Posts Tagged ‘PDCA’

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 for more info.

Disorganization costing you money? Try the 5S approach!

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Efficiency in production metrics are almost always tied to or affected by the condition of the work environment. The organizational state of a facility can often be a primary cause of soaring profitability or painful financial loss.

The 5S Practice (or System) is a technique used to establish and help maintain a suitable work environment in an organization (a requirement in ISO 9001 Clause 6.4). These practices were developed as part of the Toyota Production System which was influenced by Lean Manufacturing concepts, many of which were also developed by Toyota. The 5S’s in Japanese are Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke. In the U.S., they are referred to as Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. Regardless of language, these techniques designed to promote workplace organization, ensure adherence to standards and promote continual improvement.

Seiri – Sort
This first practice is simple – get rid of unwanted items by focusing on the core items that are needed to fulfill the requirements of the job and discard items that are not needed. Eliminate such items as excess inventory affecting warehouse space, transportation, labor costs, needed items, redundant parts, etc.

Seiton – Set in Order
The focus is on efficiency such as how quickly one can get the things needed and how quickly those things can be put away. Locate a specific place for essential items of a specific quantity, where needed.

Seiso – Shine
Look for areas in need of improvement. Clean up the workplace and at the same time focus on the identification of abnormalities, out of control conditions, areas in need of repair, etc.

Seiketsu – Standardize
The objective of standardization is to consolidate the first 3 S’s by establishing standard procedures and best practices to ensure that everyone carries out an individual activity the same efficient way.

Shitsuke – Sustain (or “Make it a habit”)
The objective of discipline is to sustain improvements and make further improvements by encouraging effective use of the “Plan-Do-Check-Act” model, or PDCA as it often referred. This is achieved through awareness of improvements and the encouragement to make future improvements.

Keep in mind that 5S can and will affect everyone and everything. It is just as relevant to an office as it is to a shop. Not only will this help to create an environment that is impressive to potential customers, it will help to create an environment that employees will appreciate and maintain.

Any good 5S stories? Let us know. Log in and post your comments.

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