Congratulations to the entire Die Craft Team!

Founded in 1970, Die Craft Machining and Engineering is a certified ISO 9001:2015 and ITAR Compliant corporation offering precision CNC machining fabrication, assembly and industrial repair services to support general industry in the greater Cincinnati area.  A broad range of machinery, combined with their talented workforce, allows them to service a variety of clients in Aerospace, Chemical, Defense, General Contracting, Food Processing, Paper, Rail Transportation, Steel and Utilities Industries steel, paper and pulp, chemical and construction.

Die Craft’s partnership with simpleQuE began in 2013 with a gap analysis to determine the actions necessary to implement ISO 9001. It was followed with consulting, training and guidance to support their efforts for successful ISO 9001:2008 certification.  SimpleQuE continued in the following years performing their internal audits.  In 2016 Die Craft began the transition to ISO 9001:2015 with a gap assessment by simpleQuE consultant, Don Milinkovich.  The quality team at Die Craft worked on the action plan and in October 2017 Don performed a validation audit to evaluate the quality management system against requirements for the new standard.  Success!  Die Craft passed their audit with Eagle Certifications Group to and transitioned to ISO 9001:2015.

What makes Die Craft stand out from the rest?  A philosophy that is centered on a partnering culture, delivering the complete approach for an unparalleled commitment to their customers’ success.  Die Craft can reverse engineer old parts as well as develop new solutions.  Analyzing every part that comes in the door for improvements is a regular part of the service they provide. Whether it’s customized services/products or engineering support, Die Craft’s long-term focus, through industry and knowledge-based planning, allows them to deliver cost effective solutions, reduce manufacturing lead times and improve quality.

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The Impact of ISO 14001:2015 on the Environment and the Workplace

Beautiful turquoise waters of the Moraine lake with snow-covered peaks above it in Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park, Canada.

Earth Day is April 22nd which is right around the corner and we are reminded how important it is to remember our corporate responsibility to the environment when we approach our daily tasks.  Every organization is different and so is its impact on the environment. Those that hold an ISO 14001:2015 certification ensures they are being good stewards of our environment.

An ISO 14001 certification ensures that there is “a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective environmental management system,” per the International Standards Organization (ISO). “Using ISO 14001:2015 can provide assurance to company management and employees as well as external stakeholders that environmental impact is being measured and improved.”

A workplace can be affected by company moral, especially when it is low. Allowing employees to see and experience firsthand an organization that has processes and procedures in place to protect the environment not only boosts moral but has been shown to improve the corporate image to its customers and to the public. When employees take part in company improvements, they are more apt to engage in other aspects of the company.  In fact, when potential job candidates are given the option to work for a company that shows they care and are concerned with the environment over one that does not, the majority prefer the first.  Employees who are involved in a group effort to decrease the company’s environmental footprint will often have an increased employee focus and retention, and it is simpler and less costly to keep employees than it is to recruit and train new ones.

Organizations using ISO 14001 have found success across a range of areas, including:

  • Reduced energy and water consumption
  • A more systematic approach to legal compliance
  • Improved overall environmental performance

As we acknowledge the significance of each person and organization to participate in being good stewards of our environment, our goal is that you understand the benefits of obtaining ISO 14001 certification and remember to do your part to care for Mother Earth.

IATF 16949 Transition Strategy and Requirements Update


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.

Download the IATF 16949 Transition Strategy and Requirements document

When Should You Hire a Quality Management System Consultant?

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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.

ISO Certification is Key to Entrepreneurial Success

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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:

Reduced Risk

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.

Improved Productivity

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.

Increased Revenue

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.

Growth Opportunities

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.

WRWP Makes the Calculated Jump to ISO 9001:2015

WRWP, LLC (Western Reserve Wire Products) has been designing, building and distributing wire harnesses since 1987.  Through the years they have evaluated and implemented more efficient means of production with state of the art equipment and manufacturing plants in China to reduce time and costs for their customers, while maintaining a high standard of quality.

The engineers at WRWP often work with their customers’ engineers in the design phase of new products to produce the best possible fit and function for the wire harness that will be needed, thus reducing unnecessary changes down the road.  And with that approach, in 2015 WRWP searched for a consulting firm that was the best fit and function to review their quality management system and develop a customized implementation plan to achieve ISO 9001:2008.  They selected simpleQuE, and with consulting and training support, achieved their certification.

Due to that success, when it was time to transition to ISO 9001:2015, they again turned to the experts at simpleQuE who utilized a Fast Track approach and developed an action plan while utilizing a detailed gap checklist to identify where WRWP was already compliant and where gaps existed.  Over the next several months with the guidance of simpleQuE consultants, their quality team worked hard to close the gaps while maintaining their quality system and improving internal processes. That preparation resulted in zero findings and certification to the new standard by Smithers Quality Assessments.  Congratulations to the team at WRWP!

Transition Time

The deadline for transition to ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, AS9100:2016 and IATF 16949:2016 is fast approaching. Have you completed the transition process? If not, take a look at our blog post “The Countdown Begins” to learn how to get started before it’s too late.

Note that if your next audit is a recertification and upgrade, you will need to perform the audit at least 2 months prior to your certificate expiring to give you enough time to address any potential nonconformance issues.

 

The 7 Major Components of IATF 16949

 

IATF 16949:2016 defines the quality management system requirements for the design and development, production and, when relevant, the assembly, installation and services of automotive-related products including products with embedded software. The focus of this automotive standard is the development of a QMS that provides for continual improvement, emphasizing defect prevention and the reduction of waste in the supply chain. Combined with applicable Customer Specific Requirements, IATF 16949 is also fully aligned with the structure and requirements of ISO 9001:2015.
The standard is divided into ten sections – the first three are introductory, with the remaining seven containing the requirements for the Quality Management System. Below is a brief summary of Sections 4-10:

Section 4: Context of the Organization

The organization determines its context in terms of the QMS, including interested parties and their needs and expectations. It also defines the requirements for determining the scope of the QMS, as well as general QMS requirements.

Section 5: Leadership

Top management is required to demonstrate leadership and commitment to the QMS, along with defining corporate responsibility and the quality policy. The top management must also assign process owners along with other roles and responsibilities.

Section 6: Planning

The planning section defines requirements for addressing risks and opportunities and the requirements for risk analysis. This clause also includes requirements for preventive actions, contingency plans, and quality objectives and plans to achieve them.

Section 7: Support

This section covers requirements for supporting processes and resources. It defines requirements for people, infrastructure, work environment, monitoring and measuring resources, organizational knowledge, auditor competence, awareness, communication, and documented information.

Section 8: Operation

The product requirements deal with all aspects of the planning and creation of the product or service. This section includes requirements on planning, product requirements review, design, purchasing, creating the product or service, and controlling the equipment used to monitor and measure the product or service. IATF 16949 allows for requirements in clause 8.3, regarding design and development of products, to be excluded if they are not applicable to the company.

Section 9: Performance Evaluation

This section includes requirements for monitoring the effectiveness of the QMS – assessing customer satisfaction, internal audits, monitoring and measurement of manufacturing processes, and management review.

Section 10: Improvement

The last section focuses on continual improvement of the QMS, including requirements for nonconformities and corrective actions, problem solving, and error-proofing processes.


These sections are based on a Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, which uses these elements to implement change within the processes of the organization in order to drive and maintain improvements within the processes.

IATF 16949 is a standard that benefits businesses large and small. The experts at simpleQuE can help your business achieve this standard, ensuring your business cost savings and efficiencies.