors are informed.

d) Method: The organization utilizes newsletters, press releases, and direct communication via emails or meetings.

e) Responsible Communicators: Marketing and customer service departments are responsible for external communications, ensuring a consistent and accurate message is delivered to the appropriate stakeholders.

ISO 9001:2015 Clause 7.4 Communication

ISO 9001:2015 Clause 7.4 Communication set out the requirements for a robust communication system that helps in maintaining a consistent understanding and adherence to the QMS throughout the organization.

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