Documentation Development Methods


This Month

2017 Arizona A&D Conference and AS9100D Internal Auditor Training – Read Below…  

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Our newsletters provide information on business management systems and process improvement methods. These systems include ISO 9001 QMS, AS9100 Aviation, Space and Defense, ISO/TS 16949 Automotive, ISO 27001 Information Security, ISO 13485 Medical Devices, ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard, and others. Subjects include performance improvement methods such as Six Sigma, Lean Enterprise, and other topics of interest to our readers.

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Documentation Development Methods

Close up on a file tab with the word ISO 9001 focus on the main text and blur effect. Concept image for illustration of Quality Standards

No matter what type of business, effective documentation is necessary for creating and delivering customer satisfaction and overall value. Many organizations are currently transitioning to various operational and quality system standards revisions. Right now is the best opportunity for you to take a critical look at your documented system for improvement.
  • Although there may be a few exceptions, most procedures shouldn’t exceed four pages. The actual procedure should start with page 1, not on the second or later. You should avoid having redundant statements within a procedure or between procedures and/or work instructions.
  • Procedures should refer to the appropriate documents (e.g. other procedures, work Instructions) or forms within the body of the procedure.  A list of associated documents that are relevant to the procedure content is helpful. However, an effective procedure will define these documents within the specific text area to improve employee understanding.
  • Make your forms self-explanatory and if needed, insert examples.  Your forms should always be electronic type forms if at all possible.
  • Eliminate policy. This is a procedure. Policy isn’t needed here; you already covered it in your level 1 policies.
  • Vocabulary / Definitions / Abbreviations: These can be addressed in the body of the procedure. When the user is reading the word or phrase in the specific area of concern, understanding and learning of these takes shape much better than having a laundry list as an appendix.
  • Procedures can contain electronic linkages to other documents (fact is, your documented system should) so that, if necessary, the user is only a click away from reading them and using the right stuff.
  • Insert responsibilities into the body of the procedure where the responsibilities are intended to be. Remember, your process as a flow from one action to the next. Having a list of responsible individuals/departments at the start of a procedure invites confusion and lack of organizational accountability.
  • Consider using tables and simplified flowcharts for grouping information for ease of use and process understanding.


  • Include the Purpose, Scope, and Procedure content  (consisting of responsibility and action), and revision record in the procedure.  Having a single laundry list of revisions on a separate document can invite errors.
  • Procedures should be subject to document control which includes approval, review, revision, and issuance.


After Writing a Procedure Consider the Following:
* Can the procedure be performed in the sequence it is defined?
* Can the user of the procedure locate and identify all the associated documents defined in the procedure?
* Can the user use the procedure effectively without needing direct assistance from someone else?
* Do words, phrases, and language used have a unique meaning to the procedure and the user?
* Are there any needs for special consideration of data collection and record keeping?


Have any of your own procedure suggestions? Share with us!  We will include them in our next newsletter.


2017 A&D Manufacturing Conference




For members of the aerospace, defense, aviation and manufacturing community, the Arizona Technology Council (AZTC) is offering a major opportunity for you to connect with potential new partners.


The Arizona Technology Council, Arizona Commerce Authority, and RevAZ are hosting the Sixth Annual Conference for Arizona’s Aerospace, Aviation, Defense and Manufacturing Community on Thursday, June 22, 2017 at ASU SkySong. Get out and support the AZ manufacturing base. 


Sustaining Edge Solutions is a Conference Sponsor and Presenter 
For more information and registration visit The AZTC Website See you there!   


AS9100D:2016 Process Based Internal Auditor Training   

May 16-17th, 2017. Hyatt Place Phoenix/Chandler Fashion Center 3535 W. Chandler Boulevard, Chandler. Lunch is included.  All students receive a comprehensive training binder and a certificate of completion is awarded.  Group discounts are available.

Course Registration ends May 12th – Enroll Now!


Guidelines for Effective Work Instructions
Work instructions and workmanship standards can be in the form of manuals, procedures, standards, data sheets, posted signs, photographs, product and material samples, and other such written documents and physical samples. External documents, such as published standards or equipment manufacturer manuals, can also be used as work instructions.


Work Instructions tell how to carry out a process or perform a task. They can instruct on how to set up and operate process equipment; change and inspect tooling; feed, fasten or handle materials; carry out an inspection or test; or calibrate a measuring instrument. Work instructions may also relate to administrative and other non-production tasks.

The need for work instructions for a given production process can be determined on the basis of the following considerations:

Ability to verify results of the process: Work instructions are effective for special processes, i.e., those processes the results of which cannot be fully verified by subsequent nondestructive inspections (such as welding, plating, painting, casting, cleaning, etc.). 
Importance of the process: Work instructions are effective for processes that are critical to the safety, fit, and function of the product. This may include packaging operations.
Complexity of the process: Work instructions are effective for processes where various process parameters must be set up and/or maintained at specified levels; where operators are required to program the process equipment; where tool changes are involved; or where, for any other reason, operation of the process is fairly complex and requires specific process setup instructions and/or operating data. 
Process operator qualifications: Process operator qualifications, experience, and training are considered in determining whether work instructions are required, and how detailed they ought to be. Qualification and training of all designated operators, including other shifts and possible replacements, are considered.

History of quality problems: Work instructions may be required for processes that have a history of quality problems, especially when these problems can be associated with the lack of adequate instructions.


Work instructions are often developed for specific user groups. There may be separate work instructions for others. Each work instruction would only contain information that is relevant to each user group. This approach ensures that staff is not overloaded with information – they only know what they need to know.

Features of well written work instructions include:
  • Less is more – avoid excessive wordage. Pictures in work instructions are effective.
  • Include document control – who generated the document, when the document was printed
  • Written by users – they are the obvious experts on “the how”
  • Easily understood – test them on other users.  
Have any of your own work instruction suggestions? Share with us! We will include them in our next newsletter.  



In the News
ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety  


ISO 45001, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Requirements with guidance for use, will provide the requirements for implementing a management system and framework that reduces the risk of harm and ill health to employees. 

The standard is being developed by a committee of occupational health and safety experts and will follow in the footsteps of ISO’s other management systems approaches, such as ISO 14001 (environment) and ISO 9001 (quality). It will take into account other International Standards in this area including OHSAS 18001, and various national standards.


The second Draft International Standard (DIS) of ISO 45001 will be published on 19 May 2017 and the ballot period will end 13 July 2017. This voting stage enables ISO members involved in its development to vote on the current draft before moving closer to publication (expected February 2018). Anyone interested in commenting on the second draft can do so through their National ISO Member.

Six Sigma Pioneer Mikel Harry Dies at 65 
Mikel Harry, one of the early developers of Six Sigma, died on April 25, 2017, in Chandler, Arizona. He was 65. Harry, along with Bill Smith, was one of the architects of Six Sigma within Motorola. He was sometimes referred to as the “father of Six Sigma” although Harry referred to himself as the “godfather” of Six Sigma, and pointed to Motorola engineer Bill Smith as the true father of the six sigma methodology. 
For further reading see the Quality Digest Magazine Article.


International Standard for Sustainable Procurement  
Sustainable purchasing can improve supplier relations – and your business. ISO 20400 for sustainable procurement has just been published to help organizations make sustainable purchasing a way of life.
Procurement plays a large role in any organization, large or small. Who an organization buys from has just as big an impact on its performance as what it buys. Ensuring suppliers have sound and ethical practices – across everything from working conditions and risk management to their environmental impact – has the potential to not only make businesses work better, but to improve the lives of everyone in the communities where they are situated.
For more information and to make a purchase of the standard ISO 20400, Sustainable Procurement Guidance, the world’s first International Standard for sustainable procurement, see the ISO Website.


Training Courses
All courses can be delivered at your company or at our training centers. We do provide training beyond our home state of Arizona. Click on the course title for description, schedule, registration and payment. Group discounts are available. We also provide custom designed training to fit your specific needs. All training is fully documented for your training records and certificates of training are awarded.
Don’t see a course or schedule that fits your needs?  Contact us.


What kind of results do you want to create for yourself and your business? 

Do you have customers coming back for more of your product or service? Do you have a set of ideal customers you want to cultivate? Have you created a Strategic Business Plan for achieving operational excellence? Are your business processes in control and capable of producing what you and your customers require on a continuous basis?

The demands of today’s business environment have caused many of us to shift our approach from thinking as a professional to acting as an entrepreneur. Avoiding past mistakes and taking the time to plan your next moves can make the difference between an exceptional year, and a mediocre year for you and your organization.


Walter Tighe and SES Team
Sustaining Edge Solutions, Inc.
Toll Free 888-572-9642


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