We all now need to be aware that strategic actions we take in business can impact on this group of people as stated in the upgraded ISO standards. A good example has been the development of, so called, SMART motorways across the UK, something you can identify with I’m sure.

CIP

These seemed to have been introduced without that much recourse to the views of motorists and now the RAC have reviewed them in their Motoring 2019 report and stated that 72 percent of motorists are worried about whether or not they would reach the refuge areas. Sadly, we already have reports of motorists that didn’t with fatal consequences.

Now I appreciate that this scenario may not fit the norm for a business planning to make strategic changes in how it operates, but the principle is the same. Consider the implications before making that decision.

As the report stated:
“We need to set the scene at the very start and communicate and consult with our customers, stakeholders or in this case the general public, especially if we want the initiative to be successful”.

Hopefully, the consequences where you work will not be as calamtous.

We all know that Preventive Action was replaced by Risk Based Management when ISO 9001 was updated. However, are you clear on the three levels that need to be assessed?

The top management need to look at the big picture and there is no better way than by means of a SWOT analysis.  Strengths and Weakness in the business and Opportunities and Threats outside the business. Sorted as per one of my previous posts – just search for SWOT.

As for the QMS, it’s a simple risk assessment model on a spreadsheet to score all aspects of the processes. So, we start at Enquiries and go right the way through to Despatch and on-site activities if relevant. The QMS then follows with general aspects such as IT features and Site Services. We simply look at:

  • Frequency – of the process taking place
  • Likelihood – of the process falling over despite current controls
  • Severity – the outcome to the business

It is so simple you will wonder hat all the fuss is about. Once you have set it up you just rescore it as things change. Fair to say that my clients were often dreading tackling risk, but once they see how straight forward this model is then they are all on board.

Finally, and I accept this is more within aerospace and other more demanding standards but still a good control to have in place, you have risk at the order level itself. Are you taking on sizes, materials, specifications or requirements on a drawing that you haven’t done before. If so what are the mitigating actions you will introduce – unless of course you just leave it to run and hope nothing goes bang!

Also remember that another incentive to tackle this is the simple requirement to review mitigating action at the Management Review. I often refer to a ‘rule of three’ within a lot of aspects of a QHSE system and, as you can see, risk is no different.

As I run various courses to make staff competent internal auditors, I always refer them to the section in ISO 19011 that refers to the skills needed to make a success of it. So often I see delegates put forward with little thought for whether they have the relevant ‘soft’ skills.

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When you take on board the list below you can, like me, see that there are a wide range of sills required. I’ll leave to you to decide if you meet the criteria.

Auditors should possess the necessary qualities to enable them to act in accordance with the principles of auditing and should exhibit professional behaviour during the performance of audit activities, including being:

ethical (fair, truthful, sincere, honest, discreet)
open-minded (willing to consider alternative ideas or points of view)
diplomatic (tactful in dealing with people)
observant (actively observing physical surroundings and activities)
perceptive (aware of able to understand situations)
versatile (able to readily adapt to different situations)
tenacious (persistent and focused on achieving objectives)
decisive (able to reach timely conclusions based on logical reasoning and analysis)
self-reliant (able to act and function independently whilst interacting effectively with others)
responsible and ethical (even though these activities may not always be popular and may sometimes result in disagreement or confrontation)
open to improvement (willing to learn from situations and striving for better audit results)
culturally sensitive (observant and respectful off the culture of the auditee)
collaborative (effectively interacting with others, including audit team members and the auditee’s personnel)

Be interesting to see how you feel about these qualities and characteristics, but for now I’ll just leave it there for you to ponder.

One tool that is perhaps more common in aerospace, automotive and the other high-end systems is the good old Turtle diagram. It is designed not only to give a visual link between your manual and procedures, but to set the criteria against which the process will be measured.

I have been preachig for many a year that your QMS can be the best written, best looking and best adopted that has ever been – but if it doesn’t ‘perform’ for the benefit of the business then what is the point? 

Check it out below and try and apply it to your key processes. You might suprise yourself – always remember as well that the metrics(s) should be realistic and agreed with the process owners.

Turtle

When you need this skill you have to usually decide who to visit for a few days. Well, I could come to you if you are in Yorkshire, The Midlands, Humberside or Derbyshire. Now there’s a thought. Simply click the picture to:

>watch the light-hearted video of a serious offer
>read numerous testimonials from satisfied clients
>discover more about the courses

It might just be what you have been looking for.

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I’m sure that your SWOT analysis has this down as an external threat already, but having just returned from a local Chamber economic review session here in South Yorkshire I thought it might be useful to share with you what we might have to contend with when we get to that part of the meeting where we review factors that could have an impact on the QMS.

thinkstock brexit
photo courtesy of BBC/ Thinkstock

Things offered for consideration on the agenda might be (without liability until everything is clarified of course):

  • Checking employees who might need help with the Settlement Scheme for themselves and/ or their partners. Some companies were even prepared to pay the £65 fee in order to ensure there was minimal disruption but fortunately the fee was rescinded on January 21st.
  • Accepting that recruitment will be more competitive in relation to attracting the required skill sets so perhaps considering a revised strategy , say collaborating with local organisations more and bringing them through the ranks.
  • Being aware that CE marking will not be valid until an equivalent UK based authorising body is set up. Likewise new IP/ patent applications would need a separate UK based authority.
  • Custom declarations may need IT upgrade to generate the increased level of documentation if you currently trade with only the EU. You would be more familiar with all this if you trade beyond the EU already of course
  • Review your logistics, transport and supply chain. Make your contracts Brexit proof going forward and strengthen any arbitration clauses for example. Certainly consider the impact if you operate a JIT system.
  • Review any contracts with suppliers and customers especially if they contain specific arrangements for territories and currencies.
  • What would be the impact of (hopefully) short term currency fluctuations and don’t forget how it might impact on pension funds as well as the business.

All worth a look at where relevant and don’t forget the Government has issued a raft of technical notices and there is a support pack from the HMRC.

As if the agenda wasn’t long enough already I hear you say! Why not let us know how you get on? As always, more good support material on my web site by clicking here http://www.iso9001supportcentre.com

 

I know I, along with everybody else on this side of the quality divide, have been banging on about this. Certification Bodies are short on auditors and they in turn are short on dates. However, watch this short video about another issue (even though WP appears to want me upside down in the thumbnail all’s good when you click play). You will not believe it, or will you? Will you please let me know.

 

 

I have uploaded a video that was taken when I presented this as a talk at the Sheffex Exhibition in Sheffield back in November 2017. I sincerely hope that most of you won’t have to read it because you will have transitioned or at least are on your way.

However, on top of the certification bodies telling me that at the end of 2017 some 25% hadn’t even started, I am now hearing of companies that are in that position plus certification bodies are running out of dates and auditors. You will see a brief summary of the benefits of 9001 but, as they didn’t start the recording at the start, you need to know that the three management styles I refer to at the beginning are:

headless chickens
blue a***d flies
and busy fools

What follows is a review of the new requirements and then a simple strategy to get you upgraded to the new 2015 version. Along the way you may also get the feeling that the technical gremlins were out in force as well – and you’d be right 🙂

Be good to hear feedback from as to your experience of the transition where you work and remember that there is more useful information at the iso 9001 support centre.

 

canstockphoto43475088Reviewing how certain sites are coping with the new ‘2015’ format for internal audits has occasionally flagged up some interesting issues.  Some have taken the ‘interview’ style with top management quite literally and reported them along the lines of ‘I asked/ he said’ which just doesn’t come over well when you read it back. You need to summarise the discussion in a way that allows you to report it in the usual factual way rather than it turning into a play.

Of more importance, you still need the objective evidence. You can’t be asking questions then reporting it back as ‘It was stated that etc’. So, what to look for?

Clearly a major document should be the SWOT analysis for the Context of the Organisation. I covered this in a video on a recent post. Also you would expect to see some document that has the needs and requirements of interested parties and the recent reviews and actions if necessary. When you come onto Leadership itself ask them to explain using document that already exist – objectives, policy, critical support process risk review etc.

The need for objective evidence is still their whatever the audit. More helpful tips and support as always can be found at the ISO 9001 Support Centre. Just click through.

It is a very common occurrence when I go on site to conduct my Competent Auditor session that I get asked, “Well that’s OK, but what does an audit look like and what questions should I ask?” Taking that on board, my colleague Amanda and I are putting this video out to see what reaction it gets. Would it help you, your colleagues or your clients get a clearer picture of how they should go about an audit and how to handle the responses?

It is only the trailer as the full video lasts around 12 minutes which starts with a good audit then follows with the three reasons it fails – system inadequate, disregarded or needed

Please leave your comment below and I’ll send the full version to those of you who offer the most constructive feedback. PLEASE don’t get hung up on the actual content and interpretation as we all know each of us will probably approach it in our one unique way 🙂

Remember we are always here to help and support you in your 9001 work. See for yourself by clicking through to the 9001 Support Centre.