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Quality Objectives: How to Write Them + Examples

A comprehensive guide on creating effective quality objectives using the SMART framework, aligned with ISO 9001 standard, to ensure continual improvement and operational excellence.

Research has shown that documenting objectives clearly and concisely is vital to achieving them and improving quality. The simple act of writing down objectives provides a tangible reference point and helps clarify and solidify intentions, thereby increasing the likelihood of successful outcomes.

Quality objectives are not just targets; they are the guiding stars that align your organisation’s efforts with its strategic direction.

By setting clear and compelling quality objectives, you can transform operations, ensuring compliance with standards and paving the way for continual improvement and growth.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of setting objectives for quality management, which extend beyond compliance with ISO 9001 and walk you through the process of creating them.

We’ll show you how to craft these objectives so they are not just statements on paper but actionable targets that drive your organisation forward. You’ll learn how to implement them successfully and, most importantly, how to achieve them, turning your quality aspirations into reality.

Our focus will be on the manufacturing and construction industries; however, this information can be applied to any industry.

By adhering to the principles and requirements of ISO 9001, the world’s most renowned standard for quality management, you will be equipped with the knowledge to set your organisation apart in these highly competitive sectors.

What are Quality Objectives?

Quality objectives are at the core of any successful quality management system, particularly within manufacturing and construction, where precision and reliability are paramount.

But what exactly are quality objectives? Simply put, quality objectives are goals regarding the quality of your products, services, or processes. They are specific targets an organisation sets to achieve certain standards, improve processes, and ensure customer satisfaction.

These objectives serve as benchmarks for measuring performance and effectiveness in various areas, such as product reliability, operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and compliance with regulatory requirements. They are not just lofty ideals; quality objectives are concrete, actionable targets organisations strive to achieve within a specified time frame.

What Does ISO 9001 Require?

In the context of ISO 9001, quality objectives are fundamental. Clause 6.2 Quality objectives and planning to achieve them emphasises the importance of setting, monitoring, and reviewing objectives as part of a continuous improvement process.

6.2.1 The organization shall establish quality objectives at relevant functions, levels and processes needed for the quality management system.

The quality objectives shall:

  1. be consistent with the quality policy;
  2. be measurable;
  3. take into account applicable requirements;
  4. be relevant to conformity of products and services and to enhancement of customer satisfaction;
  5. be monitored;
  6. be communicated;
  7. be updated as appropriate.

The organization shall maintain documented information on the quality objectives.

6.2.2 When planning how to achieve its quality objectives, the organization shall determine:

  1. what will be done;
  2. what resources will be required;
  3. who will be responsible;
  4. when it will be completed;
  5. how the results will be evaluated.

Essential Requirements of ISO 9001 for Quality Objectives

Consistency with the Quality Policy: Quality objectives must align directly with the organisation’s quality policy. They should reflect the commitments stated in the policy and work towards fulfilling them.

Measurability and Relevance: Objectives need to be measurable so that an organisation can track and assess its performance against them. They should also be relevant to the conformity of products and services and enhancing customer satisfaction.

Applicability at Relevant Functions and Levels: Quality objectives should be set at various organisational levels and functions. This ensures that all areas of the business are involved in quality improvement.

Monitoring and Updating: A process should be in place for monitoring progress towards the objectives. Furthermore, they should be updated as necessary, reflecting changes in the business environment or in response to achieved objectives.

Communication and Understanding: Quality objectives must be communicated across the organisation and understood by relevant parties. This helps ensure everyone is aligned and working towards these common goals.

Documentation and Integration: Quality objectives should be documented, maintained as part of the organisation’s QMS, and integrated into its business processes.

ISO 9001 also emphasises the importance of considering the context of the organisation and its strategic direction when setting quality objectives. This means that objectives should focus on immediate quality improvements and consider long-term business goals.

Creating SMART Quality Objectives

To set effective quality objectives, using the SMART criteria – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound is crucial. This approach ensures that objectives are clear, trackable, and realistically attainable within a specific timeframe.


Start by being specific about what you want to achieve. This means clearly defining the scope and nature of the objective.

Example: In a manufacturing context, instead of saying “improve product quality,” a more specific objective would be “reduce the defect rate in product X by 5%.”


A measurable objective allows you to track progress and know when the objective has been achieved.

Example: “Reduce the defect rate in product X by 5%” is a perfect example of a measurable objective.


Objectives should be realistic and attainable, given your resources and constraints.

Example: For a small manufacturing firm, an achievable objective might be to “implement a new quality control process within the next three months,” ensuring that the necessary resources and training are in place.


Your objectives should align with your broader business goals and quality policy.

Example: In construction, if a key business goal is customer satisfaction, a relevant quality objective could be “improve client feedback scores by 15% within the next quarter.”


Setting a clear deadline creates urgency and helps in planning and prioritisation.

Example: A time-bound objective for a manufacturing company might be to “obtain ISO 9001 certification within the next 12 months.”

Using the SMART framework provides a structured approach to setting quality objectives, making them more likely to be effective and achieved. It transforms vague intentions into clear, actionable plans. In the next section, we will provide examples of SMART quality objectives that are specific to the manufacturing and construction industries that you can use.

Quality Objectives Examples

To illustrate how the SMART criteria can be applied in real life, let’s consider some examples of quality objectives:

Objective 1: Reduce Production Line Downtime.

Specifically, the goal might be to decrease downtime on production line B by 20% within the next nine months. This objective is realistic, considering planned maintenance upgrades, and aligns with the broader goal of enhancing efficiency.

Objective 2: Improve Project Delivery Time.

This could translate into completing projects within the scheduled timeline, aiming for a 15% improvement in meeting deadlines by the end of the fiscal year. Such an objective is feasible with implementing better project management tools, making it highly relevant to client satisfaction.

Objective 3: Enhance Product Quality

Like increasing the pass rate of quality control checks, a specific target could be to achieve a 95% pass rate in the next six months, which is attainable with enhanced staff training and directly contributes to higher customer satisfaction.

Objective 4: Boost Customer Satisfaction.

This could mean improving customer feedback scores and setting a target to raise these scores by 10% within the next quarter. This objective is achievable through improved customer service and aligns with long-term customer relationship goals.

These examples demonstrate how quality objectives can be structured using the SMART criteria. They show the practical application of each element – being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound – to real objectives.

Setting and achieving effective quality objectives is a cornerstone of any successful quality management system.

Well-defined quality objectives cannot be overstated. They are essential tools for continuous improvement, helping you to navigate the challenges of quality management and steering your organisation towards operational excellence.

Remember, setting and achieving quality objectives is not a one-time event but a continuous improvement cycle. Regularly reviewing and updating these objectives ensures they remain relevant and effective in an ever-changing business environment.

References: ISO 9001:2015, Quality Management Systems – Requirements, International Organization for Standardization.

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