Tags Posts tagged with "tips and tricks"

tips and tricks

0 1544
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 2804
ISO Implementation Process

Preparing for an ISO implementation process of any ISO standard can be overwhelming and frightening for many. How an organization prepares for implementation will depend on factors such as size and complexity of its processes, the current knowledge and culture related to the standard (quality, environmental, safety, etc), the maturity of any other existing systems related to the standard wishing to implement, and many others. Despite the differences there may be between organizations, there are a few tips that will facilitate the implementation process of any management system, these are:

Know the standard.

It is essential that some personnel knows the management system’s requirements. Everyone does not need to be an expert on the requirements of the specific standard that will be implemented, but key workers need to fully know and understand all of the requirements of the standard.

Inform everyone what is going on.

The implementation process is not a task of just a few chosen ones. Everyone needs to be involved in this process. Every worker needs to know what is being implemented, why is it being implemented, which are the benefits for the organization and for themselves, and how they will be involved in the process. When people are informed, they will be more open and willing to collaborate in the implementation.

Analyze the organization’s current situation.

Before starting to implement any ISO management system, an organization needs to know its level of compliance with the standard. This will allow the organization to understand beforehand its strengths and weaknesses regarding the ISO management system wishing to implement and estimate the time needed for implementation.

Map your processes.

Establish and record current processes in order to know the relationships between departments and how the processes flow within the organization. This will allow organizations to plan their implementation by processes and not just by areas and departments.

Review existing procedures and work instructions.

Many processes need written and documented information that will guarantee that activities are carried out in the correct manner. Organizations need to review which processes are documented and how many work instructions there are. It is not the same to develop a few documents and just review work instructions than to develop them from scratch. Organizations need to have an idea of how much time they will have to invest in developing and reviewing documents.

Review current training programs.

Evaluate existing training and awareness programs. Training and awareness are an important part in the implementation process and if an organization has not considered training its workers, it would be best to redefine these programs to make sure that a large percentage of workers are trained and informed about policies, procedures, regulations, etc that will be a part of their daily activities.

These are some recommendations that will help organizations prepare for the implementation process of any ISO management system. The most important aspect to keep in mind is to make sure that the whole organization is working for the same objectives and pulling in the same direction.

 

0 2267

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 1941
ISO 9001 System

Here are some of the most common mistakes made by organizations when managing an ISO 9001 system:

Mistake 1. Top management is not committed to the ISO 9001 system.  If top management is not involved in quality, if they don’t provide the resources and mechanism to plan, control and improve their products, services and processes, ISO 9001 can not be sustained over time. It’s essential for top management to take decisions that demonstrate that quality, improvement and customer satisfaction are an important issue.

 

Mistake 2. Not training key personnel in ISO 9001. Not knowing what ISO 9001 is all about can be a big mistake. It is important for organizations to train key personnel (someone who has a decision-making role) in ISO 9001, in order to understand what ISO 9001 really is and what it requires. Not knowing nor understanding ISO 9001 can take organizations through a path of disappointment and despair.

 

Mistake 3. Not training all personnel. Everyone must receive training on the important quality aspects of the activities and processes they work in. Everyone must understand the importance of quality and how they can achieve it. The training must be consonant with their responsibilities and the activities they perform.

 

Mistake 4. Making the system complex. If the organization is working to keep the system alive, it is a sign that it is too complex and all the work of filling out forms and documenting procedures is not adding value to the organization. The system must be kept simple and practical, and it should focus on results and improvements, and not on documents.

 

Mistake 5. Not using the corrective action process properly. Organizations need to take the time to investigate their problems and involve the right people in the investigation process. Most problems are recurrent, so using the corrective action process correctly will reduce or eliminate their recurrence.

 

Mistake 6. Not knowing what customers want. One of the objectives of ISO 9001 is to improve or increase customer satisfaction, and if organizations do not take the time to listen to their customers, they will not be able to reach this goal. A long and complicated survey is not necessary nor recommended, just by asking a few key questions will give organizations enough information to determine and plan for changes that will aim to fulfill this goal.

 

Mistake 7. Rushing into the implementation process. To build a solid ISO 9001 management system takes work and time.Trying to implement the system in a short time will be counterproductive. Organizations need to take the necessary time to plan, do, check and act in order to implement a system that will improve their products, services and processes.

 

Mistake 8. Not having a trained and experienced internal auditor. In many cases, internal auditors lack the necessary training and experience to distinguish small details from big issues in the QMS. Auditors need to focus on the issues that will help organizations improve their processes and the system itself.

 

Mistake 9. Believing that what works for one organization will work for their own. Every organization is different and what may work for one, may not work for another. Organizations need to focus on their specific context in order to build and develop their management system around it.

 

Mistake 10. Leaving the responsibility of the QMS to one person. ISO 9001 needs to be the work of an entire organization. If people do not take ownership of the QMS, it will not work out. People need to incorporate quality in their work and activities and an outsider will not achieve that. Guidance and training is needed, but if quality is not done on a daily basis in every process then the system will never add value to the organization.

0 3099

Here are five key elements that will help organizations reach a successful ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS):

1. Employee Involvement

The first key element for having a successful EMS is to achieve full participation of all employees, from top management to shop-floor workers. If people are not involved, every goal and target will require a lot more time and effort to be reached. Many believe that only a small group of people in an organization are responsible for the EMS but nothing is farther from the truth; the whole organization is responsible for the implementation, maintenance and improvement of the EMS.

2. Regulatory Compliance

One of the main objectives of an ISO 14001 EMS is for organizations to obtain regulatory compliance. Organizations need to use the EMS as a tool to effectively define and monitor applicable legal requirements and other requirements. By using the EMS as a tool for assuring regulatory compliance, an organization can better plan the expenses associated with permits, reporting and monitoring legal requirements, which will reduce the frequency and severity of violations and their associated costs.

3. Higher Efficiency

Organizations need to focus on improving the efficiency of their processes and not just on controlling environmental aspects after they have been generated. It’s essential to control and prevent contamination, but an ISO 14001 EMS needs to go beyond this point and focus on improving processes. For example, a higher level of administrative efficiency may reduce legal liabilities and shorter permitting procedures due to better relations with regulators and communities. A greater operational efficiency usually involves renewal of equipment or facilities, and an improved design of production processes that will result in a reduction of inputs (energy, water and other resources) and also a reduction of waste.

4. Using the Right Performance Indicators

Every organization is different and so are their environmental aspects and impacts. It is essential to define and use the performance indicators that will allow organizations to effectively monitor their performance and identify opportunities for improvement.

5. Improving Customer Relations

Organizations need to establish relationships based on trust and respect with regulatory bodies, communities and everyone that may affect their EMS. Good relationships with internal and external customers will contribute in the success of the ISO 14001 EMS.

It is important to remember that every EMS is different and a continuous monitoring process is essential in determining the organization’s progress in meeting its goals and objectives.

1 2722
ISO 9001

All management systems require organizations to conduct internal audits in order to obtain information that will evidence the degree to which requirements are being met. In other words, internal audits check practice against policies, processes and procedures and thoroughly document any differences.

Although internal audits are an important tool for organizations to evaluate their management systems and to uncover areas that are in need of attention, for many, this process induces an enormous amount of stress. For audits to serve as a means to identify gaps and effective solutions, it is essential that these are formal, planned and organized. Other key characteristics internal audits should have are:

They are scheduled. Surprise audits are not welcomed by anyone. A schedule should be set and communicated to everyone, preferably at the beginning of the year. There’s no need to audit all processes at once; different processes can be audited at different times throughout the year, organizations just need to make sure that at the end of the year all processes have been audited.

Auditors are competent. Auditors need to demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the standard which they are auditing against and they should have an understanding of the processes being audited. They should be objective and impartial; this means that they can’t audit a process which they manage or control. Large organizations usually have a team of trained auditors, but that is not necessary; an alternative is to hire the services of an external consultant to perform the internal audits.

They are planned. The audit needs to be confirmed with the process owner. At this stage the auditor should review procedures and previous findings or issues related to the audited process. A checklist with a pre-determined list of questions can be sought to be used during the audit; this checklist should be provided to the auditee so they have time to organize any information.

It’s conducted in an objective and friendly manner. An audit should start with an opening meeting with the auditor and the auditee(s). It’s recommended that the auditor works systematically through the checklist or procedure, while reviewing records, observing the process, analyzing process data and talking to employees. During the audit, the auditor must discuss the findings with the auditee before recording it.

Audit findings are recorded. A closing meeting with the auditee is fundamental so information is not delayed. Here the auditor should point out possible weaknesses and areas for improvement. Findings and their details (these include non-conformities, positive areas and improvement areas) need to be recorded and communicated to the auditee(s) and management.

Findings are monitored. The auditor is responsible for ensuring that corrective actions have been taken to fix any problems found during the audit.

If everyone takes advantage of the positive results internal audits can bring, and if these aid organizations to improve their processes and management system- whether is a quality, environmental or any other system- an internal audit can be considered a success.

0 1697

In order for organizations to successfully implement an ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) that provides confidence to customers and serves as an instrument for continuous improvement, the implementation process should be taken up as a project, following these steps and recommendations:

Step 1: Nominate a Team.

  • A small team consisting of a senior person from each department should be appointed by management for system development.
  • A coordinator must be designated.
  • The team should undergo awareness and documentation training on the ISO 9000 family of standards with a professional training organization.

Step 2: Carry out a gap analysis

  • Start with a flow chart showing how information currently circulates, from order placement by the customer to delivery of the product or service.
  • Follow with a flow chart of activities in each department.
  • Formulate a list of existing procedures and work instructions for the most relevant activities in each department.
  • Other activities and processes that are considered relevant at this point can be added.
  • Identify gaps throughout this process.
  • A time-bound action plan to close the gaps identified during this exercise should be prepared and action taken as planned.

Step 3: Prepare documentation

  • Procedures should be limited the documentation that is required.
  • Additional procedures and records should be devised only if they add value to the system.
  • Involve all personnel concerned in the development of the procedures and work instructions applicable to their areas.
  • Documentation should reflect current practice and not ideas of what should be implemented.
  • New forms and checklists should be created if necessary; otherwise adopt existing ones to the extent possible.

Step 4: Train and implement

  • Train all employees. Everyone should know their responsibilities in order to successfully implement and maintain the QMS.

Step 5: Conduct Internal audit and improvement

  • Some managers and staff members should be trained by a professional trainer to carry out internal auditing.
  • Conduct the first internal audit approximately three months from implementation.
  • Correct any gap found during the audit.
  • Once the system stabilizes, internal audits should be conducted at planned intervals.
  • To improve the system internal audits, customer feedback data, process and product monitoring data, evidence of the attainment or not of quality objectives, corrective actions taken, etc. should be used.
  • Management should provide financial and other resources for improvement projects and monitor the progress of improvement.

Step 6: Management review

  • Top management should review the QMS.
  • As a result of this review, management may decide to set new targets for quality objectives and to make the improvements needed in the QMS.

Step 7: Certification

  • Certification is voluntary; therefore the need for it should be decided by management.
  • Once the system has been in operation for a few months, organizations may consider making an application for certification.

An action plan for developing QMS covering the above activities should be prepared. The plan should define the responsibilities of team members and management and set target dates. Full implementation may require six to nine months.

0 1894

Ready to implement ISO 9001 in your organization? Here are some ISO 9001 tips that will help make the process easier.

Implement ISO 9001 for the right reason.

When implementing a quality management system (QMS) for ISO 9001, management should be clear about the purpose of the QMS. If the only driver is to get on customers’ tender lists or because a competitor has already got one, it’s highly likely that the QMS will remain a set of documents for certification purposes only. Rather, management should aim for a QMS that will help the organization produce quality products or services, continuously improve its process, and provide confidence to customers that the organization is capable of meeting their requirements all the time.

Motivate your workforce.

In order for organizations to achieve a desired level of quality, people need to get involved. People are the essence of organizations and their full involvement is essential to implement and maintain ISO 9001. Employees can be motivated by:

  • Ensuring that everyone knows and understands the organization’s quality policy;
  • Defining and communicating responsibilities and authorities within the organization;
  • Building the competence of employees;
  • Providing adequate infrastructure and work environment;
  • Initiating improvements, e.g. by implementing employees’ suggestions.

Hire a consultant if…

If an organization’s staff does not have the time or skills to develop the QMS by themselves, a good consultant will make possible a speedy transfer of knowledge and skills. If the staff does have the time, there are enough published materials available from the web that will help staff obtain the necessary skills to develop the QMS.

Take the necessary time to implement your QMS.

All too often organizations are in a hurry to obtain certification and do not spend the time needed to implement the system effectively. Before applying for certification, your QMS needs to be in place for at least three months and its effectiveness checked through an internal audit, followed by corrective actions on audit findings.

Define SMART objectives.

Many organizations set quality objectives that are impossible to meet. Objectives need to be specific and relevant to the process or task to which they are being applied. They also need to be measurable and achievable within the resources that can be made available in a realistic and timely manner. It’s helpful to have a start and completion date.

Go easy with the paperwork.

Many believe that everything in the system needs to be elaborately documented. ISO 9001 only requires one quality manual, six procedures, and approximately 20 records. Many organizations are better off sticking to what is required and keeping those documents simple; additional procedures and records should be considered only if they add value to the system.

Set the example.

Some employees, especially mid-level managers, may find it difficult to change their ways of doing things and some can have a tendency to deviate from defined procedures. To change this, top management should ‘walk the talk’, i.e. they should not allow deviations from set procedures or permit the release of materials with deviations. Under such an approach, the mid-level managers will start respecting system requirements and everyone will take account of their responsibilities for the success of the QMS.