Posts Tagged ‘customer’

Too much time to document corrective actions? Consider the long term benefit!

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Reason # 4 in our Top Ten Countdown of quality system mistakes-

#4 – Corrective actions aren’t documented!

When conducting internal audits, we often see third party registrar reports that contain a nonconformance finding for not documenting corrective actions as stated in the company’s written procedures. The usual response is that there just isn’t enough time to document issues when they can be solved (or perceived as solved) within a short period of time. Although this may seem true on the surface, after a little investigative auditing, we often find that some of those issues that were “fixed” on the fly are coming back repeatedly either in the same area or in other areas of the business.

Although it is easy to rationalize the behavior of making simple quick process corrections without going through the formal documentation route, the end result is almost always the same. Since the issue was not documented and many other areas of the company were not aware of the problem, not to mention the solution (which may or may not be long term), the problem keeps raising its ugly head.

There is tremendous value when a corrective action is properly documented, true root cause is determined and long term solutions are communicated to all functions of the organization. These “extra steps” that can, on the surface, seem troublesome and time consuming but can actually save both time and money by reducing or eliminating repeat nonconforming issues. Please keep in mind we are not suggesting the documentation of every little operational issue that requires simple adjustment during the course of doing business. We are talking about those issues that can affect the customer and/or have an effect on internal processes.

For information on how to effectively document corrective actions, contact the experts at G3 Solutions.

CQI-15 and CQI-17 – new assessments join the family of CQI documents

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

A recent update from AIAG has announced that the new (CQI-15) Special Process: Welding System Assessment and (CQI-17) Special Process: Soldering System Assessment are now available in both hard copy and electronically as e-documents.

According to the AIAG update, “CQI-15 and CQI-17 focus on continual improvement, emphasizing defect prevention and the reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain. The Soldering System Assessment helps frame a common approach to a soldering management system for automotive production and service part organizations, while the Welding System Assessment does the same for welding management systems. In addition, both assessments support the automotive process approach in ISO/TS 16949.”

These documents join the family of other CQI assessment documents that include automotive supplier self-assessments CQI-9, CQI-11 & CQI-12 for heat treating, plating, and coatings. The assessments are part of the customer specific requirements for ISO/TS 16949. Chrysler will require CQI-14 self-certification from suppliers in 2011.

For more info on these assessments, contact G3 Solutions today!

Customer satisfaction – the art of making the customer feel like they matter!

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Past the half way point in our top ten countdown of quality system nightmares -

Reason #5 – Customer satisfaction data is not analyzed, or even collected!

Whenever the subject of customer satisfaction comes up in quality system implementation, there is never a neutral or apathetic response from top management. Some are gung-ho on getting data and finding out where they stand, and others will wince in pain knowing that the big blowout last week with that top account will end up as a documented exercise in finger pointing. Everyone will have their personal take on gathering data, including just who should be solicited for feedback and who will analyze it.

”Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.”
- Donald Porter V.P., British Airways

Often, those management team members that have direct responsibility for on-time delivery and zero defects may think customer satisfaction data is not necessary, especially when there has been a recent positive trend in both of those metrics. If the customer is getting defect free product and on-time delivery, what could possible be wrong? Why would anyone complain?

If you read ISO 9001 clause 8.2.1 – Customer Satisfaction, it states “…the organization shall monitor information relating to customer perception as to whether the organization has met customer requirements.” This can mean a lot more than good product on time. Your customer may have many issues regarding such matters as communication, response time to questions or concerns, or other service related items.

One of the most comical remarks we’ve heard from the ranks of top management is that “We don’t want to ask anyone now – we just sent out a lot of bad orders that are coming back!”

Waiting for customers to be in a really good mood should not be a part of information gathering criteria. How the company ranks in customer satisfaction is not the important thing. What a company is doing in response to customer satisfaction is the primary concern.

In fact, great customer relation-building opportunities await if customer satisfaction data is collected during times of product crises. Demonstrating that customer opinion matters, whether good or bad, and then actually acting on that information through such methods as corrective action, increased contact or even new process implementation will convey the message that no matter how negative a customer experience was, the customer is supreme!

For some creative ideas in measuring customer satisfaction, contact G3 Solutions today!

Top ten reasons why some companies aren’t getting the most out of their ISO 9001 quality system

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

In the coming weeks, we are going to give you all of our top ten reasons why some ISO 9001 based quality management systems fail to provide some organizations with real process improvement. We may post another topic here and there, so you’ll just have to check back frequently to see our full list. Enough already!! Let’s begin-

#10 – Too many procedures – the company quality system is from a template!

When performing internal audits for companies, we sometimes see quality system documentation that is rather extensive, especially in older systems that were developed before the major ISO 9001 revision in 2000. Systems based on the old twenty element model contained a procedure for almost every requirement, not to mention a handful of work instructions for every procedure. When the revision came along, some companies interpreted it as a simple renumbering scheme and added a process map that looked like a wiring diagram for the Space Shuttle. Having a system today based on a standard from yesterday usually leads to a lot of frustration, minimal user friendliness, and can also become a “Rubik’s Cube” nightmare for document control.

Another reason for over documentation is that some companies have “borrowed” documentation from other organizations and tried to simply insert their name. This can be easy when the size and industry of the companies are identical, but when you try to implement a system from a 300-employee casting facility and your company is a 20 employee plating shop, you’re in for one big mess of a quality system. In a lot of cases, companies that were in a hurry to implement quality systems to please their customers would buy templates from consultants and were tempted to try the “insert name here” approach. Both approaches can diminish or even negate any value from implementing an ISO 9001 system.

The ISO 9001:2008 standard allows for an amazing amount of flexibility in documentation which provides a real opportunity to create a system that is simple, efficient and relative to the operations of an organization. If your system sounds like what has been described earlier in this posting, you may find it a worthwhile endeavor to overhaul your quality manual and procedures. If you’re starting out and are looking for an easy way to get something in place, contact the experts at G3 Solutions today!

Writing a corrective action when “It wasn’t our fault!”

Friday, March 26th, 2010

When dealing with quality system standards such as ISO 9001, it is important to remember the emphasis put on continual improvement.

A recent event at a client location involved a customer complaint that turned out to be a supplier issue. When encouraged to write an internal corrective action, someone within the organization made the remark “Why should we write a corrective action if it wasn’t our fault? It was a supplier issue!”

At first thought, it sounds like a valid point. The whole situation was caused by the supplier. The organization did everything correctly according to their procedures. They also have a robust supplier management program that, as most felt, would provide a solid system to notify the supplier and request a root cause determination as to how the incident can be avoided in the future.

So why a corrective action? First, every incident involving a customer complaint truly is a golden opportunity to make sure it won’t repeat – no matter who is at fault. If it can happen once, it can happen again. And although people within the organization know that this time it isn’t the company’s fault, there is a high probability that the customer doesn’t care. All the customer knows is that they used a company to supply a product or service and something went wrong. The customer is also probably wondering “If this supplier is used again, what other headaches and heartburn will we encounter?” This can and probably will affect the customer perception of the organization (reference ISO 9001 clause 8.2.1 – Customer Satisfaction).

Secondly, we can’t forget Note 3 in ISO 9001 clause 4.1 – General Requirements that states “Ensuring control over outsourced processes does not absolve the organization of the responsibility of conformity to all customer, statutory and regulatory requirements.” Sure, the supplier got it wrong, but we are still responsible for the product or service we promised to the customer.

Finally, the fact that the organization followed all of their procedures is good, but how do they know that the procedures are right? Have changes in the organization occurred since the procedures were written and reviewed? And if the answer is yes, do our procedures allow for the flexibility of dealing with those changes? There probably is much to examine, explore and revise if changes in operations have been made.

Again, continual improvement should always be the emphasis when the customer isn’t happy. In the end, taking this approach can be the difference between happy or irate customers – not to mention repeat or lost revenue.