Posts Tagged ‘document’

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.

Next in our top ten countdown of quality system saboteurs – poor document control!

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Not getting maximum benefit from your quality system? Poor document control always adds to inefficiency!

Reason #6 – Document control is not enforced!

Making sure everyone is working off of the same page (often quite literally) is the primary goal of the ISO 9001 clause 4.2.3 – Control of Documents. We hear from many quality managers and management representatives that this rather simple requirement, which seems on the surface to be easy to handle, can be a real bear to nail down. It is hard to imagine that this would be a difficult task, with most companies relying on electronic documentation. So what gets in the way of making complete and effective document control a given?

It generally starts with most companies not knowing just what to control. Sometimes it is assumed that the only documents needing control are those that make up the quality system. This narrow (and incorrect) interpretation of the requirement can lead to document chaos. Most companies have multitudes of documents that affect not only information getting to the customer, but also between departments, areas, and processes. Documentation that is not providing the most current info can wreak havoc with production schedules, customer communication and overall product/service quality.

Some areas/departments that are more isolated from traditional design and production processes (such as Accounting, IT, and off-site Sales personnel) may develop a whole subset of documents that might fly under the document control radar. There may be the thinking that certain documents are not important to control since the individual department is the only group using them for intra-departmental correspondence.

If there is confusion with knowing just what to control, let this be your guide: if any document or form provides direction, status, guidance or is kept as some sort of record, it should be controlled! Why risk the chance that someone might make a costly mistake with obsolete info? This is obvious when it comes to such items as specifications, drawings, assembly instructions and the like. But remember, document control can even include the most basic of communication tools such as fax cover sheets, inter-company memos, or business cards. Even the seemingly smallest overlooked items on documents like incorrect phone extensions, old email addresses, revised building or suite numbers, etc., can cause confusion with a fellow employee or boss, not to mention the customer!

For more info on how you can get a handle on document control, ask the experts at G3 Solutions today!

ISO 9001 – It is time to put the “document nightmare” perception away! (Part 1 of 3)

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Although it is true that ISO 9001 does require documented evidence for many requirements, this should not be interpreted as needing a new document for everything you do. Many times companies can modify existing documents to provide evidence of conformity to ISO 9001 requirements. Standards such as ISO/TS 16949, AS9100, ISO 13485, ISO 14001 and others have additional requirements for added documents, but the same strategy of modifying existing documents can be used for a majority of those additional demands.

In the ISO 9001 guidance document “Introduction and support package: Guidance on the documentation requirements of ISO 9001:2008 Document: ISO/TC 176/SC 2/N525R2, October 2008″, it states “For organizations wishing to demonstrate conformity with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008, for the purposes of certification/registration, contractual, or other reasons, it is important to remember the need to provide evidence of the effective implementation of the QMS. Organizations may be able to demonstrate conformity without the need for extensive documentation.

There are other recommendations for document control which we will list in future posts. Just remember that the standard gives you an incredible amount of flexibility in putting together your documentation. If you would like additional ideas on how you can control your ISO documentation, contact the experts at G3 Solutions today!

Meetings – friend or foe to the productive?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

It seems it never ends. You’re scheduled to go into a meeting to discuss the actions from the last meeting and plan for the next meeting. You look at your Outlook calendar or Blackberry and see that your theoretical 40 hour work week contains 50 hours of meetings. In between all of these meetings, you’re responsible to actually be productive in some accountable manner. How did things get this way? More importantly, you wonder – how can this cycle of chaos be stopped?

Here are 4 … no, wait, 5 … okay, 6 of the best solutions we’ve seen for curing “meeting madness”-

1) We’re here because…??? There better be a good reason for a meeting. ALWAYS have a specific agenda – no matter how small the meeting or how small the number of topics. Have one in print or electronic form and distribute to all participants. This will help to keep a focus on what is important and will help to avoid random topics.

2) Have participants do an impression of their favorite tree! Stand! If time is critical, or if people get too comfortable sitting down and tuning out, have everyone stand during the meeting. Make chairs off limits and keep people literally on their toes. You’ll be surprised how quickly and efficiently people will get to the point. Lengthy meetings will no longer be a problem.

3) Members only! Invite only those participants that will play a direct role in the agenda items. During the meeting, participants should state to the group the people they will communicate with regarding relevant topics/action items and when that will happen. Communication accountability is crucial! No accountability produces no results!!!

4) Share the spotlight! Make sure all participants provide input of some kind – either something to report (such as objectives or department measurables) or they should make a statement as to what their role will be in any action items that are discussed. Remember: No participation = no interest = no action. (We at G3 call this equation “The Gogoleski Theorem”)

5) Somebody write this stuff down! Create a SIMPLE system to document and track action items. Make sure it includes assignees and due dates. You can even make action items official corrective or preventive actions as part of your quality system. Anything less and key strategic ideas become nothing more than “thought bubbles” that eventually pop and become forgotten flashes of brilliance that your competitors will somehow document, implement and execute before you do! (And wow, is that painful!)

6) Don’t schedule another meeting for follow-up to the one you just had!!! Duh! This becomes the most effective exercise ever created for wasting time and reducing productivity. Make follow ups electronic (or paper – only if you really need to – save a tree) with cc’s to all participants of the original meeting. No accountability produces __ ______!!! (see # 3 for answer)

Now go forth and be productive!!!

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