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Procedures and Work Instructions


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#1 Prunesquallor

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 10:16 AM

I have just inherited a document control system that is a total mess and needs to be completely revamped. One of the issues I have is that over the years the distinction between a work instruciton and a procedure has been lost so we have a mixture of both. For example, the instruciotns for setting up a wrapper may be described as a procedure whereas the instruction for measuring volumes would be a work instruciton.

 

The trouble is that I am not too clear on the distinction myself. Can anyone offer any guidance or point me at a defintion.

 

Many thanks

 



#2 Mr. Incognito

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 11:12 AM

:welcome: to IFSQN!

 

Well... work instructions are in fact procedures... so that's why you may be confused.

 

I try to stick with the following definitions:

 

Policy - things like GMP's, explanation on how you deal with allergens, expectations of management (management commitment policy), explanations of programs

Work Instruction - Detailed instructions on how to accomplish a task

 

It is going to suck but you may want to rewrite all of your documentation into a standard format so that all of your policies look the same and all of your WI's look the same.

 

Some people may have a definition on a difference between a WI and a procedure... but really they are the same thing and you should treat them as such in my opinion.  Keep your documentation simple.  If it's too complex you'll have problems.

 

-Edit-

 

I also suggest, when making work instructions, that you write them where you spell out every single step required including changing rooms and use the "3rd grade standard or whatever" where a 3rd grader could read it (excluding terms that are relevant of course).  This way you know that there will be no issue with someone who can't understand it.

 

"On PLC 1 in the batching room press "Start Batch" then in the box next to gallons touch the screen inside the box and on the window that pops up enter the amount of gallons needed for the batch and hit enter"

 

or something like that...


Edited by Mr. Incognito, 12 June 2014 - 11:16 AM.

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#3 Charles.C

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 08:05 AM

Dear Mr Inc,

 

Well... work instructions are in fact procedures... so that's why you may be confused.

 

 

Well, from memory, not according to ISO, hence the famous ISO triangle - Policies / Procedures / WIs

 

@Prunesquallor (fruit or human reference/consequence?) - it depends on yr specific circumstances but one detailed answer to yr query is probably provided by the ISO 9000 series I think. And commonly referenced with respect to documentation development (maybe less so in these more randomized times).

 

But any choice is inevitably subjective in a general sense, ie just a matter of opinion. So Mr Inc. may be correct also. :smile: (a reverse of his above proposal is also conceptually interpretable).

 

There are several discussions on possible distinctions elsewhere on this forum, notably with respect to formulating a Company Policy Statement. Unfortunately the main search engine here is currently unavailable so bit difficult to hunt.

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#4 qatfs

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 09:45 AM

Dear Mr Inc,

 

 

Well, from memory, not according to ISO, hence the famous ISO triangle - Policies / Procedures / WIs

 

@Prunesquallor (fruit or human reference/consequence?) - it depends on yr specific circumstances but one detailed answer to yr query is probably provided by the ISO 9000 series I think. And commonly referenced with respect to documentation development (maybe less so in these more randomized times).

 

But any choice is inevitably subjective in a general sense, ie just a matter of opinion. So Mr Inc. may be correct also. :smile: (a reverse of his above proposal is also conceptually interpretable).

 

There are several discussions on possible distinctions elsewhere on this forum, notably with respect to formulating a Company Policy Statement. Unfortunately the main search engine here is currently unavailable so bit difficult to hunt.

 

Rgds / Charles.C

 

Dear Prunesquallor,

 

Just a small comment as it is easy to get confused somewhere in the middle of the procedure-instruction wood.

 

Depending on your accreditation you may be required to present your system in a certain way.

 

The below division usually works well:

Top of the tree: policy = management/business position with relation to a certain requirement driven by customer's COP's and accreditation body

Policies are used for Internal Auditing purpose as an indiciator of certain activity being present on site. They are not an exhaustive source of knowledge though.

Procedure = introduces more detail, mentions responsibilities, timescales.

Document = a record, monitoring form basically

Work Instruction = HOW to perform the specific task - just like Mr Incognito wrote: 'press the button next to the.." something like that. They are driven sometimes by the issues we had when it comes to performing specific tasks as a preventative actions ensuring the correct performance is achieved and not relying on the particular operator's private experience. wI's are displayed in the area the activity takes place.

 

This division comes handy when new issues of WI are introduced - you only have to train certain operators, and not all the staff like would have to take a place when we change the company policy.

 

It would be interesting to hear other comments and views :)



#5 Tony-C

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 02:03 PM

I'm with Charles on this one:

 

http://the9000store....nstruction.aspx

 

A Procedure is a document written to support a "Policy Directive". A Procedure is designed to describe Who, What, Where, When, and Why by means of establishing corporate accountability in support of the implementation of a "policy". The "How" is further documented by each organizational unit in the form of "Work Instructions" which aims to further support a procedure by providing greater detail.

 

Contrary to the previous post a Document is a written or drawn representation of thoughts. A record or form is a document with spaces (fields) in which to write or select.

 

I wouldn't get too hung up on the terminology, it is more important that what you have in writing is understood and works.

 

Regards,

 

Tony


Edited by Tony-C, 15 June 2014 - 02:04 PM.


#6 Prunesquallor

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 09:12 AM

Thanks for all your replies, I think it is becoming clearer. I think most of our so-called procedures are actually work instructions and we have very few actual procedures.

We (or rather I) am embarking on a major review of all the documnets so that we can start using a commercail management system; this will mean many need to updated.

We are BRC and IFS accredited so the document control requirments are not as stringent as with the ISO standards, thankfully.

 

As for the username: nothing to do with fruit but it is a character in one of my favourite novels.

 

Thanks for all your help



#7 fgjuadi

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 11:28 AM

We (or rather I) am embarking on a major review of all the documnets so that we can start using a commercail management system; this will mean many need to updated.

We are BRC and IFS accredited so the document control requirments are not as stringent as with the ISO standards, thankfully.

 

As for the username: nothing to do with fruit but it is a character in one of my favourite novels.

 

Thanks for all your help

 

You are lucky to be blessed with this opportunity.

I cant tell you how much easier & nicer it is to have a system I built.  Just go through them all one by one and rewrite so that its current and it's what you actually do and it'll feel so much better when you refer to them and review them and update them.

It's where you live in your head, and now you get to make it just like you like it.  Woo hoo! 


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