Archive for the ‘Aerospace and Defense’ Category

Are company objectives for quality really working as a tool for improvement?

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Part of our top ten series of reasons some companies are not getting the most from their quality system -

Reason #7 – Quality objectives are never changed

One of the key requirements in quality standards such as ISO 9001, ISO/TS 16949, AS9100 and others is that an organization must establish and measure objectives for quality. Even though this is just one of numerous requirements found in various ISO standards, this one key mandate may provide the most overall benefit to an organization.

Setting objectives for quality throughout the company and monitoring those objectives should provide a useful overview of how well processes are performing. At times, we see companies that establish simple goals and objectives that are too easily met and remain virtually unchanged, sometimes over a period of years. When this pattern of perceived “success” in meeting objectives is investigated, it is often exposed that there is a company culture that assumes it is better to portray a positive than display any type of negative trend to either customers or third party auditors.

This can be a major roadblock in making the quality system a true tool for continual improvement. It often fosters a feeling of apathy in many employees who view the quality system as simple window dressing for keeping the current customer base happy and impressing potential customers. Once this attitude becomes part of the overall organizational culture, it is tough to reverse – but not impossible.

A primary function of top management should be to examine if current objectives and goals are providing a true evaluation of overall performance. The key output of this review should be to establish new goals that may be more realistic in terms of driving process improvement. Just because an organization may not be meeting goals and objectives and an analysis of data may show a negative trend, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the company is a quality freight train wreck.

By linking continual improvement initiatives and programs to numbers that aren’t traveling in the desired direction shows that the organization is truly dedicated to continual improvement. Once the top management of an organization like that described above makes a strategic paradigm shift in reviewing and understanding quality objectives, good things will happen. It will not only make the company look stronger to customers and auditors, but to those employees who are hoping for real process improvement.

Top ten reasons for an ineffective QMS!

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Reason #9 – Negligence in training employees to properly use the system!

Competence, training and awareness for employees is more than just a simple ISO 9001 requirement – it is a major factor in the difference of having a system that will work as either a) a tool for continual improvement, or b) a worthless set of documents that are not followed.

Many third party auditors will often look at the training records of the oldest and newest employees as well as directly asking them questions as to how they access and utilize their system. It can be a very good barometer of how well the entire quality management system (QMS) is working.

The reason behind this type of audit sampling is that many company “veterans” will often provide candid feedback on portions of the system that are not operating as documented. In some instances, these employees will even reveal ways that the current system is bypassed for efficiency, especially when improvements to processes are not made. With new employees, training effectiveness is easy to assess based on whether the QMS information and training given to them is memorable, and then asking if they can actually demonstrate use of the system.

Training on the quality system for new hires and ongoing training for veteran employees should be a priority for any company looking to get the most out of their QMS.

For some creative ideas on how to get your employees trained as QMS experts, contact the ISO experts at G3 Solutions today!

New concepts in Team Building!

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

There have been many good quality ideas and programs that have come from Japanese manufacturing – i.e. 5s, KAIZEN, Total Quality Management (TQM), the Toyota Production System, etc. One area where they are not given enough credit is in team building – don’t believe us? Just watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwvVh0_ZelI

For less exhaustive team building ideas, contact G3 Solutions today!

Congratulations! You are now in charge of creating an ISO 9001 system – now what?

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Quite often, the G3 staff is asked to recommend a plan of action for people who find themselves in the position of “being volunteered” to put together an ISO 9001 (or any other ISO 9001-based standard) system for their company. Unfortunately, for employees that have little to no experience with quality standards, this can be an overwhelming task. We recommend the following steps:

Step 1 – Before you can plan what to do, you and the management team need to know what is required. Start with an overview training session on the standard for yourself followed by a session for top management. Strongly emphasize that the standard is process based and highlight the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model. All parties involved in the implementation must realize that the standard has a couple of key principles that are referenced all throughout the standard – customer satisfaction and continual improvement. The ultimate goal is to make all customers happy, but the method of getting to that goal is by the continual improvement of your processes. This is where top management needs to make a little paradigm shift – customer satisfaction means more than a reduction in phone calls from the customer yelling about something that wasn’t just right. It certainly means more than assuming a customer is happy if they continue to give orders for more products and services. Remember, customers can multi-task by giving your organization a new purchase order while giving a new supplier the thumbs up for the next order. By the time some realize the customer isn’t happy, it can be too late.

This is where continual improvement comes into play. By knowing what your customers think of the level of service and value they receive from your organization, your company can initiate the proper continual improvement objectives that can reduce or eliminate the problems and issues that can make their way to the customer.

This is why you need to get all of top management involved. Everyone must get a clear view of the big picture. Having a quality management system (QMS) based on the appropriate ISO standard should become the implementation of a quality philosophy and roadmap for doing things right. Stress that it is a quality management system by which the company will operate and oh, by the way, it just happens to comply with the ISO standard. After that, don’t mention the letters “ISO” – just QMS. Companies that implement systems based on the need to meet ISO requirements often find that employees put an emphasis on doing things just to meet the standard as opposed to improving the process.

Additional steps will be discussed in future posts. Visit g3iso.com for more info.

For AS9100, familiarity with OASIS is a must!

Monday, June 8th, 2009

If your organization is working on the implementation of AS9100, AS9110, or AS9120, the OASIS (Online Aerospace Supplier Information System) database resource is essential as an information tool. Maintained by SAE International, the system provides aerospace supplier certification and registration data that includes information on accreditation bodies, the certification bodies accredited for the scheme, auditors approved for the aerospace scheme and certified suppliers.

To use this resource, you must sign up and register. There is no charge to do this – sign up and registration is free. Simply go to www.sae.org/oasis and the on-line instructions are easy.

For more info or help with OASIS, contact the experts at G3 Solutions.

New (or maybe rumored) Corrective and Preventive Action requirements! Make sure your system is up to speed!

Friday, May 8th, 2009

In order to accommodate the rumored additional changes to ISO 9001:2008, you will need to incorporate the following form into your organizations Corrective and Preventive Action system. It is also rumored that these requirements will affect additional standards such as ISO/TS 16949, ISO 14001, AS9100, ISO 13485, ISO 22000 and various other standards.

Free download: iso-mil-hf-car-par

The downloadable form was developed by members of the military to facilitate the documentation of key personal issues into a corrective and preventive action format. If you have any questions or require any help in the application or requirements of this form, please contact G3 Solutions. We will do our best to aid in the development of your quality management system and sense of humor.

Records – are you keeping all that you should?

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Many companies registered to ISO 9001:2000 are now reviewing their quality management system (QMS) along with associated forms and documents to make sure that there is a smooth, trouble free certificate upgrade to ISO 9001:2008. This is a great opportunity to make sure that all records required to maintain the business are kept in such a way to satisfy the ISO 9001 clause 4.2.4, which states “Records shall remain legible, readily identifiable and retrievable.”

Companies should consider every record needed for the business, not just the ones listed for ISO 9001. Having all important records fall under the scope of the control of records procedure helps to provide real value in the QMS. If you have a system that is based on ISO 9001 but includes other requirements (e.g. – ISO/TS 16949, AS9100, ISO 13485, etc.), the list of records for 9001 is just the beginning of what needs to be maintained.

For a complete list of ISO 9001 required records, you can download the following document:
iso-9001-2008-records

If you need additional help with ISO requirements, visit g3iso.com today!

If only all business travel was this much fun!

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

Normally we use this blog for serious (or at least semi-serious) ISO info, but we just had to pass this along. The attached video has absolutely nothing to do with ISO 9001, ISO/TS 16949, AS9100, ISO 13485, ISO 14001 or any other ISO standard – we promise! If you travel a lot for business, you will definitely appreciate the clip.

Have some fun – click on the following link and watch: rapping_flight_attendant

When it comes to training, don’t forget the follow up!

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Most companies do a good job of providing proper employee training to ensure a qualified and competent workforce. Clause 6.2.2c in ISO 9001 clearly states that any training or other actions taken by top management to achieve competence must be evaluated for effectiveness. This also holds true for many standards such as ISO/TS 16949, AS9100, ISO 14001, ISO 13485 and others.

A common issue found during internal and external audits is the lack of evidence to demonstrate that effectiveness is evaluated. Keep in mind the standard does not prescribe how this is to be done, so there is tremendous flexibility in how this task can be completed.

Always consider that every ISO requirement does not need a new procedure, work instruction or form! Simple changes to existing process documents can, in most cases, do the job just fine. Make sure the method chosen provides a gage that is useful to the company in evaluating resource needs. Remember, the goal for any quality system is to provide value to an organization – not just fulfill standard requirements.

For more information, visit g3iso.com today!

Management Review – Are you meeting just for ISO reasons?

Monday, April 6th, 2009

The scenario is common in many companies. Quality planning meetings are held by top management on a regular basis, usually once a month or more, with discussions of key metrics, process performance, corrective actions, along with a host of other items. Notes are taken, actions are assigned and items are followed up on during the next meeting. So the question must be asked – why do we need a separate “Management Review” meeting? Just to fulfill an ISO requirement?

This is a good question. Having an official “Management Review” meeting (sometimes done by companies only once per year) just to make sure the 3rd party registrar auditor is happy can be quite an exercise in wasting time and reinforcing some unconstructive, even negative views of having a quality system in place. Employees (many of them in the ranks of top management) begin to question the value of the process.

Don’t let this happen to your organization!

Most quality standards such as ISO 9001, ISO/TS 16949, AS9100, ISO 13485, ISO 17025 and others have the requirement of management reviewing their quality system at defined intervals to ensure it is working as a catalyst for process effectiveness and/or improvement. A perfect opportunity to fulfill this requirement can be made during those normal meetings when top management is discussing various quality issues such as production scheduling or account reviews.

One method to efficiently maximize meeting time is to break down those ISO 9001-based requirements found in clauses 5.6.2 and 5.6.3 and review those topics during different meetings. Some topics such as quality metrics and measurables should be reviewed frequently while others such as the review of the quality policy can be looked once per year or as needed. Over the span of a year, all topics can be reviewed as part of the normal planning process. Providing you have the notes and objective evidence to show that all required items were part of the meetings, you have covered the management review requirement.

Remember, the whole point of having a review of the quality management system is to effectively facilitate continual improvement – not to just to fulfill a requirement.

Visit our website at g3iso.com today!