Internal Communication Processes for API Q1 & ISO 9001

There are four requirements given by Q1[1] regarding internal communications. We’ll address them one at a time.


Requirement 1:  Management shall ensure that appropriate communication processes are established within the organization.


How to address: Internal communication applies to the following:


  • Quality procedures (rotary slips, safety clamps, drill collar slips, K-Tongs, Inserts, and Dies)
  • Work instructions
  • Quality objectives
  • Quality policy
  • Plans for new products, new procedures, improvement strategies etc.
  • Applicable requirements, like customer requirements, specification requirements etc
  • Any problems or issues
  • Changes to QMS
  • Results of data analysis

This is a general requirement. If the other three requirements are met, this one will be met too.

[1] API Specification Q1, Specification for Quality Management System Requirements for Manufacturing Organizations for the Petroleum and Natural Gas Industry


Requirement 2:  Management shall ensure the effectiveness of the QMS is communicated.


How is this done?  The Quality Management Body of Knowledge states that there are many ways to communicate the effectiveness of a QMS internally. Some examples are:


  • Posting progress toward quality objectives on bulletin boards in different locations throughout the organization. Each location can correspond to a relevant function. (shipping, receiving, machine shop etc.)


  • Open door communication policy between top management/Quality Manager and people working in different departments. The “people on the scene” should be encouraged to report and comment on QMS effectiveness or ineffectiveness whenever it is encountered during day to day activities.


  • Management review meetings are put in place to “review the QMS to evaluate its suitability, adequacy and effectiveness.” There are several inputs to the management review process, and there is one output. The output is a summary assessment of the QMS effectiveness. This assessment should be communicated to the different departments in a way that is relevant and useful to each one to help with continual improvement.


  • Weekly meetings with representatives of each department to discuss topics related to the QMS. The meetings should be documented and recorded according to the established documentation procedure. This is an internal communication process where upwards, downwards and lateral communication can take place every week.


Requirement 3:  Establish communication processes to ensure the IMPORTANCE of meeting applicable requirements is communicated to all relevant personnel.


How to address:  The initial employee indoctrination can help to begin communicating the importance of meeting customer and other requirements to new employees.

Regular QMS training also conveys the importance of serving the customer and following established company procedures.

This requirement comes from the Leadership Principle. (2nd principle)


Requirement 4:  Results of analysis of data are communicated at relevant levels and functions within the organization.


How to address:   The Management Review is a surefire way to meet this requirement.


  • Communicate the management review output to whoever needs to know to help their department improve.


  • The Management Review is an overall assessment of the performance and effectiveness of the QMS.


  • The Management Review analyzes data from KPIs and measures progress toward quality objectives.


  • We can take these results and format it and tailor it in a way that is useful for each department.


  • For example, a KPI for production could be number of tools built per month. The corresponding quality objective could be “we want to build 80 tools per month.”


  • After collecting and analyzing the data it could be presented at the Management Review meeting where it would be stated, “Production built 75 items for the month of July, 5 shy of the objective.”


  • Then in it can be asked, “How can we improve our performance to meet objectives for next month?”


These are just a few thoughts about internal communication processes for Q1. There are probably more examples out there, and we can get deeper into them at a later time.