VEGA Grieshaber KG is a global manufacturer of process instrumentation. Its product portfolio includes sensors for measurement of level, point level, pressure as well as equipment and software for integration into process control systems. Its subsidiary, VEGA Americas, focuses on the design, manufacturing and servicing (including Radiation Safety Training) of Nuclear Measurement Systems. The facility also manufactures, tests and services the full range of VEGA Measurement Systems.
Because quality and measurement go hand in hand, VEGA has been ISO 9001 certified since 1997. When the company needed to transition to the new standard, they utilized the expertise of simpleQuE quality consultant, Don Milinkovich, to conduct a gap analysis. Following an action plan to close any gaps, VEGA Americas achieved ISO 9001:2015 recertification through Eagle Certification Group. Congratulations to the VEGA team where they know how to Run, Improve and Grow (and even have a designated champion just for that purpose)!
This week, while Vice President, Deanne Sparr, is attending AIAG’s 2018 Southern Automotive Quality Summit in Birmingham, AL, President, Jim Lee, has immersed himself in everything space and defense at ASQ’s Collaboration on Quality in the Space and Defense Industries conference and NASA’s Quality Leadership Forum.
These types of industry conferences and training keeps us at the forefront of the latest rules, regulations, trends and best practices to share with our consultants and clients across the aerospace, defense and automotive industries.
For example: At the NQA Global session, it was reported that as of mid-February only 29 percent of aerospace businesses had transitioned to the AS9100:2016 standard, however, as of last week it was up to 41% with a target of 50% by the end of March. Deadline for all to transition is September 14, 2018.
From Exploring Space – Is It Safe? presented by Astronaut Bill McArthur, to NASA conducted Counterfeit Parts Awareness and Inspection Training, quality is the topic interwoven throughout the conference and the critical piece that all in the industry rely on to launch us into space. Check back for more news as we process all of the great information we’ve gathered from the sessions.
Post by Jim Lee
Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle… all were US manned space programs from 1961 through 2011. Why is it so different now with SpaceX, Orbital ATK, Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada Corp., Virgin Galactic, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin competing to put man in space? Why is a commercial crew program such a big deal? I asked these questions at the Collaboration on Quality in the Space and Defense Industries conference and got a variety of opinions about the collaboration between government and these industries. Here’s my takeaway from the conference.
- NASA wanted to take their 50 years of manned space flight experience with Mission Assurance and partner with the innovative aerospace industry to come up with cutting edge solutions to take astronauts into space. This included design, development, manufacturing, and operation in rapid succession that is more efficient and effective than the US government could do on their own.
- All of these industry players are either private companies or large corporations, not the US government.
- NASA wants to be a customer for these services, but doesn’t want to be the only customer. If an interested company didn’t have other customers and uses for the technology and solutions, then NASA wasn’t interested in partnering with them.
- You might have to take 2 steps backward to take 10 steps forward for continual improvement. NASA learned that they had to let go of some of their oversight and restrictions, and let these other companies take responsibility for what happens in their buildings. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center just created new values of being helpful, building relationships, and knowing what matters. Part of this speaks to their focus on the safety of the astronauts and total mission assurance, and leaving the innovation companies at KSC to take their own responsibility for safety, quality and internal mission assurance. NASA wouldn’t get involved unless one of these tenants would affect stakeholders outside their buildings. This is a big change in philosophy and culture.
- Taking 2 steps backward to take 10 steps forward cannot include loss of life.
- NASA has to rely on these new companies that have never put a human in space. There is lost organizational knowledge from NASA that has to be relearned with these new technologies and innovations.
- Where it doesn’t matter, get out of the way and let capitalism and entrepreneurs provide innovations never imagined. If you’ve never seen the SpaceX first stage rockets return to earth and land, it’s like throwing a pencil and it landing upright on its eraser. That’s just one example of the many innovations.
- I also asked about Russia’s and China’s manned space programs, both of which are fully government funded. Is this possibly our opportunity to leave them in the dust by taking an approach to draw funds from a broader pool, and leap past current technology using more government/corporate resources?
Sustaining a Quality Foundation in Challenging Times
SimpleQuE president, Jim Lee, eagerly anticipates attending the Collaboration on Quality in the Space and Defense Industries conference then taking part in the informational NASA Quality Leadership Forum that follows. He’s set to join others in the industry who are focused on sustaining a quality foundation at the conference and forum, running March 12-15 in Cape Canaveral, Florida, not far from simpleQuE’s Space Coast office.
The American Society for Quality has designed the conference specifically for those working with organizations in the space and defense industries. Government and industry leaders representing NASA, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman will discuss the latest policies and practices.
For SimpleQuE, the conference will provide invaluable information, trends and best practices to share with our clients, allowing us to become even more effective when consulting with manufacturers and suppliers in the aerospace industry.
In the days following the conference, the NASA Quality Leadership Forum will offer a great mix of speakers who will provide the NASA assurance context, delve deeply into specific quality management issues, find issue resonance across agency lines, and a refreshed understanding of quality sub-discipline areas.
Forum topics will include lessons learned, emerging trends, quality threats and risk mitigation techniques of particular relevance in today’s rapidly evolving and cost-constrained environment. Of particular interest is the Counterfeit Parts Awareness and Inspection Training that Jim and simpleQuE aerospace consultant, Doreen Everett will be attending.
Attendees can look forward to hearing about the work of industry leaders and strengthening their network. More importantly, the forum offers a chance to meet colleagues face to face, with the potential to build and strengthen relationships. It’s an excellent opportunity to keep the quality management community vibrant and looking toward the future.
SimpleQuE is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company that provides consulting, training and auditing services for the AS9100 series of standards to assist organizations in successfully meeting transition and implementation targets.
The International Automotive Task Force just released Revision 5 of the IATF 16949 Transition Strategy and Requirements. This revision of the Transition Strategy document incorporates a new FAQ no. 20 that clarifies questions for those situations where a previously certified IATF 16949 organization has to start over with an initial certification audit to IATF 16949.
Wonder Machine Services, Inc. is a fully integrated precision CNC machining company founded in 1976 in Avon, Ohio. The company serves a wide array of industries including medical, aerospace, and automation and is focused on satisfying their customers by manufacturing high quality products that meet their needs. To achieve this, each employee is committed to comply with the requirements and continually improve the effectiveness of the Quality Management System. Their recent transition to AS9100D (Aerospace) and ISO 9001:2015 certification demonstrates their commitment to quality. With the assistance of simpleQuE consultants, Jen Briese and Jim Lee, they passed their SAI Global certification audit with no findings. Congratulations to the team at Wonder Machine!
Whether your company is in the manufacturing or service industry, if you were considering implementing a new accounting or software system, which was completely outside of your staff’s expertise, wouldn’t you consider contracting with someone considered an expert in that particular area?
The same principle applies when it comes to ISO, AS or IATF certification. Hiring a consultant to prepare your company for certification can be well worth the investment, whether you’re going through certification for the first time or transitioning to a new quality standard (for instance, changing from ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015).
Often, business owners, and sometimes even quality managers, don’t have the time or adequate knowledge of the standard to do a gap analysis and prepare an action plan themselves. An experienced consultant has gone through the implementation process in a variety of industries, and will be able to quickly understand your company’s processes and how to most effectively recognize gaps in the requirements. Going with an experienced consultant who has a significant track record in planning, developing and implementing systems greatly increases the likelihood of a successful certification.
It’s certainly possible for a company to implement a system on its own. However, doing so can prove to be detrimental to other areas of the business as resources are often stretched too thin. The employees responsible for implementing the system could fall behind on other obligations, and these setbacks can quickly outweigh any money saved by not hiring a consultant from the start.
An often overlooked benefit to hiring a consultant is objectivity. An outside consultant can bring a fresh and unbiased perspective to your company and systems. You’ll often find that a consultant provides simple and sustainable solutions that may have been overlooked by your own team.
Additionally, by hiring a consultant you’ll ensure you’re putting the right person in charge of the project. Implementing ISO, AS or IATF standards requires a strong leader who can oversee a coordinated effort. Most consultants are natural leaders able to energize all parties involved and keep the project moving forward at a good pace. Depending on the complexity of your processes, a consultant can help you focus on only what is required for certification, often finishing the project in less time than it would take using your company’s own resources.
In seeking a consultant you’ll want to make sure they have the skills relevant to your organization and industry. SimpleQuE consultants have educational backgrounds and work experience that make them experts in their fields. In addition, many are current or former 3rd party auditors and ready to serve in an advisory role or for implementation, project management, training or internal auditing. SimpleQuE can assist in first-time systems development for certification; upgrading certification to a new standard; simplifying a cumbersome quality system and documentation; defining processes and process mapping; documentation and systems implementation; internal audits and gap analysis for improving your quality or environmental management system.
No matter the size of your company or the industry, having ISO or other certification will distinguish you from the competition. Hiring a consultant can help you achieve certification with ease, after all, it’s what simpleQuE is known for – Simple Quality Excellence.
SimpleQuE has consultants throughout the Eastern U.S. that can guide you through the certification process in ISO 9001, ISO 14001, IATF 16949, and the AS9100 series of standards.
The number of ISO registered companies in the United States continues to grow at a rapid rate. At the same time, there is a growing trend toward forming sustainable relationships with quality-focused and environmentally conscious businesses. However, there is still a misunderstanding that ISO standards are only applicable to and beneficial for large corporations and manufacturers.
Is ISO certification a good investment for entrepreneurs?
While it is a common misconception that ISO certifications are only for big businesses, this is simply not true. The standards set forth by ISO are generic by design so that they may be applied to businesses of any size, type, or product line. Having an ISO certification provides the solid foundation entrepreneurs need to build a successful business.
Benefits of ISO Certification
ISO standards take a holistic approach to improving business functionality and growth through consistency; and are just as much about improving processes as they are about improving products and services. Consider the following benefits to your business:
Entrepreneurial companies are at a greater risk than established organizations – and have a more compelling need to identify and manage risk. If a young company doesn’t have policies, processes and procedures that are standardized, it risks wasting resources. And smaller companies are often not in a position to absorb that loss.
In order to adhere to standards, entrepreneurs are required to establish processes that are clearly defined, documented and monitored. Objectives are also established and progress is measured, so you can see how your business grows.
According to a 2015 analysis of 92 studies, three out of five businesses saw an improvement to their bottom line as a result of ISO standards. This revenue increase was slightly higher than non-certified businesses and was primarily due to improved operations.
Standards open the door to new markets. Certain opportunities, such as government contracts for example, are only available to ISO certified businesses. In addition, many ISO standards are recognized internationally, which increases your credibility in international markets.
ISO certification provides your current and potential business relationships the assurance that you have the relevant processes in place to deliver what is required, giving your business the competitive edge. No business is too small to be ISO certified. If you are an entrepreneur and ready to take the next step in improving your business and quality management system, contact simpleQuE to find out how to get started.