Stelfast Maintains Their Quality Tradition – Achieves ISO 9001:2015 Certification

Stelfast

Stelfast is a family owned and operated company, which began operations in 1972 as a small and progressive manufacturer of industrial gears and screw machine products. Seeing the need in the market for a reliable and quality oriented fastener company, Stelfast incorporated in 1976 and today is a leading importer; stocking master distributor of fasteners and specialty parts from Asia, Europe, and South America; and manufacturer of truck and specialty fasteners. With a knowledgeable and dedicated team of employees, Stelfast has expanded to include an automotive division and ten regional distribution centers across North America.

As evidence of their commitment to quality, the Stelfast Quality Control Department, based in Strongsville, OH, is responsible for all of their branches to ensure conformance to customer requirements. The ISO-9001 certified facility includes a Quality Lab with measurement and testing equipment specifically used for fastener inspection and testing.

When it was time to upgrade to ISO 9001:2015, Stelfast turned to simpleQuE consultant, Jen Briese to provide certification support and guidance for implementation and improvements of the quality management system. This included a full system internal audit, in preparation for their external surveillance audit. The end result – Stelfast is now ISO 9001:2015 certified!

The quality department is also responsible for maintaining all suppliers certifications, which are kept on file for customers to meet dimensional, material and mechanical properties as required by specifications and customer requirements. Stelfast Quality also performs internal audits to assure compliance to their own strict quality guidelines. PPAPs are generated to meet both AIAG and customer specific requirements. At Stelfast, customer satisfaction is priority one and the Quality Control Department helps to assure that this happens. Stelfast President, Simmi Sakhuja says, “We have a catch phrase around here: ‘GET IT DONE.’ We do everything we can to support our suppliers and satisfy our customers.”

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Quality + Certification = Success!

SimpleQuE congratulates the following companies on their successful certification and commitment to quality.

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SimpleQuE (an ISO 9001:2015 certified company) assists organizations with implementation, improvement or transition of these standards by providing customized consulting, training and internal auditing services and solutions. Contact us for more information.

ISO 9001 Myths and Their Reality

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ISO 9001 is the world’s most used management system standard, existing for almost 30 years, it tends to fall into the gap where many people have heard about it, but not many fully understand what the standard involves. As a result, there are common myths about ISO 9001 that simpleQuE can help to clarify.

Is it complicated and difficult to implement?
In most cases, no. SimpleQuE was one of the first consulting companies in the world to become ISO 9001:2015 certified, so we know what it takes to transition to the new standard. It is possible to simplify ISO implementation, transition, training and maintenance, by integrating simple solutions that fit into your company’s culture.  This can be done with a gap audit checklist to identify where you’re already in compliance and more effectively target only those areas that need work.

Isn’t ISO 9001 an outdated model?
While it is true that ISO 9001 has been around since 1987, it has evolved through several revisions to match the changing needs of business. Today there is instant access to information, higher expectations from customers, more complex supply chains and a globally competitive economy.  ISO 9001:2015 takes all of these factors into account.

Isn’t ISO 9001 a standard that only benefits big corporations?
This is not the case. ISO 9001 is intended to be a set of requirements that can be used by any company, of any size, in any industry. The requirements are written as a set of best practices needed to control all the processes of a business system – no matter what the company does. The standard is designed to be flexible; the focus is on improving quality and customer satisfaction, which every organization can benefit from including:

  • More efficient use of resources and improved financial performance,
  • Improved risk management and protection of people and the environment, and
  • Increased capability to deliver consistent and improved services and products, thereby increasing value to customers and all other stakeholders.

Will everything have to be monitored and measured?
Processes do have to be monitored and measured to ensure that they are performing as designed, however, the standard allows a company to consider the impact that a process has on product/service conformity and the effectiveness of the Quality Management System (QMS) when determining what to monitor or measure and the method to be adopted.  A good QMS will help with monitoring performance and driving improvement.

Is ISO 9001 is the sole responsibility of the quality manager or department?
This couldn’t be farther from the truth, since the requirements cover every aspect of the business – from planning through delivery and post-delivery of your product or service.

Doesn’t ISO 9001 cost a lot to implement?
The question of cost will depend on the size and complexity of the organization and the competency of the personnel. Basic implementation pricing should be competitive and reasonable, depending if the work is done internally or through an external consulting service. The overall outcome of these activities should be to reduce costs through improvements and increase revenues through satisfied customers. Your return on investment should be well above the costs. Note that ISO certification is a separate additional cost.

SimpleQue can customize consulting for your organization and provide simple solutions while clearing up any misconceptions about ISO 9001 and how it can benefit your organization. Contact us today to find out more information and how simpleQue can help!

Look Fors – Part 2: Leadership

Stock quotes price charts and a magnifying glass with stock price in detail.

Would you like to know what 3rd party auditors are looking for when auditing how your company complies with quality system standards like ISO 9001:2015? 

What are 3rd party auditors looking for?  This is the second of a three part series by Jim Lee, President of simpleQuE

Clause 5 of ISO 9001:2015 – Leadership

Leadership is the focus of this clause, which means top management now has greater accountability, responsibility and involvement in the organization’s management system. The standard wants to see that leadership demonstrates leadership and support for the quality management system (QMS). They need to integrate the QMS into the organization’s business strategic direction, to ensure the management system achieves its intended outcomes and allocate the necessary resources. Top management is also responsible for communicating the importance of the QMS and enhancing employee awareness and involvement.

With this clause there is a requirement that top management will be present and leading the implementation and monitoring of the QMS.  Processes within the QMS must have process owners. In addition, leadership shall demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to customer focus and the continual improvement aspect of the business.  3rd party auditors will be scheduling time with the management and leadership team asking questions and looking for the items below as objective evidence.

  • Established and communicated quality policy, objectives, strategic direction, and performance
  • Organizational chart, job descriptions and other evidence that responsibilities and authorities are defined and communicated
  • Metrics evaluated in the Management Review and the overall effectiveness of the key business processes
  • Actions being taken when goals are not met, and when trends for performance are going the wrong way. They want to see management is looking at the data and taking actions when necessary.
  • Promotion of risk based thinking and evidence of risk management processes with action items when risks are too high. This might include contingency plans, safety stocks, inventory levels, supplier selection and qualification process, etc. as a very few of the many possible ways to demonstrate this.
  • Involvement in audit activity and reviewing the outcomes and assessing the risks and actions that might be necessary for the QMS
  • Customer satisfaction and perception
  • Identification of contract terms and conditions and customer requirements, including any laws that must be met. How are these evaluated, understood, communicated and implemented in the departments that need to know and comply?
  • Evidence of continued improvement , which denotes that performance is monitored and tracked with trends
  • The company’s context changes over time, and the needs of stakeholders too. Management needs to be aware of the changing context and issues affecting the business to adjust the strategic direction.

Not that all of the elements listed above will be needed, but organizations may risk failure if they do not:

  • Identify process owners
  • Use metrics to monitor performance of the QMS
  • Include performance metrics in the Management Review
  • Develop action plans when performance goals are not met
  • Develop customer communication processes
  • Respond to customer complaints
  • Consider results of customer feedback/surveys and take appropriate actions
  • Identify internal customer requirements
  • Make improvement part of the quality policy
  • Align roles and responsibilities with processes
  • Contingency and emergency roles and responsibilities not defined
  • Have appropriate training and awareness of the ISO 9001:2015 requirements

Coming soon – Part 3 and what auditors are looking for in regard to Risk.  Also, read more about Context of the Organization in Part 1.

Source:  NQA’s Teaming Conference – August 2017

Look Fors – Part 1: Context of the Organization

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What are 3rd party auditors looking for?  This is the first of a three part series by Jim Lee, President of simpleQuE

Clause 4 of Annex SL – Context of the Organization

This is the cornerstone of a management system and the business’ strategic direction.  An organization needs to identify internal and external issues that can impact its intended outcomes, as well as all interested parties and their requirements.  It needs to document its scope and set the boundaries of the management system to line up with business objectives.

The context doesn’t have to be documented, so 3rd party auditors (as well as internal auditors) will be asking questions of various management members, and looking for these as objective evidence that an organization understands its context and considers all the factors and stakeholders affecting the business.  The items listed below don’t have to exist, but if they do, you want to take credit for them in understanding the context.  Some items may not by themselves demonstrate an understanding of the context, but combined with multiple examples, can provide the evidence an auditor is looking for.

  • Business plan
  • Strategic plan
  • SWOT analysis (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats)
  • Vision and mission statement
  • Process mapping
  • External parties identified
  • Lesson learned
  • Surveys
  • Internal meeting minutes to determine company goal setting
  • Metrics to measure effectiveness of QMS
  • Process turtle diagrams
  • Process flow plans
  • Quality manual

Not that all of the elements listed above will be needed, but organizations may risk failure if they do not:

  • Identify or understand their primary competitors
  • Mention civic responsibility
  • Consider future business trends
  • Identify all customer requirements
  • Identify local/state/national requirements
  • Identify required outputs needed for internal customers
  • Identify uncertainties like negative risks or positive opportunities
  • Determine the processes used to flow the business from quote to delivery
  • Identify outsources processes
  • Establish process goals

 

Coming in future articles – what auditors are looking for in regard to Leadership and Risk.

 

ISO Trivia

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Quality Excellence is the foundation of our business at simpleQuE, as well as part of our name – (notice the Qu and E).  To celebrate National Trivia Day, we gathered some interesting facts from around the world about Quality Management and its important role in every business we serve. We hope you enjoy this fun trivia and learn something new about ISO and quality.

Happy Trivia Day!

  1. The term ISO (as in ISO standard) derives from the Greek word “isos,” which means equal.
  2. Many quality terms, tools, and methods were popularized in Japan— kaizen, gemba, muda, kanban, etc.
  3. In Germany, 77 percent of organizations provide ISO training and 82 percent provide general quality management training—the highest of any group of organizations.(2)
  4. The Pareto principle, or 80-20 rule, states that 80 percent of problems come from 20 percent of causes, and that management should concentrate on the 20 percent. It was popularized by Joseph M. Juran.
  5. Twenty percent of senior executives rate their quality programs as world class, but only 5 percent of quality professionals do the same. (4)
  6. Philip B. Crosby is perhaps best known for promoting a standard of excellence based on nothing—the concept of zero defects.
  7. The “Big Q” refers to comparing differences between managing for quality in all business processes and products; while the “little q” relates to managing quality in a limited capacity, traditionally in factory products and processes.
  8. One of the world’s best-known standards is ISO 9001.
  9. Plan-do-check-act is not only the name of a popular process improvement method, it’s also the title of a music CD released in 2014 by a New Jersey-based rock trio Recovery Council.
  10. Edwards Deming introduced the 14 points for management, which, he said, “have one aim: to make it possible for people to work with joy.”

 

Sources:

  1. Time Magazine, http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1908719_1908717_1908537,00.html
  2. ASQ Global State of Quality research, 2013. www.globalstateofquality.org
  3. The Economic Impacts of Inadequate Infrastructure for Software study, prepared by RTI for the National of Standards and Technology, 2002. http://www.nist.gov/director/planning/upload/report02-3.pdf
  4. ASQ/Forbes Insights Culture of Quality, 2014. www.cultureofquality.org

LSI Combines Unique Lighting and Graphics Capabilities to Deliver Image-Enhancing Cost Saving Opportunities to Customers Nationwide

Photo from left to right:  Larry Vance, VP SimpleQuE; Yvette Kilburn, Corporate ISO Coordinator, LSI;  Shawn Toney, President of LSI Lighting;  Virgilio Acevedo, Corporate Director of Quality
Photo from left to right: Larry Vance, VP SimpleQuE; Yvette Kilburn, Corporate ISO Coordinator, LSI; Shawn Toney, President of LSI Lighting; Virgilio Acevedo, Corporate Director of Quality

Whether it’s from New York’s George Washington Bridge to multitudes of CVS retail locations or Burger King restaurants around the country, LSI Industries’ high-performance, energy-efficient lighting and image-enhancing graphics are optimizing customers’ brands, products and services.  For 40 years, LSI has been proudly serving the commercial, industrial, institutional and specification markets with a broad offering of architectural and professional-grade lighting fixtures utilizing a range of integrated controls and lighting technologies from LED to traditional HID and fluorescent.

LSI is committed to advancing solid-state LED technology to make affordable, high performance, energy-efficient lighting and custom graphic products that bring value to their customers. With a vast offering of innovative solutions for virtually any lighting or graphics application, LSI provides sophisticated lighting and energy management control solutions to help customers manage their energy performance. And in addition, offers a full range of design support, engineering, installation and project management services to customers.

LSI’s major markets include commercial / industrial lighting, entertainment venues, petroleum / convenience stores and multi-site retail facilities (including automobile dealerships, restaurants and national retail accounts). Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, LSI has facilities both there and in seven other states.

Guided by Larry Vance, Jim Bannan and a team of simpleQuE consultants, LSI achieved ISO 9001:2015 certification through Eagle RegistrationsCongratulations LSI Lighting!

The Quality Connection

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As a consulting company, simpleQuE specializes in quality and environmental management systems and we are frequently asked what services we provide and how we are different from a certification body. This article explains the objectives, roles and responsibilities of the organization, consulting company and certification body to provide a better understanding of the connection between all three.

Organization (Manufacturing or Service Company)

Seeks to achieve one or more of the following objectives:

  • Implement and develop a new quality (QMS) and/or environmental management system (EMS)
  • Upgrade certification or expand to a new standard
  • Improve and/or simplify an existing QMS or EMS registration
  • Obtain certification

Consulting Company (simpleQuE)

Assists organizations with implementation, improvement or transition by:

  • Providing customized consulting, training and internal auditing services and solutions
  • Assessing existing processes through a gap analysis and developing an action plan
  • Offering internal and supplier audits
  • Training for internal auditors and management including implementation and full standard reviews

Helps organization partner with Certification Body:

  • Assuring a common language for auditing and interpretation of the standard so it corresponds with the expectations of the Certification Body and requirements of the standard

Certification Body (Registrar)

Issues certifications: Provides organizations a resource for management system certification by evaluating policies and procedures to verify implementation and effectiveness against the specific requirements of the standard.  Assessment consists of a series of audits:

  • Document review (sometimes combined with Stage 1)
  • Initial certification audit – Stage 1
    • Confirm that organization is ready (or not) for a full Certification Audit. Typically 30-60 days prior to the Stage 2 Certification Audit.
    • Verifies required documentation exists, certain requirements have been met such as a full internal audit completed, a management review completed, and risks considered.
    • Verifies processes have been established and is appropriate for the scope of certification, and that appropriate monitoring and measuring of processes are in place with appropriate objectives.
    • Plans the Certification Audit based on information and data gathered
  • Certification audit – Stage 2
    • A full QMS or EMS audit. Confirms that the management system fully conforms to the requirements of the standard.
    • Certification is issued upon successful completion of Stage 2 assessment and closure of any findings.
  • Surveillance audit
    • Certification is maintained through a series of annual surveillance audits (sometimes semi-annual). Every third year a full recertification audit is performed and a new certificate issued.

In summary, good communication between all partners is important to ensure all requirements and objectives are met in a simple straightforward way to comply with the standard. At simpleQuE we partner with the client and Certification Body to make quality excellence “simple”.

Congratulations NOSHOK!

Barry Rowley, Quality Assurance Manager (LEFT) and Christian Cole, Vice President (RIGHT) proudly display NOSHOK’s ISO 9001:2008 banner at the factory in Berea, Ohio.    Photo courtesy of: Jennifer Briese, simpleQuE Lead Consultant who worked with Chris and the entire NOSHOK team for 3 months to prepare for the certification.  
Barry Rowley, Quality Assurance Manager (LEFT) and Christian Cole, Vice President (RIGHT) proudly display NOSHOK’s ISO 9001:2008 banner at the factory in Berea, Ohio.
Photo courtesy of: Jennifer Briese, simpleQuE Lead Consultant who worked with Chris and the entire NOSHOK team for 3 months to prepare for the certification.

Established in 1967, NOSHOK, Inc. was one of the first companies to offer a liquid filled pressure gauge. Since that time they’ve established a foundation of quality and value, and grown to be an industry leader in the international marketplace, delivering Measurement Solutions to a wide variety of industries.

NOSHOK’s products meet and exceed the application requirements of OEM’s and industrial users seeking exceptional quality, reliability and value. Industry-leading warranties back all of their products and their quality is evidenced by their ISO 9001:2008 certification with Eagle Certification Group.

Way to go Team NOSHOK!