Archive for the ‘Advisor’ Category

That might seem an odd question but it was the one that CQI’s CEO Simon Feary asked of the local Yorkshire Group recently when we met at Leeds earlier this month.  Simon is currently ‘on tour’ going round the various regional groups to get feedback on this issue.  He also wanted to let members know that he has a vision whereby the CQI will become a ‘must join’ body in 2016.

But why?

Well, you may remember some time back there was a certain report issued stating that there could be a serious amount of money added to UK PLC if more companies made use of a quality management system (QMS) within their businesses.  There was a strong feeling that this would seriously raise the profile of the quality professional, but what happened – nothing.

Likewise, over recent years there have been numerous failures within businesses that can be taken as good examples as to what can happen without the controls that a QMS brings to a business.  Remember the financial meltdown of 2008, that oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the contaminated baby food in China, the fiasco with the food supply chain here in the UK, the irregularities with the tender process for a UK main line rail route and so on and so on.  However, what was the outcome as regards us Quality professionals – nothing.

Why was there so little interest?

You begin to wonder what has to happen in order to get the Q word used and accepted as a must have in the future, so why was it met with such apathy. The belief is that the media don’t really understand what quality is, after all how would you describe it?  The common threads that come through from these disasters is the ‘risk to the brand’ and the ‘high costs’ incurred – not forgetting that lives were lost both as victims and management.  Some would argue it also brought, and may still bring, some of the businesses perilously close to the edge.

On a much smaller scale, I recall offering an article to my local respected business newspaper on the benefits of 9001 to SMEs only to be asked – what’s 9001?

Do you know the way forward?

So, have you any ideas as to what the Quality community needs to do to make itself sexy?  Let’s be hearing from you via this blog.

Anybody going around a company performing a quality audit might be forgiven for thinking such issues lie within the 18001 health and safety scheme – but think again.  It beholds us all not to disregard a situation that impacts adversely on employees health and safety within the workplace.

Now this goes beyond the statutory (law as on the statute books) and regulatory (as required by an organisation) stipulations in 9001 which are there in relation to the product or service being provided.  For example, producing vehicles need you to comply with all the relevant requirements to get a vehicle on the road such as MOTs, Road Tax and perhaps Certificates of Compliance dependent upon where the vehicle originated.

However, if on walking around the workshop as you conduct your audit ( assuming you do get out of the office of course ) you spot a set of jacks or ramps with a vehicle hosted in the air but clearly in a more than precarious position you are at liberty to bring it the attention of the site representative.

How about walking around a paint spray shop full of paint and vapours only to find an unprotected oxy-acetylene welding rig bang ( sorry ) in the middle of it all; bar stock in racks with the heaviest stored at the top instead of the bottom or the FLT driver lifting these down by balancing them on the forks because they don’t use pans on the racks; a dirty and noisy shop floor where operators have no option but to eat their snap ( sorry, food for those south of Birmingham) by their machines because there are no canteen facilities or a work space where heavy components have to be hand carried because of the lack of lifting tackle. Now, these may seem far-fetched and I’d agree except for the fact I have seen them! I’m sure you can think of others.

So, even though it doesn’t sit formally inside your audit, remember to raise such issues to be, literally, on the safe side. Imagine how you would feel if you walked away from site then the next day you heard of an accident related to what you witnessed the day before.  You have a duty as a quality professional and it is also another means of adding value to the audit.

ps: If you feel incomfortable because you haven’t got a definitive section of 9001 to lean on then why not suggest it as a preventive action?

Nowadays people tend to be comfortable with the idea of electronic signatures, not so much a password controlled image that is but just a name added usually to the footer of the document. It more often than not is the person who has written it which, in order to get the job done, is the QA person.

Personally, I am not convinced this works on two levels. The need to demonstrate documents have been reviewed before issue and the perhaps more nebulous one of instilling ownership with the process owner with a view to making it an effective process.

It is for both these reasons that I recommend that you adopt a double wet signature approach. First off, the process owner ‘authorises’ the procedure in that he or she accepts that it reflects how the process works in their department. Then the QA Representative ‘approves’ it in that it complies with the document control procedure and would stand up to audit.

If it get’s left to the QA person how do you know the head of department is happy with what has been written. They may not have even seen it!

Nothing beats signing off a document to get ownership, so I would always recommend that you consider this approach. Do you agree?

Well who would have thought it. That recent report by Sir Philip Greene has condemned Government procurement practices as ‘shocking’. He then goes on to quote examples that are just too bizarre for words. Yes I know this is nothing new but uncontrolled and inefficient processes, coupled with a lack of understanding and ownership and performance measures, just appear to be rife.

Wouldn’t you just love to get amongst it all and sort it all out. The framework is there with ISO and businesses have to comply so why should politicians be exempt. Now today I read that whilst Sir Philip raised concern over the current practice of payment within five days to suppliers, to the point of negotiating later payments, the latest Enterprise Czar Lord Young wanted prompt payment to SME to be retained.

You could have a field day.   I have to admit that can’t quite see frustrated Quality professionals marching on Downing Street, but come on where would you start?

It is pleasing to hear that these guides are actually starting to make a difference to my subscribers with one recently responding:

“So far you have already helped me with our supplier quality management and prompted me to add audit corrective actions onto the database I use for product non-conformances so I can review them all together. I couldn’t wait for the last one to arrive”.

I have therefore now uploaded more samples from this series that are aimed at Management Representatives of companies using the standard so as to support them as they manage and develop their system.  With subscribers now on board in Germany, Italy and China you too can check out content before subscribing.

The latest topics added include Control of Non-Conforming Product, writing the Quality Policy; setting Quality Objectives and using a Skill Matrix for training records.  Others will follow on Sales orders, Works orders and Document Control.  The full series will grow into an indispensable guide for the Management Representatives and Quality Professionals alike.  Check out one on Quality Objectives here:

You can find the full set of samples on Utube on the QualityAuthority channel or go to the web site to take up the free subscription for the full series of ISO 9001 Training Guides.

I have been well pleased with how positive the feedback has been for this series of  Training Guides.  In addition it has been fascinating to hear of the diverse reasons people have had for subscribing in the first place.   With several groups now running the next stage is to make some sample vids available on Utube so people can get a feel for what they are about and how they might assist them in their role as Management Representative.

Uploaded so far are snippets on Common Mistakes with Correctives Action, Approved Suppliers List and the one below on Identification and Traceability.  Excerpts from Non-conforming Product, the Quality Policy and Quality Objectives will follow shortly.

You can take out a free subscription for this free series of ISO 9001 Training Guides by clicking this link.

Companies who install quality management systems are often left to their own devises once the system is installed. To me this is the time when they need the practical support so they get their house in order before the audit. Having worked with many sites to put a system in, I have been very staggered by the lack of good stuff out there so have decided to do something about it. Check it out via this ISO 9001 Training Guides link and let me know what you think. The main web site is here.