If you’ve been dabbling in ISO 9001 certification, you’ve probably come across the phrase “quality manual” more than once.

An ISO 9001 quality manual documents an organization’s intention to manage and implement the requirements of its quality management system.

And while the manual is intended to be comprehensive, it ultimately needs to be readable as well.

However, many organizations tend to go overboard and draft a long-winded quality manual that’s essentially a copy of the ISO 9001 standard. Not only does this end up confusing employees, but it also reduces the chances of implementation.

Simply put, nobody ends up reading it.

If you’re considering achieving an ISO 9001 certification, defining a practical quality manual should be at the top of your list.

Here’s how you should go about it the right way.

Prioritize Conciseness and Visual Engagement

Let’s face it: nobody wants to spend hours poring over a verbose document.

That’s not to say that you should exclude important details. Instead, phrase them in a way that’ makes them understandable.

Making the document more compact will increase readability and understandability.

In addition, consider creating a graphic quality manual that further maximizes engagement. This is a great way to ensure employees and potential clients read, understand, and retain the contents of the document.

Delineate the Scope of the System

signing contracts

Defining the boundaries of the implemented requirements is essential. And while this section should be comprehensive, it should also be devoid of wordiness.

Whether your company engineers aircraft electronics or offers digital support and IT services, explain its function in detail while keeping understandability intact.

If certain requirements of the ISO 9001 standard don’t apply to your organization, clearly list those exclusions.

Detail the Procedures

The ISO 9001 standard entails six documented procedures. These include:

In some cases, companies may include more procedures, depending on their industry.

Detail each procedure to prove conformity to the ISO 9001 standard. We suggest creating a step-by-step diagram to make the procedures easier to follow.

Cover All the Bases

business man reading documents

Ensuring you’ve covered all the requirements of an ISO 9001 quality manual is imperative.

Ultimately, your quality manual will be used to communicate management’s expectations, and will outline the organization’s quality implementation plans. Determining the correct format and structure also plays a big role in ensuring the final output is relevant, readable, and thorough.

If you’re unsure about the sections and contents of each chapter, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll help you start off on the right foot.


At Barile Consulting, we offer expert ISO 9001 consulting services to help companies improve efficiency and productivity, reduce costs, and increase accountability across the board.

Over the years, we’ve helped countless organizations become ISO 9001 certified and increase customer satisfaction by implementing and maintaining top-notch quality standards.

Get in touch with us at 440-628-8271 and our team will take it from there!