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Information Example 1
Three different examples of data were given to you earlier. Let's have a look at how that data
can be turned into information.
Example 1:


We started off with the raw data which was 51, 77, 58, 82, 64, 70.
At this stage, those numbers could have been anything from street numbers to chart
positions of certain records.

The raw data is given a context. We are told that the numbers are test scores which were
achieved by a group of students. At last they start to make some sense.
However even with a context, the data still needs to be processed in order to turn it into

The processing in this case might be to calculate the average from the set of scores. The
average is 67 so we can now tell that student 1 did particularly badly in the test because they
were so far below the average mark.

Information Example 2

In this example we started off with a list of things which could have been many different
things from flavours of milk shake to paint colours for a wall. So at this stage, the list is
definitely data.
We then find out that the data is in fact different tubs of ice-cream which was sold yesterday.
We can safely assume from that context that the data is in fact the flavours of the tubs sold.
The data still needs to be processed to become information.
Because we have different instances of the same thing i.e. many tubs of chocolate icecream being sold and many tubs of vanilla ice-cream being sold, it would be useful to find
out which was the most popular flavour sold yesterday.
The processing could take the form of creating a bar chart. This would instantly tell us which
flavour sold the most yesterday.
The processing could even include charting yesterday's sales against the sales for the
previous week or month.
Information Example 3

We are given a list of numbers but have no idea what they mean
We are told that the numbers are dates when a holiday cottage has been booked. They now
have some meaning. With date data, it is also vital to know the format. For example they
could be UK format: dd-mm-yy or they could be in American format: mm-dd-yy or perhaps
they could even be in a text sort-friendly format: yy-mm-dd.
The dates are muddled. After sorting them into ascending order it would be easy to see
when the first booking was due and when subsequent bookings would happen. It would also
be possible to see when the cottage had not been booked.

Challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already
told you
Click on this link: Data, Information and Knowledge

8. Knowledge examples

Example 2
chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, strawberry, vanilla, vanilla, strawberry, vanilla, vanilla
Information - this is a list of flavour of ice cream sales yesterday.
The data now has some context and so make sense. A bit of analysis is useful to glean more
For example, the most popular flavour of ice cream sold yesterday is vanilla.
The shop manager can see that vanilla is the most popular ice-cream flavour. Next time he
places an order, he will ask for five times as much vanilla ice-cream than chocolate icecream.

Example 3
14-05-08, 09-10-08, 21-11-08, 09-09-08, 31-07-08
Information - these are a list of dates in dd/mm/yy format. They are booked dates for a
holiday cottage.
Now that the format of the data is known, it can be processed further. For example, they
could be sorted into time order
The dates are sorted into order:

14th May 2008

31st July 2008

9th September 2008

9th October 2008

21st November 2008


The owner of the holiday cottage can see that it has hardly been rented over the summer
period. She might decide to lower her rental price in order to get extra bookings.

Within an EnMS, it is important for organizations to identify and address both existing
and potential nonconformities. An existing nonconformity is a situation where a
requirement is not met. A potential nonconformity is a situation where, if action is not
taken, a nonconformity will potentially occur in the future. You want to eliminate a
potential nonconformity before it occurs.
A nonconformity is a situation where a requirement is not met.
An example of an existing nonconformity is: EnMS Procedure #3 states that the energy
review shall consider all major energy sources. The 2011 energy review did not include
consideration of the facility propane use, and propane is a major energy source included
in the facility scope.
An example of a potential nonconformity is: The organization has an EnMS objective to
reduce the amount of energy used by the compressed air system by 5% by the end of
3rd quarter of the year. It is the middle of the 2nd quarter and measuring and
monitoring data show that there has been no decrease in the amount of energy used by
the compressed air system. It appears that if no action is taken, the objective will not be
met and therefore a potential nonconformity exists.
A nonconformity generally means that:

the organization is not doing what it said it would do,

what is being done is not working,

requirements are not being met, or

the intended energy performance improvement is not being obtained.

Initially, most energy management system nonconformities are identified by internal

auditors or during monitoring and measurement activities. As the system matures,
nonconformities may be identified by the people doing the work. This should be
encouraged. People doing the work are often in the best position to see problems and
suggest solutions.
When a nonconformity is detected, the first step is to take appropriate action to resolve
the immediate situation. For example, in the case where an oven is operating at a
temperature lower than the correct temperature because the weather is cooler today, the
immediate action taken is to increase the natural gas flow to the oven. This is called
The next step is to determine the magnitude of the nonconformity and its impact on
energy performance. Based on this information, a decision is made as to whether action
should be taken to ensure the situation is prevented from recurring or occurring in the
future. If so, the nonconformity is entered into the organization's corrective action
Once entered into the corrective and preventive action system, the nonconformity is
reviewed to determine its cause and determine if action is indeed necessary. The
organization then decides on and implements an appropriate course of action to
eliminate the cause of the actual or potential nonconformity.

Suppose a plant has a compressed air system which is a large user of energy. The plant
has a procedure that states that the system operating pressure set point shall be 105
psig. The plant was found operating their compressor plant at 115 psig.
Correction -> Change operating pressure back to 105 psig if no negative effect on
production can be determined.
Evaluate magnitude and impact of nonconformity -> Enter into corrective action system
if appropriate.
Cause -> Determine why the operating pressure was changed.
Corrective Action -> Take action to eliminate the cause.
Sometimes the corrective or preventive actions that are taken to eliminate problems
result in the need to make other adjustments or changes to the EnMs. For example, if
existing operational controls were modified as part of implementing a corrective action,
then there may be a need to modify the associated EnMS documentation. It is important
that the actions taken be appropriate to the extent of the problem and its impact on
energy performance.
After the appropriate action is taken, a review is performed to determine if the action
taken was effective. In other words, did the action taken eliminate the cause and result
in the nonconformity not occurring or recurring?
In summary:

Correct current situation

Determine magnitude and impact of the nonconformity

Determine cause of the nonconformity

Determine if action is needed

Determine appropriate action to be taken

Take action

Review effectiveness of action taken

Maintain records of actions taken

A Corrective Action/Preventive Action Request (CAR/PAR) Form, along with a CAR/PAR

Tracking Log are commonly used to record and track the status of corrective and
preventive actions. An Example CAR/PAR Tracking Logillustrates how a log sheet may be
used to track actions to completion. If you have implemented another management
system, such a quality or environmental management system, you may be able to use
that same process.

The Critical Role of Auditing
in Continuous Improvement

By Dr. John Robert Dew

(Originally published in the National Productivity Review,


There is a legitimate role for quality audits in todays

workplace. The success of the audit depends on managements
guidance of the audit, selection and training of auditors, and
willingness to involve people in achieving the opportunities for
improvement identified by the audit. To be effective, the audit
process must be properly managed. A successful audit process is
part of an overall plan for continuous improvement and can
become a vehicle for recognizing excellence in an organization.

In an age when organizations are empowering workers,

building quality into products, and using statistical control limits
to control quality, some might argue that the quality audit is no
longer necessary. It is true that many organizations suffer from
over-control and that poorly conducted audits contribute to this
problem. Poorly managed audits instill fear in the organizations
and can mislead management with inaccurate information. But if
managers know why they are auditing and if they know how to
manage the audit process, well-managed audits can provide a
process to foster learning, communication, and internal
improvements vital to an organizations ultimate success.

Audit Basics

Organizations have a legitimate need for an independent,

unbiased assessment of activities. In spite of the best intentions,
deviations from expected procedures may occur in almost any
work setting. Line managers may filter their problems from the
next level of management so issues that need upper
management attention may go unresolved.
Audits also provide management with confirmation of excellent
performance that can be internally benchmarked by the rest of
the organization.
W. Edwards Deming argued that over 85 percent of the
problems in a workplace can be improved only by management
improving the work systems. The audit can be a positive tool for
finding the opportunities for continuous improvement. The area
to be audited should be defined by management, based on what
management wants to learn. Working like a photographer, the
auditor enters the work area to take snapshots of how work
processes are being conducted to see whether actual
performance matches expectations. The auditor seeks out
accurate images of improvement opportunities and examples of
excellence in the organization.
An audit is an expensive investment for any
organization. There is the cost of the auditor, the time that those
being audited spend preparing for the audit, the cost of
conducting the audit itself, and the time spent for reports and
meetings to discuss audit findings. To maximize the return on
such an investment, managers must carefully consider the
objectives they are trying to achieve through the quality
audit. The basic questions to be addressed are, What do you care
about, and what do you want to know about? A general
assignment that asks the auditors to roam about the organization
and see if they can uncover any problems is ineffective and
creates problems for the auditor and auditees alike.

A well-defined audit will ask the auditor to examine how

one specific practice is being conducted across a large part of an
organization. Or it will instruct the auditor to examine several
specific practices in one unit of the organization. Or it will instruct
the auditor to examine several specific practices in one unit of the
organization. In either case, there is a clear definition of mission
for the auditor.
In defining the audits mission, the manager should place
the highest emphasis on obtaining verification that the most vital
work is being performed properly. What may be most vital will
certainly vary form business to business and manager to
manager. In all cases, the value of the audit will be proportional
to the value that the audited area has to the organization.

Communicating the Audit and Establishing Performance Expectations

The effectiveness of the audit will be greatly influenced

by how management communicates the purpose and
performance of the audit. Most people do not look forward to
being audited and will probably dread the prospect. This can lead
to conflict in the auditing process and an effort by auditees to
divert the auditor from observing the real conditions of a work
process. Proper communication of the audit and ethical conduct
on the part of the auditors can go a long way to ensuring
cooperation with the audit process.
Effective audits begin with a statement by management
that a particular work process is extremely vital to the welfare to
the organization, so vital, in fact, that the organization is willing to
go to added expense to have an independent review of the work
performance. The purpose of the audit must be stated as an
effort to gain a clear understanding of the status of a work
situation to maintain and improve the process and to identify area
of excellence in the organization. The emphasis on
understanding, continuous improvement, and identifying
excellence will help create an atmosphere in which it is

permissible and nonthreatening to discuss quality problems with

the auditor.
Where should the expectations of performance in the
workplace come from? Not the auditor! When the auditors set
the performance expectations, the expectations will vary from
auditor to auditor. One auditor may view a particular situation as
acceptable while another may consider it a disaster. Standards
for expected performance should be generated internally by the
organization or through the adoption of standards agreed on
within its industry. Organizations need policies and procedures
that define how vital work functions will be performed. These
policies and procedures should serve as the standard against
which auditors which auditors will measure performance.
Professional societies have labored for years to agree on
standards of performance in numerous disciplines. Thousands of
performance expectations have been codified into law. Auditors
do not need to impose their professional opinion in the audit to
establish performance expectations. Many organizations are
using internal adaptations of the Malcolm Baldridge National
Quality Award as a standard for auditing how quality is being
implemented. The use of these types of consensus documents
helps establish the unbiased nature of the audit process and helps
the organization focus on continuous improvement and
identification and recognition of excellence.

The Auditors Role

The most important action that managers take in initiating

an audit is selecting the auditor. The auditor should know how to
use effective listening and communication skills to find
opportunities for improvement. If management selects a person
who does not display these skills, the audit may do more harm
than good.

Ideally the auditor should be like Sergeant Joe Friday of

Dragnet fame. Through his conduct and demeanor, Sergeant
Friday exhibited the characteristics of an effective auditor. A Joe
Friday auditor conducts the audit with a plan. This auditor
knows what is supposed to be happening in the organization
because he or she has taken the time to review the procedures
being audited. Joe Friday prepares a checklist of specific areas
to investigate and takes notes as he or she works through the
Sergeant Friday knows how to listen and asks open-ended
questions to get people to loosen up and express concerns, then
follows up with specific questions to nail down the details. He or
she asks to see examples of log books, files, check-sheets, or
other relevant documents, and takes the time to study them to
make sure they conform to requirements.
Joe Friday arrives on the scene with an open mind. He
or she is there to investigate the situation and report back to
management. Sometimes people just need a friendly reminder
about requirements or a pat on the back for doing a good
job. Sometimes people need to have deviations pointed out to
them. Joe knows that his or her role is to give accurate
feedback, not to harass suspects or to keep on investigating until
the least some minor problems is uncovered. Joe knows that
the identification of excellence is just as important as the
identifications of opportunities for improvement.
A well-conducted audit demands that the auditor not be
confined to a comfortable conference room, reading documents
submitted by the auditees. Sergeant Friday went out into the
field to see firsthand what was going on. Joe will play an
active role in selecting documents to review instead of relying on
the audited organization to feed him or her the documents that
may happen to comply best with the requirements.
A good Joe Friday auditor will understand the
difference between problems caused by special circumstances
and those that are built into the system. Competent auditors
understand the concepts of statistical variation and can interpret

statistical control charts to help access what types of

opportunities the organization may have for improvement.

The Problem Audit

Unfortunately, not all auditors work with Joe Friday

proficiency. Some act a lot more like Deputy Barney Fife from The
Andy Griffith Show. When given the opportunity, Barney Fife
would swell up with authority, belittle people, and throw his
weight around. He was allowed only one bullet, and he had to
keep that one in his shirt pocket so he would not shoot himself in
the foot. When managers allow a Deputy Fife to conduct
audits in their organization, they are inviting disaster for the
auditor and auditee alike.
The purpose of the audit is to gain important information
as operations are examined through the eyes of an unbiased
observer. If the auditor creates a climate of fear or intimidation,
then the audit findings will be of little value of the
organization. People working in the organization will distrust
management for sending in such a person.
Auditors need to be capable of calmly collecting
information in a nonthreatening manner. If potential auditors
cannot conduct themselves in this way, they should never be
permitted to conduct an audit. The underlying problem with a
Deputy Fife auditor is that he or she is focused inwardly
instead of on the people being audited. Deputy Fife is
interested in establishing his or her expertise and telling his or her
own story. Deputy Fife enjoys making people squirm under the
scrutiny of an audit. The only excellence Deputy Fife wants to
recognize is his or her own.
People who are going to audit need to be trained in how to
organize for the audit and how to effectively gather information
for management. They need to learn how to conduct a pre-audit
meeting, how to write audit findings, how to close out audits, how

to write audit findings, how to close out audits, and how to write
audit reports. Auditors can be trained to develop good listening
and observation skills and can be coached to become good Joe
Friday auditors. The audit process is too expensive for
organizations to skimp on training for their auditors. A poorly
trained auditor will undermine the positive attitude about
continuous improvement and high quality that management
desires to instill in the organization.

Audit Follow-Up: An Orientation Toward Improvement and Excellence

The most important part of the audit is not what the

auditor does in collecting the data, but what the manager does
with the audit information. Managers must be prepared to take
actions to correct audit deviations and to recognize
excellence. The actions taken to make improvements must not
make the situation worse. The best approach is to meet with the
people involved in the deviation and ask for their ideas for
improving the situation and to empower them to solve the
problem. This allows them to assume ownership for the problem
and for the solution. The manager must then seek commitment
from people to resolve the problem within a certain time frame
and make resources available to support improvements, if
The worst possible scenario is for managers to use audit
information to punish people. Management must drive fear out of
the organization. Punishing people will condition the organization
to resist audits and hide problems from management. The
manager must learn to receive bad news from an audit as an
opportunity for improvement and then involve staff members in
resolving the issue. Often the audit will bring to light performance
problems that can be solved only by upper
management. Although management alone has the authority to
change the system, management can usually invite the people
who work in the system to help diagnose the problem, make

recommendations, and implement solutions for resolving the

The most effective resolutions of audit findings occur
when the organization has systems in place that allow for
employee participation and an open climate for discussion about
problems and opportunities as part of the normal business
environment. Joint union-management efforts for achieving
quality are ideal for addressing audit concerns. Elected councils
of salaried employees, working with managers offer another good
channel for addressing issues in a participative manner. An
accepted method for creating cross-functional teams will provide
a good vehicle for making improvements.
Successful organizations are those that learn to place a
high value on continuous improvement. Everyone in the
organization, from the managers in the strategic center to the
individual contributors, must all share a belief in the positive
discussion of problems and deficiencies as a necessary first step
in achieving excellence.
The audit will serve as one of several tools available for
identifying opportunities for improvement. It must be part of a
system that includes employee suggestions, analysis of quality
data, feedback from customers, suggestions from suppliers, and
benchmarking of other organizations. An organization needs to
use all these avenues to continuously improve its process, and
maintain competitive position in its market.
Along with identifying opportunities for improvement, the
audit should identify opportunities for reward and
recognition. Managers should set the expectation that auditors
will identify excellence as well as opportunities. The identification
of excellence must be followed up with recognition. An effective
recognition program will employ such methods as internal
newsletters, cash or award incentives, and meetings or banquets
that focus on recognition and praise. When management links
the audit process to the reward and recognition system, the audit
becomes an exciting opportunity for people in the organization
instead of a potentially negative event.

Improving Continuously

The audit can become a powerful tool for feeding a

continuous improvement process and providing recognition for
excellence in any organization. Successful implementation of an
audit process requires managers to set positive expectations
about how audits will be conducted, select important areas for
audits, provide positive communication about the purpose of the
audit findings, and involve people in following up on the audit
findings. The audit should be seen as a method for identifying
both opportunities for improvement and areas of excellence that
deserve reward and recognition.

Revised Quality Management Principles

Posted on Oct 1, 2013 in Newsletter
The ISO 9001:2008 standard states that the eight quality management principles described in
ISO 9000:2005 were considered during the development of ISO 9001:2008. According to the
committee draft of ISO 9001:2015, the revised standard is being developed to make more explicit
use of the quality management principles.
ISO 9001:2015 includes an Annex A that introduces the seven quality management principles
upon which the revised standard is based. The annex provides a statement describing each
principle and a rationale explaining why an organization should address the principle.
The draft seven quality management principles are listed below, followed by the eight current
principles shown in italics. Note that current principles 4 and 5 have been merged into the
revised principle 4, reducing the total number of principles from eight to seven.
QMP 1 Customer Focus
The primary focus of quality management is to meet customer requirements and to strive to
exceed customer expectations.
Sustained success is achieved when an organization attracts and retains the confidence of

customers and other interested parties on whom it depends. Every aspect of customer
interaction provides an opportunity to create more value for the customer. Understanding current
and future needs of customers and other interested parties contributes to sustained success of
an organization.
QMP1 Customer Focus
Organizations depend on their customers and therefore should understand current and future
customer needs, should meet customer requirements and strive to exceed customer
Change: The revised principle continues to focus on meeting customer requirements and striving
to exceed customer expectations. It adds that you need to look at every customer interaction for
opportunities to create more customer value. It also adds that sustained success is achieved
when you gain customer confidence.
QMP 2 Leadership
Leaders at all levels establish unity of purpose and direction and create conditions in which
people are engaged in achieving the quality objectives of the organization.
Creation of unity of purpose, direction and engagement enable an organization to align its
strategies, policies, processes and resources to achieve its objectives.
QMP 2 Leadership
Leaders establish unity of purpose and direction of the organization. They should create and
maintain the internal environment in which people can become fully involved in achieving the
organizations objectives.
Change: The revised principle continues to focus on leaders establishing unity of purpose and
direction, as well as, creating conditions to involve people in achieving quality objectives. It adds
that this leadership approach will enable your organization to align its strategies, policies, and
resources to achieve its objectives.
QMP 3 Engagement of People
It is essential for the organization that all people are competent, empowered and engaged in

delivering value. Competent, empowered and engaged people throughout the organization
enhance its capability to create value.
To manage an organization effectively and efficiently, it is important to involve all people at all
levels and to respect them as individuals. Recognition, empowerment and enhancement of skills
and knowledge facilitate the engagement of people in achieving the objectives of the
QMP 3 Involvement of People People at all levels are the essence of an organization and
their full involvement enables their abilities to be used for the organizations benefit.
Change: The revised principle still describes the involvement of people at all levels. It adds that it
is essential for these people to be competent, empowered, and engaged to create and deliver
QMP 4 Process Approach
Consistent and predictable results are achieved more effectively and efficiently when activities
are understood and managed as interrelated processes that function as a coherent system.
The quality management system is composed of interrelated processes. Understanding how
results are produced by this system, including all its processes, resources, controls and
interactions, allows the organization to optimize its performance.
Principle 4 Process Approach
A desired result is achieved more efficiently when activities and related resources are managed
as a process.
Principle 5 System Approach to Management
Identifying, understanding and managing interrelated processes as a system contributes to the
organizations effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its objectives.
Change: The current Process Approach principle and System Approach principle have been
combined into this one revised Process Approach principle. It continues to focus on
understanding and managing activities as interrelated processes within a system. It clarifies that
understanding how results are produced by the processes, resources, controls, and interactions
allows your organization to optimize its performance.

QMP 5 Improvement
Successful organizations have an ongoing focus on improvement.
Improvement is essential for an organization to maintain current levels of performance, to react
to changes in its internal and external conditions and to create new opportunities.
QMP 6 Continual Improvement
Continual improvement of the organizations overall performance should be a permanent
objective of the organization.
Change: The revised principle uses the term improvement instead of continual improvement.
ISO 9001:2015 is being developed to make more explicit use of the quality management
principles, so you would expect it to move to the term improvement to align with the revised
However, the text in Annex SL to be used for all management systems standards uses the term
continual improvement. Moving to improvement would result in a deviation from the required
Annex SL common text. Therefore, the committee draft of ISO 9001:2015 was prepared using
continual improvement, but with the continual being shown in strike-though text format (to
highlight the need for resolution of this issue).
The revised principle also changes from improvement of overall performance as a permanent
objective to a focus on improvement as being essential to maintain current levels of
performance. It also expands to cover the improvements needed to react to changes in internal
and external conditions and to create new opportunities.
QMP 6 Evidence-based Decision Making
Decisions based on the analysis and evaluation of data and information are more likely to
produce desired results.
Decision-making can be a complex process, and it always involves some uncertainty. It often
involves multiple types and sources of inputs, as well as their interpretation, which can be
subjective. It is important to understand cause and effect relationships and potential unintended

consequences. Facts, evidence, and data analysis lead to greater objectivity and confidence in
decisions made.
QMP 7 Factual Approach to Decision Making
Effective decisions are based on the analysis of data and information.
Change: The revised principle still addresses decisions that are based on the analysis of data
and information. The rationale section refers to the uncertainty and subjective nature of
decisions. It adds that understanding cause and effect relationships and the potential for
unintended consequences is important. In addition, it states that evidence-based analysis leads
to decisions with greater objectivity and confidence.
QMP 7 Relationship Management
For sustained success, organizations manage their relationships with interested parties, such as
Interested parties influence the performance of an organization. Sustained success is more likely
to be achieved when an organization manages relationships with its interested parties to
optimize their impact on its performance. Relationship management with its supplier and partner
network is often of particular importance.
QMP 8 Mutually Beneficial Supplier Relationships
An organization and its suppliers are interdependent and a mutually beneficial relationship
enhances the ability of both to create value.
Change: This principle has expanded from supplier relationship to relations with interested
parties. The revised principle states the supplier and partner network is of particular importance,
but there can be other interested parties. For example, the draft ISO 9001:2015, clause 4.2,
identifies possible interested parties as direct customers, end users, suppliers, distributors,
retailers, and regulators.
Note: For more information on the current quality management principles, see our May 2013 and
June 2013 newsletters. These newsletters describe the eight principles, as well as, their benefits
and application.