Posts Tagged ‘management’

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!

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!

Chrysler to require CQI-14 self-certification from suppliers in 2011

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

A recent AIAG announcement states that James Bruin, manager, quality and warranty programs, Chrysler Group LLC, will formally announce on May 5, 2010, that Chrysler will require self-certification to the CQI-14 consumer centric warranty process in 2011. CQI-14 demonstrates how companies throughout the supply chain can embrace cultural change and reduce risk by striving to reduce warranty incident rate and feeding lessons learned back into the product development process.

According to the AIAG announcement, Mr. Bruin states that self-certification would be required of Chrysler suppliers. Over the last several months, Mr. Bruin has solicited input from members of the OESA Warranty Management Council and the AIAG Quality Steering Committee. On May 5, AIAG will also announce that CQI-14 warranty process training classes will be available in the latter part of 2010.

The announcement will take place during a larger session on consumer-centric warranty management that will be held at the MSU Management Education Center, Troy, Mich. During the session, AIAG and OESA will release the second edition of CQI-14, also known as “Consumer–Centric Warranty Management: A Guideline for Industry Best Practices.”

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!

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!

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.

Attention all automotive parts suppliers! Don’t miss the new revision to ISO/TS 16949

Friday, July 10th, 2009

ISO/TS 16949:2009, Quality management systems – Particular requirements for the application of ISO 9001:2008 for automotive production and relevant service part organizations, replaces the 2002 edition which has been used by the major automotive manufacturers to provide a baseline quality system for over 35,000 organizations worldwide that produce and supply parts for the automotive industry.

The 2009 edition was initiated to ensure its compatibility with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008, Quality management systems – Requirements. There are no essential changes to the technical requirements. The modifications are mainly clarifications of certain requirements and do not add any additional requirements.

According to the IOS, up to the end of December 2008, at least 39,300 ISO/TS 16949:2002 certificates had been issued in 81 countries and economies. This represents a 12 % increase over 2007.

The IATF has set a transition period of 120 days from date of publication of the new edition – 15 June – for organizations to comply with the standard’s requirements. The details of the plan are given in a communiqué by the IATF Oversight Certification Body.

ISO/TS 16949:2009 was prepared by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF), with the support of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 176, which is responsible for the ISO 9000 family of quality management standards. Copies of the standard can be ordered through iso.org or other groups such as aiag.org – be sure to upgrade your copy today!

For more information on ISO/TS 16949, contact G3 Solutions today!

When implementing an ISO 9001 system, be aware of the tools that are available!

Friday, June 5th, 2009

The ISO 9001 standard was developed by the IOS Technical Committee 176. The committee has also been part of the development of many other standards to aid in the implementation and continual improvement of a quality management system. Be sure to look at some of these quality tools. They can help your organization implement an effective quality system that will provide real value in a number of areas.

Current standards from ISO/TC 176 and its subcommittees:

• ISO 9000:2005 Quality management systems – Fundamentals and vocabulary

• ISO 9001:2008 Quality management systems – Requirements

• ISO 9004:2000 Quality management systems – Guidelines for performance improvements

• ISO 10001:2007 Quality management – Customer satisfaction – Guidelines for codes of conduct for organizations

• ISO 10002:2004 Quality management – Customer satisfaction – Guidelines for complaints handling in organizations

• ISO 10003:2007 Quality management – Customer satisfaction – Guidelines for dispute resolution external to the organization

• ISO 10005:2005 Quality management – Guidelines for quality plans

• ISO 10006:2003 Quality management – Guidelines for quality management in projects

• ISO 10007:2003 Quality management – Guidelines for configuration management

• ISO 10012:2003 Measurement management systems – Requirements for measurement processes and measuring equipment

• ISO/TR 10013:2001 Guidelines for quality management system documentation

• ISO 10014:2006 Quality management – Guidelines for realizing financial and economic benefits

• ISO 10015:1999 Quality management – Guidelines for training

• ISO/TR 10017:2003 Guidance on statistical techniques for ISO 9001:2000

• ISO 10019:2005 Guidelines for the selection of quality management system consultants and use of their services

• ISO/TS 16949:2002 Quality management systems – Particular requirements for the application of ISO 9001:2000 for automotive production and relevant service part organizations

• ISO 19011:2002 Guidelines for quality and/or environmental management systems auditing