Sunday, June 25, 2017
Tags Posts tagged with "quality"

quality

    0 537

    Even if you have an informal quality management system within your business it is often difficult to implement the requirements of ISO 9001:2015. Depending on the size of your business this could be a task that may take six to twelve months to complete depending on the established current systems. It is vital that your staff are fully trained and engaged to make any implementation a success. The following 10 tips are vital to smoothly and effectively implementing an ISO 9001 management system:

    1. Get senior management commitment; while this may sound a little cliché, without the full commitment of your management team throughout the business it is going to be very difficult to drive home the changes and improvements that are required.
    1. Provide training at all levels in the business. Your staff needs to understand not only about the requirements of ISO 9001 but also the different quality principles that they should strive to implement within their every day work. Training should be provided on an ongoing basis according to perceived needs.
    1. Ensure that you have effective internal communication. Without this you are not going to be able to maintain the constancy of purpose that is required.
    1. Establish an implementation team with the authority to make things happen. You cannot just implement an ISO 9001 management system by assigning a management representative and expecting them to do everything in isolation. You need to identify the staff that will be required at all levels throughout the business to craft your system.
    1. Conduct a Gap Analysis; you need to fully understand where your current system meets or fails to meet the expectations of ISO 9001:2015 so that you can allocate resources accordingly.
    1. Involve customers and suppliers in analyzing your current systems. It is important to understand how others view the effectiveness of what you currently do and what they expect from you to improve things.
    1. Plan your implementation fully; responsibilities, roles and schedule. As with any project, the better that you plan it the more likely you are to have success.
    1. Create clear and concise policies and objectives for quality to provide the company with a common direction. Well communicated and understood these will help your company to move forward together.
    1. Encourage everyone to question and improve. It is not enough to only have auditors looking for issues with the systems; everyone should continually seek better ways to do things.
    1. Conduct regular reviews of your ISO 9001 management system through your auditing process to ensure that you are continually improving how your systems function.

    In addition to the above, foster a good relationship with your certification body. Your auditor is not there to catch you out. They will want to help you to develop and grow a system that will significantly benefit your business, so use them fully.

      0 667
      Key Performance Indicators for an ISO 14001 Management System

      Why Do You Need Performance Indicators for Your Environmental Management System?

      Performance Indicators are the measures that you put in place on your processes and business that provide you with the information that you need to see how well your ISO 14001 management system is performing. Each process could have a whole series of measures that will let you know how well it is performing financially, with regards to quality, H&S compliance and of course environmentally. After all, as the saying goes, “what gets measured gets done.”

      Each process could potentially have many different measures that are important to it. Many of these measures will be monitored, and action taken at a local level. While others that are more important could be elevated to being Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the business. This ensures that those measures that are vital to your business or have a potential risk associated to them are highlighted.

       

      What Performance Indicators Do You Need for Your ISO 14001 Management System?

      Many businesses are used to implementing performance measures as part of their quality management system, however they are equally as important as part of your ISO 14001 management system. Your measures need to be selected with great care for each process within your business and only those that are truly important should be elevated as KPIs for management monitoring.

      Each business is of course different as are each of your processes. Therefore, your indicators and measures will always be different to those employed by other businesses. However, some typical measures are detailed below to give you some idea as to what you should implement within your own business:

      Use of Natural Resources:

      • Water, electricity, and gas usage by the business
      • The amount of paper used within the business

      Discharges to Air, Land, and Water:

      • Pollutant parts per million measures
      • Weight to landfill

      Incidents and Potential Incidents:

      • Number of actual and potential incidents
      • Time lost due to incidents

      Proactive Measures:

      • Risk reduction measures implemented
      • Environmental audit scores

        0 1320
        Quality

        Have you ever stood staring at a range of products in a supermarket trying to make up your mind which one to buy?  They all look quite similar, but one stands out and you buy it.  Why?  It’s got a sign on the shelf and a logo on the product to tell you that it’s won an award for quality.

        So you’ve just based your purchase on Quality – Your customers are making the same decision every day!

        Quality is more than just finished product, it’s the processes, systems and people that are behind the product.   Quality is everybody’s responsibility.

        Quality is the pursuit of excellence, striving to be the best we can and getting ahead of our competitors.  It is meeting the needs and expectations of all stakeholders – our customers, our suppliers, our staff and the community at large.

        How can we ensure that we are exploiting all avenues to be the very best?  A recognized standard such as ISO 9001 certification promotes the use of quality tools in business.   The ASQ (American society for quality) estimates that for every €1 spent on a quality management system, such as ISO 9001, returns €6 in revenue, €16 in cost reduction and €3 in profit – that’s €25 for every €1 spent!

        93% of organisations agree that the implementation of a quality management system such as ISO9001 was a significant driver of success and most would agree that without it they could not justify their pricing to customers.

        If you are looking at ways to improve your ROI by improving your quality then consider ISO certification.   Using an expert to help you implement a quality management system will ensure ISO 9001:2015 accreditation which will in turn help you make significant improvements and lead to significant growth.

         

        This post has been a guest posting from Joann O’Brian over at our friends at CG Business Consulting Ireland .

          0 1639
          1. Commit to improvement.

          For any QMS to improve, it is essential that everyone is committed to seeking problems, evaluating efficiency and effectiveness of processes and implementing better and improved ideas. Management should be the first to make this commitment and if management “walks the talk” then everyone will follow.

          1. Analyse and assess current QMS.

          Organizations need to take a closer look at their current practices in order to identify any gaps between what is being done and what should be done. This can be achieved by interviewing workers in critical control points, reviewing procedures and records and observing how processes are occurring. Any steps that are not adding value to the process, the system or the organization must be identified, removed or improved.

          1. Include everyone in training programs.

          A QMS is not the responsibility of one person or one department. Everyone must be involved in improving the quality of products, services and processes.

          Organizations should establish a training program for new employees and existing ones.  These programs should promote knowledge, produce skills and capacities and reduce resistance when implementing new ideas for improvement.

          1. Define clear goals and objectives and make sure everyone knows them.

          QMS should aim at achieving specific goals. If a clear path is not drawn, there’s a risk that people will be working real hard but in different directions. Time should be spent in assuring everyone knows these goals, how they’ll be achieved, how they’re measured and periodically they should be informed of where the organization is standing in relation to these goals.

          1. Make sure the right key performance indicators (KPI) are being used.

          Organizations need to carefully select and review their KPI. These should let an organization know how efficient and effective processes are and indicate where possible problems could be. If they are not giving a real overall picture of where the organization is at regarding quality, then another look should be taken to change or improve what and how performance is being measured.

          1. Listen to the suggestions of employees and customers.

          Create a system that will promote workers and customers to share improvement ideas. Many great improvement ideas come directly from the people processing a product or the people that actually use it.

          1. Give people credit.

          To encourage participation throughout the organization, motivate workers by recognizing their work and their ideas. Compensation or recognition should not necessarily be monetary, a simple public recognition in working meetings to can have great effects in lifting workers morale.

          1. Make the system simple.

          A QMS that is extremely complex and overloaded with documents is not necessarily the best one. If documents and procedures are long and complicated, it is very likely that people will never use them. Evaluate the system and make sure that it makes sense and that it’s as simple as possible.

          1. Create quality groups.

          In many organizations workers from different departments or areas are reluctant with sharing information. By bringing together people from different areas to evaluate processes and recommend improvements, an open and more effective communication can be achieved between areas that operationally seem to be apart.

          1. Have a quality attitude.

          In order to reach the goals that have been set, organizations need to identify and detect problems and weaknesses but they must focus on improvements. If managers are constantly focusing on failures and defects and not on how to remove or improve them, the right attitude and mindset for quality will never be achieved.

            0 1883

            No matter how many audits someone has gone through, knowing that someone will come and check your work always generates some tension and anxiety. Here are some recommendations to get rid of the fear and prepare for a successful ISO 9001 audit.

            Prepare employees.

            • Refresh the quality policy and make sure everyone understands it. There is no need for workers to memorize it, but they should have a clear understanding of what the organization has committed to in terms of quality.
            • Refresh quality objectives. Workers should know what the organization’s quality objectives are and how they contribute in achieving them. They should know and be able to explain how their day to day activities can influence these objectives.
            • Ensure that everyone has been properly trained to perform their tasks.
            • Make sure everyone knows where to find procedures, work instructions and forms relevant to perform and record correctly a specific activity or process.
            • Let everyone know the scope of the audit, what will auditors be checking in their areas and when they will be audited.
            • Workers should have the confidence to answer what they know, and have the same confidence to say ‘’I don’t know” when they are not sure what they are going to answer.

            Check all documented information.

            • Make sure document and record list has been updated.
            • Check that all documents have been reviewed, approved, communicated and followed by everyone involved in the process or activity.
            • Make sure no one is using obsolete documents.
            • Verify that all records are being used and that they are being filled out correctly.

            Ensure all processes are being performed correctly.

            • Make sure that all the procedures (whether they are documented or not) are being followed.
            • Ensure that critical processes are being performed in the same way (correct way) by everyone.

            Review the corrective and preventive action process.

            • Review the findings from previous audits and make sure they have been attended.
            • All nonconformities must be properly recorded, investigated and actions need to be in place or concluded by the time of the audit.
            • Corrective actions that have been executed and closed need to have a proper verification of its effectiveness.

            Organize the workplace.

            • It is very hard for quality control and assurance to happen in a messy, dirty and unorganized workplace, and auditors know that. So, take time to organize the workplace (offices, desks, warehouses, workshop floor, etc.).
            • Make sure records, forms, procedures and any relevant documents are at hand and easy to find.

            Prepare to have a nice and professional audit.

            • Make a good first impression. Treat auditors professionally and with respect from day 1.
            • Do not be predisposed. Auditors are not enemies, they will come to help the organization uncover their defects and weaknesses in order to take the necessary actions to improve.

            Do not wait for the last minute to prepare for the audit.

            • Preparing for an audit takes time and effort. The sooner the organizations begins to prepare for their audit, the more successful it will be. So start soon!

             

              0 1697

              One of the main objectives of an ISO 9001 management system is “continuous improvement”; however, the standard ISO 9001 provides little information on how organizations can reach and maintain it. In this specific aspect is where a lean system will provide the biggest benefit to any quality management system. Lean systems require the implementation of different methodologies that will provide organization with the tools to continuously improve their processes and systems.

              Lean manufacturing is characterized for aiming to reduce all the unnecessary in order to use a minimum amount of resources in every aspect of a system, especially on: human effort, manufacturing and storage space, and time.

              This tool helps to eliminate all operations that do not add value to products, services and processes, increasing the value of each action and eliminating what is not required. By reducing waste and improving processes, lean manufacturing gives organizations the tool to survive in a global market that demands higher quality, faster delivery and an increase on customer satisfaction.

              Some of the most common methodologies used in a lean system are 5S, Value Stream Mapping (VSM), Kanban, Key Performance Indicators (KPI), Shadow boards, Poka-yoke and many others. The implementation of these methodologies can bring many benefits to an ISO 9001 quality management system, such as:

              • Reduction in production costs.
              • Inventory reduction.
              • Reduction on delivery time (lead time).
              • Improved quality.
              • Decrease in labor.
              • Greater  equipment efficiency.
              • Waste reduction.
              • Reduction of overproduction.
              • Decrease on delays.
              • More efficient transport.

              The requirements of ISO 9001 have many common aspects with lean production systems, especially in its design and mode of operation, suggesting a high potential for integration.

              The integration of both systems will facilitate the implementation of a continuous improvement philosophy based on a systematic elimination of all types of waste, the respect and consideration of all employees and the continuous improvement of productivity and quality. This will enable organizations to reduce costs, improve processes and eliminate waste in order to increase customer satisfaction.

              Furthermore, lean systems requires the ability to manage raw materials and components in small batches, which requires supply policies based on stable relationships with suppliers.

              There are many organizations that are considering to integrate a lean system into their ISO 9001 management system. This is being done in a pursue to identify and reduce waste from their processes, reach an overall process that flows smoothly and ensure that the organization’s resources are effectively used to meet or exceed customer satisfaction.

                0 2954
                ISO 20000

                Every organization is different and even though an ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) is directed to achieve and increase customer satisfaction, its design and implementation is influenced by the different needs and objectives of an organization.

                In order to meet and improve customer satisfaction it’s essential to monitor and measure performance by using different indicators. Performance indicators are tools used for determining how and to what degree an organization is meeting guidelines, policies, objectives, requirements and targets set in their ISO 9001 QMS.

                These performance indicators are set by the organization and they vary from one organization to another. Each organization must decide which performance indicators are more suitable to the nature of their industry sector and their objectives.

                What should be considered is that these indicators must be measurable and achievable. They must refer to the system’s critical processes, they must accurately represent the target to be measured, and they should be quantifiable, cost-effective, reliable and allow management to know the information in real time.

                Below, the critical areas to be measured and some examples of indicators are mentioned.

                Cost Indicators

                These are performance indicators that evaluate the activities that consume economic resources in different processes.

                • Percentage costs spent on energy consumption.
                • Percentage return on investment.
                • Percentage cost of carrying out reworking or correcting errors.

                Time Indicators

                These performance indicators measure the time consumed in an activity or process and considers the time from the beginning to the end of the selected process or activity. For example:

                • Percentage number of products or services delivered on time.
                • Percentage number of products or services delivered late.

                Productivity Indicators

                These performance indicators measure the efficiency of resources in the operation. Some of these could be:

                • Percentage machine/equipment utilization.
                • Percentage of downtime.

                Quality Indicators

                These performance indicators calculate the effectiveness in the development of activities or processes, delivering results based on the number of errors, number of perfect and flawless deliveries. An example is:

                • Percentage number of products or services needing rework.
                • Percentage of customers ‘very satisfied’.

                As mentioned above, these indicators may vary; the important thing to keep in mind is that they should serve as a tool for improving the quality of decisions regarding the processes and the ISO 9001 QMS itself.

                  0 1405
                  Quality Control and Quality Assurance
                  Quality Control and Quality Assurance are both players of the same team and it is not possible to guarantee customer satisfaction if either one is missing.

                  Quality Control and Quality Assurance are both aspects of an organization’s quality management system (QMS), and even though they are closely related concepts, they are different in many ways. Understanding their differences is fundamental for any organization to effectively manage its resources and processes in order to deliver quality products and services.

                  To start, one of their main differences is that Quality Assurance is a prevention strategy oriented to prevent defects and Quality Control is a detection strategy oriented to detect defects. Here, an explanation of some of their differences is presented.

                  Focus of Quality Control and Quality Assurance:

                  • Quality Assurance aims to prevent defects with a focus on the process that produces the product or service; thus it is process oriented.
                  • Quality Control aims to detect (and correct) defects in the finished product, which makes it product oriented.

                  Goal of Quality Control and Quality Assurance:

                  • The goal of Quality Assurance is to develop processes and procedures that will ensure that quality products and services are produced.
                  • The goal of Quality Control is to check the products and services for defects that may have arisen during their development in order to deliver defect-free products or services to customers.

                  How Quality Control and Quality Assurance are Conducted:

                  • Quality Assurance is conducted by establishing and defining standards and methodologies that must be followed during a process to ensure products and services meet customer requirements.
                  • Quality Control is carried out by conducting tests and inspections to detect errors and flaws in products or services.

                  When Quality Control and Quality Assurance are Conducted:

                  • Quality Assurance is a proactive process that takes place before the product or service is produced or delivered.
                  • Quality Control is a reactive process that is performed during the manufacturing process and after the products are produced.

                  Despite their differences, Quality Assurance and Quality Control are both players of the same team and it is not possible to guarantee customer satisfaction if either one is missing. Achieving success requires both; if only Quality Assurance is applied, there will be no way of knowing if the procedures and processes are producing the expected outcomes. On the other hand, if only Quality Control is conducted an organization will not have a way of making repeatable and reliable results.

                  Quality is ensured by an organization performing the right tasks in the right way and by making sure that their efforts have produced the expected results. Quality Assurance and Quality Control complement each other and both these processes provide the necessary information for the continuous improvement of a QMS that meets the requirements of an organization’s customers.

                    0 2873

                    There are different approaches to auditing; these can be performed by clause, department, tasks, etc. The most commonly used by auditors is the clause approach,  where the auditor goes by each clause, usually with a checklist, searching for evidence of requirement conformance and writing nonconformities (minors or majors) if any are found.

                    These approaches tend to focus mainly on procedures and not on the performance, outcomes and results of the organization’s processes. Hence, audits result in the correction of minor problems and not in the improvement of the system and its processes.

                    The process approach to auditing focuses on reviewing the sequence and interaction of processes and their inputs and outputs. It analyzes the management system not just as if it were a set of documented procedures, but rather as an active system of processes that addresses business risk and its applicable requirements. The main elements that a process-approach audit reviews are:

                    • Process Owners
                    • Inputs and Outputs of the process
                    • Resources
                    • Methods/ Procedures/ Instructions
                    • Controls/ Measurements/ Metrics
                    • Documents/Records
                    • Efficiencies/ Effectiveness

                    In order to take this approach, it is required to plan and perform the audits so they are based on the processes that achieve organization’s objectives. The audit needs to be conducted through business processes and across department boundaries; some of the processes that need to be audited are:

                    • Business management
                    • Marketing and sales
                    • Resource management
                    • Purchasing
                    • Product / service production processes

                    Audits conducted with a process approach provide information on whether performance targets are being met, they identify opportunities for improving performance through a better control of processes and determine how processes can be more effective and efficient in meeting the applicable requirements. Some of the aspects that make this approach a valuable one are:

                    • It focuses on results, not on procedures.
                    • Determines the management system’s effectiveness.
                    • Evaluates the outcomes and results of the system.
                    • Evaluates linkages between departments and processes.
                    • Follows flow of work throughout organization.
                    • Determines if operations are under control and if controls are effective.
                    • Allows judgment on significance of findings.
                    • Helps determine depth of problems across organization.
                    • Focuses on benefits of correcting nonconformities related to improving organizational effectiveness.

                    Organizations that wish to comply with a standard have to meet the requirements established in it, but in some cases, just meeting these requirements does not necessarily add value to the organization. In order for an organization to be competitive and successful, its operational processes must work together in achieving its goals and objectives. A process based audit assists organizations in assessing the effectiveness of these processes; it serves as a tool to identify weaknesses and opportunities to improve the connections between policy, requirements, performance, objectives and targets, which will ultimately contribute to an organization’s overall success.

                      0 1897
                      Effective Internal Audits

                      ISO 9001 and 9004 are both part of the ISO 9000 family of standards. These standards, even though they’re both about quality management systems (QMS), they have some important aspects that differentiate them. Many organizations, when seeking to establish or improve a QMS, tend to get confused about which standard to use or if they should use both. In exploring ISO 9001 vs 9004, the main differences between them will be highlighted.

                      Purpose.

                      • ISO 9001 provides a framework for a systematic approach to managing an organization’s processes so that their products or services are consistent and meet client expectations. It also ensures the organization meets applicable laws, regulations and other requirements.
                      • The ISO 9004 standard is intended to help organizations extend the benefits of their QMS to stakeholders and all other interested parties, helping to give sustained success.
                      Exploring ISO 9001 vs 9004
                      Exploring ISO 9001 vs 9004: These standards complement each other, so they can be used simultaneously by an organization, and they can also be used independently.

                      Certification.

                      • ISO 9001 is a requirements document. It is the only ISO 9000 family standard which an organization can be certified against in order to demonstrate conformance to its requirements.
                      • On the other hand, ISO 9004 is a guidance document on how to achieve continuous improvement to get excellence for the organization. It is not intended for certification.

                      Focus.

                      • ISO 9001 standard’s main focus is on customer requirements. This standard focuses on assuring conformance to defined customer requirements and ensure effective response to customer feedback.
                      • ISO 9004 focuses mainly on meeting the requirements of customers and all other interested parties. It aims at balancing the needs of all stakeholders in order to achieve sustained success.

                      Continual Improvement.

                      • In ISO 9001 continual improvement of the QMS is achieved mainly by performing management reviews, internal/external audits and corrective/preventive actions.
                      • ISO 9004 promotes self-assessment in order for organizations to identify areas of strength or weakness and opportunities for either improvements or innovations, or both. It guides organizations on setting realistic and challenging improvement goals for their processes.

                      There are many other differences between both these standards; however, what is important to understand is that:

                      • They are both intended to be used by any organization, regardless of their size and nature, to establish and improve their QMS;
                      • ISO 9001 is intended for certification and ISO 9004 is not and;
                      • ISO 9001 is focused mainly on customer satisfaction and ISO 9004 has a broader focus that include all stakeholders in order to achieve sustained success.

                      Many people believe that ISO 9004 is a guideline for the implementation of ISO 9001, however, this is not true. These standards complement each other, so they can be used simultaneously by an organization, and they can also be used independently. Some organizations decide to use ISO 9001 to establish and improve their QMS and then move on to ISO 9004 as a guide to obtain long term benefit from a more broad-based QMS.