Posts Tagged ‘process’

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!

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.”

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.

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.

During an internal audit, get honest feedback from employees

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

The internal audit process is an extremely important part of any ISO-based quality or environmental management system. It can be the “make it or break it” process that will determine just how effective your system will be based on the proper input from employees. Unfortunately, as part of the natural human tendency to avoid anyone with the title of “auditor”, people will often treat the internal auditor as someone to avoid in fear of being singled out or used as an example.

“I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.” – Hunter S. Thompson

This is why companies must give some good thought as to the audit team they will select. Not only must the auditor be a good communicator and data analyzer, the auditor must be able to get people to want to talk about what they do and how they do it.

Sure, there is plenty of guidance as to what makes a good auditor in ISO 19011. In fact, some of the terms used to describe auditor qualities in 19011 sound like a scouts honor pledge – honest, trustworthy, loyal, brave, etc… (Well, OK, maybe not those last three!) Certain stated qualities are important, but there are some things that just go by feel – is the person approachable, enthusiastic, and positive? Can they express themselves well and “message” people who are overly sensitive to anything that may seem like criticism, like a minor nonconformance?

If it is becoming a real chore getting the right people in your organization to perform internal audits, consider the option of an expert and true auditing professional conducting your audits – it may be the smart choice. Contact G3 Solutions today to find out just how affordable and value-added contracting/outsourcing your internal audits can be!

Risk Management in AS9100C

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

In the new revision of the AS9100 standard, an emphasis is being placed on clause 7.1.2 – Risk Management. This is a new requirement to implement a risk management process applicable to the product and organization covering responsibility, criteria, mitigation, and acceptance. The purpose of adding risk management in clause 7.1.2 is to provide additional focus on product risk during product realization.

Unlike ISO/TS 16949 which makes a reference to the Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) process or ISO 13485 which references ISO 14971 for guidance on risk analysis, AS9100 is less prescriptive about how this should be done. This lack of specificity should not be interpreted as a simple suggestion for risk analysis, but rather as a flexible mandate that allows an organization to choose the best method of analysis appropriate to the product.

For more information on AS9100 Rev C, contact g3iso.com today!

Automotive supplier self-assessments CQI 9, CQI 11 & CQI 12 for heat treating, plating, and coating

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Many smaller plating, heat treating and special coating companies have asked us about the requests they get from their automotive customers regarding self assessments. These are the CQI publications that are published by the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG). These are part of GM, Ford, and Chrysler ISO/TS 16949 customer-specific requirements and they apply to heat treating, plating, and coating suppliers. These are process self-assessments and the documents can be purchased through the AIAG.org website.

The CQIs for these processes are:
CQI-9 – AIAG Assessment Manual for Heating Treating
CQI-11 – AIAG Assessment Manual for Plating Processes
CQI-12 – AIAG Assessment manual for Coating Processes

If you need assistance with any of these assessments, contact the experts at G3 Solutions. Visit our full website at www.g3iso.com today!

The ISO 9001 Quality Manual – how useful is it?

Friday, March 6th, 2009

It is always amazing to see how many small companies construct a lengthy quality manual and then question whether or not it provides any real value. Unfortunately, this scenario is more common than it should be and the question is quite valid – how useful is it?

The first thing that an organization should realize when constructing a quality manual is that there is no single prescribed way for it to look. The requirements are plainly stated in ISO 9001:2008 clause 4.2.2. According to the “Introduction and support package: Guidance on the documentation requirements of ISO 9001:2008″ (Document: ISO/TC 176/SC 2/N525R2) created by ISO Techincal Committee 176:

Clause 4.2.2 of ISO 9001:2008 specifies the minimum content for a quality manual. The format and structure of the manual is a decision for each organization, and will depend on the organization’s size, culture and complexity. Some organizations may choose to use the quality manual for other purposes besides that of simply documenting the QMS (Quality Management System).

A small organization may find it appropriate to include the description, processes and methods of its entire QMS within a single manual, including all the documented procedures required by the standard.

Large, multi-national organizations may need several manuals at the global, national or regional level, and a more complex hierarchy of documentation.

The quality manual is a document that has to be controlled in accordance with the requirements of clause 4.2.3.”

Nowhere in the standard or in the guidance document does it state that the organization must regurgitate the standard and replace the word “shall” with some type of term as “we do…”.

The best quality manuals are always written specifically for the company (NOT templates) and contain the scope of the manual, reference or inclusion of procedures and SIMPLE, employee-friendly process descriptions that clearly show the sequence and interaction of key company processes.

How does your quality manual stack up? Log in and sound off!

Visit our full website at www.g3iso.com today!