Quality Management Dos and Don’ts – Don’t be guilty of being in the red

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1. Meet Customer Requirements

Surprisingly there are companies that want ISO 9001 certification just to satisfy one customer requirement. The customer states that it will only do business with vendors that are certified as ISO 9001 – so to get (or keep) the business they need that certification. The problem with these companies is that they’re looking for a short-term payoff and an end to the journey with a certificate. They see nothing but that one benefit — we need a certificate for this customer — and ignore the long-term benefits a robust quality management system will provide, like:

  • Less firefighting;
  • Fewer repeat problems when you perform better root cause analysis and systemic corrective actions;
  • Increased performance because you’re monitoring trends against goals;
  • More efficient and effective business processes;
  • Less scrap, rework, rejects, warranty; and
  • Increase customer satisfaction leading to more business opportunities.

Some organizations don’t embrace the concept of quality linked with the business systems and tied into the strategic direction of the company, to drive continual improvement and continued customer satisfaction. In other words, they haven’t bought into the program or the true intent of the standard.  Focusing only on that one benefit — your immediate gain — without putting the customer in front will end up costing you much more in the long run.

2. Increase Revenue and Business from New Customers

Once you earn your ISO 9001 certification, you can advertise your quality certification and respond to Requests for Quotes (RFQ) from companies that make ISO 9001 certification a “must-have”.  ISO 9001 certification can open up new markets you were virtually unable to do business with before your certification.

Yet, companies are not advertising their ISO certification enough, costing them potential business. Transition or implementation of a new standard is the perfect time to share that the company has achieved this important recognition with your potential customers, current customers, and stakeholders. Consider a link to a copy of your ISO certificate right on your website.

3. Improve Company and Product Quality

quality management system standard is all about quality so, of course, one result of adopting a QMS should be an improved level of quality for the entire organization — every process, and every product. Organizations should use the ISO series of standards to develop a QMS that is integrated into the way they do business, and assist in achieving their strategic business objectives – adding value.

Unfortunately, some organizations may have missed the mark and created a bureaucratic set of procedures and records that don’t reflect the reality of the way the organization actually works and simply add unnecessary costs, without adding value. When the business system is the same as the quality system processes, the value of ISO and certification become more logical and value-added for the business.

4. Describe, Understand, and Communicate Your Company Processes

The ISO 9001 QMS standard requires that you identify and describe your processes using business metrics, the purpose of which is to better manage and control your business processes. Quality objectives or your business process goals form the center of your system. Metrics are used to understand and communicate your system’s performance and trends relative to your quality objectives. The level of monitoring, measurement and improvement of each process will depend on the organization’s context, strategic intent and determined risks and opportunities.

Companies may identify too many processes. So it is important to understand the differences between a process, a procedure and an activity. We recommend less than 10 core processes, and fewer is commonly better.  Looking at your business from a 50,000 foot view to understand the high level business processes needed to deliver the products or services you provide your customers are the core processes ISO wants you to define.  Everything from sales, to new product development, to production planning, to production or providing a service, and finally delivery are the processes to identify for your business.  A flow diagram is most commonly used with the linkages and interactions between each.  Each of these core processes needs to have at least one objective that is measured to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of that process. Problems can also occur when companies don’t have set metrics on which to evaluate processes and manage the control of their business processes.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has created a useful whitepaper to explain the Process ApproachContact simpleQuE to see how our consultants can assist your company with these problems or other areas of concern.

 

 

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The Benefits of Working with a Management System Consultancy

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Ultimately companies hire a management consultancy firm like simpleQuE to save both time and money. Working with experienced professionals can help businesses achieve their objectives quickly and avoid costly mistakes along the way. And thanks to their specialized knowledge, quality and environmental management consultants can help innovate, improve and enhance organizations at every level.

Businesses of all sizes seeking to outperform their competitors and stay at the top of their industry are increasingly choosing to work with QMS and EMS consultants. When selecting a consultancy, they’re looking for someone who can provide tangible results and a clear return on investment. The best consultant-client relationships are based on clarity and transparency, where both parties have set clear roles and expectations and put in place a system to effectively measure results.

Management consultants help organizations improve their business by analyzing their systems and processes and developing plans to help them improve. Whether it’s preparing for first time certification, upgrading to a new standard, simplifying cumbersome quality systems and documentation, or defining processes and process mapping, simpleQuE can help.

Each management consultancy offers different specializations and simpleQuE’s consultants are proven experts in their respective fields. We bring experience from all sides of the table—third party auditor, business owner, management representative, implementer, facilitator, project manager, etc.—in areas including general manufacturing and service, automotive, aerospace, environmental and safety.

After performing a gap analysis, we offer customized solutions for each client we work with. Our strength is in evaluating and understanding your business and culture to find the solutions that will be most efficient and sustainable over time. We’re known as the consultant that simplifies ISO implementation and maintenance.  And simpleQuE is even ISO 9001:2015 certified – proof that we practice what we preach.

No company is exactly the same, and every company’s needs for certification are unique as well. At simpleQuE, we tailor our approach closely to your specific needs and deliver exactly the consulting, auditing and training services your company requires. Our approach eliminates confusion and ensures your company is investing only in the work that is required for certification. Contact us to see how we can add value to your business!

5 Steps To Manage Your Environmental Impact And Boost Growth

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Twenty years ago small businesses focused on one thing: how to make profits. Today, environmental impact is turning out to be just as important as meeting the bottom line. Here’s how to manage it for growth:

  • Incorporate planning – the very first place to start with addressing environmental impact and risks is to include them in strategic planning at every level. Because ISO 14001 is the cornerstone of environmental standards for a business, planning is essential. If the matter isn’t addressed to begin with from the top down, one of two things occur: 1) no one internally treats the matter as a priority, and 2) responses that do occur end up being ad hoc and disparate, which often incurs more costs than expected.
  • Anticipate that not everyone will be happy at first – getting environmentally focused is still a politically-charged approach. Education is probably the best response, even though it may require a bit more effort. At the end of the day, however, socially-conscious businesses sometimes have to stake out a claim. Choose wisely and then stay the course.
  • Embrace leadership – businesses that really break out and become the major players using ISO 14001 as their environmental management system are not necessarily the biggest in their industry. Smart businesses are out ahead looking for these leadership opportunities to craft their own path and market niche before anyone else.
  • Use size to an advantage – Being a small business comes with a lot of advantages in terms of flexibility and speed for adjusting to changes. Rather than a big bureaucracy involved in shutting down an assembly line, small business can test the waters far more rapidly and frequently with new ideas in environmental impact and that’s a huge competitive advantage when used effectively.
  • Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water – Every new change should have a thorough cost-benefit analysis. There are plenty of existing quality management procedures that align with ISO 14001, including ISO 9001 and IATF 16949.

SimpleQuE offers customized consulting solutions for all sizes of Aerospace, Automotive, Laboratory, Manufacturing and Service organizations. When it comes to environmental impact and responsibility, ISO 14001 certification makes good business sense for businesses small and large, across all industries.

Risky Business vs Risk-Intelligent Business

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Digitalization, globalization, competition and the speed of technological advances has changed the nature of business.  ISO 9001:2015 has been in effect for a full year and it places a heavy emphasis on using “risk-based thinking” for managing quality-related processes. Risk has always been implicit in ISO 9001.  But the latest revision asks organizations to make a cultural shift—rather than focusing on isolated problem solving and resolution, they’ll focus on prevention and performance improvement.

The International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) explains it this way:

“Risk based thinking ensures these risks are identified, considered and controlled throughout the design and use of the quality management system”.

Under the new guidelines, risk management serves as the cornerstone of quality management system design. As organizations determine the processes needed for a quality management system, they’re also asked to determine the associated risks and opportunities and to plan and implement appropriate actions to address them.

In the context of ISO, the concept of “risk” relates to the uncertainty in achieving the main objectives of International Standards—namely, to provide confidence in the organization’s ability to consistently provide customers with conforming goods and services, and to enhance customer satisfaction. Risk is the possibility of events or activities preventing an organization from achieving its strategic and operational goals.

This shift in thinking does not replace the standard’s process-oriented approach, but enhances it. While the process is still a critical part of ISO 9001:2015, processes must now be implemented with an acute awareness of risk.

Organizations are asked to identify, analyze and prioritize all potential risks as they undergo building or adapting their existing quality management implementations for updated certification.

Risks can be defined by two parameters—the severity, or seriousness, of the harm, and the probability that the harm will occur. Risks can be assessed based on the likelihood they will occur, the likelihood they can be detected, and potential impact should they occur. From there, risks are evaluated based on their importance (what is acceptable, what is unacceptable?) and actions are planned to address the risks, whether that’s avoiding or eliminating the risk or mitigating it.

Once plans are implemented, it’s essential for organizations to check the effectiveness of their actions and continually learn from experience.

What’s the best way to document risk-based thinking and demonstrate the approach during audits?. Evaluate how you evaluate risks today with the processes you have. Understand how you decide when risks are acceptable or unacceptable.  ISO wants to see that you record identified risks when action is required, and the action steps to be taken. 

Putting into place the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) methodology can be a great way to define, implement and control corrective actions and improvements. Companies should Plan what to do and how to do it, Do what was planned, Check that things happened according to plan, and Act on how to improve the next time around.

Companies have two years to make the transition to ISO 9001:2015, as certifications for the 2008 edition will expire after September 2018.

SimpleQuE was one of the first consulting companies to be ISO 9001:2015 certified and we’re ready to assist organizations with transition or implementation.  Please visit our website for more information about our services.

How Does ISO 9001 Affect the Bottom Line?

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ISO standards impact businesses, governments and societies worldwide in a powerful and positive manner by providing practical tools for sustainable development.  This sustainability is incorporated economically, environmentally and socially, but many business owners want to know how these standards will affect their bottom line.  Continue reading “How Does ISO 9001 Affect the Bottom Line?”

4 Aspects of a Better Business With ISO 9001

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Successful business leaders know that a good quality management system results in overall efficiency and improvement for the organization.  However, when there is a lack of consistent processes, inefficiency is inevitable.  Without uniformity, audit trails or accountability, it is difficult to identify and fix the gaps in the system, which can result in loss of time and money and not meeting performance objectives. Continue reading “4 Aspects of a Better Business With ISO 9001”