Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

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were even prepared to pay the £65 fee in order to ensure there was minimal disruption but fortunately the fee was rescinded on January 21st.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

 

CQI article – November 2012

This latest in the line of good content coming out of the CQI reflects on what they and I can only describe as a missed opportunity following the recent report on how much buisnesses adopting a Quality Management System in the UK could yield the GDP.

Having been asked to a meeting at BIS, Simon Feary talks us through the lacklustre response from them that basically revolves around their stance that they don’t see it as their role to tell business what to do. Maybe not in terms of operational specifics but surely some support and encouragement as to what might be a useful gconcept. Give me strength.

One aspect of getting certified that sites need to manage is who they select to do the certification audit.  In my opinion, the first thing to make sure of is that it is a UKAS ( or equivalent ) body so that you know you are getting a qualified service.  However, there are still organisations out there that operate outside those limits and it can be tempting to go with them if money is tight.  Having said that, the old adage that you only get what you pay for happens to apply whoever you select.

You might be forgiven for thinking that of all the business assessments that you have to pay for then surely the quality system will be one where everyone delivers from a level playing field – not so.  In fact on several discussions I have initiated on LinkedIn the concept of high cost – low cost auditors seems to be accepted as part and parcel of this process.

Can it make that much difference?

Well yes it can actually.  There are clearly the market leaders who, not surprisingly, charge a premium price.  However, even looking beyond them the differences can be significant.

Putting them all into the mix,  I had a single site with less than 10 staff and I did my usual of getting three quotes so the client could get a feel of the overall costs.  This was both for the Stage 1 and 2 certification audits then the annual maintenance and surveillance audits for the three year approval period.  Now, the costs ranged from £2750 to £3681, a difference of £931 or near as makes no difference a third.

So, don’t follow the crowd and go with what the rest have got.  Get several quotes when the time is right as you would for other business services you purchase and make sure you are on the right side of the line.  If you need any more help on this then I’m more than happy to help. Visit the web site on www.thebpasgroup.co.uk.

It’s good to see this quantified in a recent piece of research instigated by the CWI (Charted Quality Institute) and CMI (Charted Management Institute) that states the impact on GDP which equates to 6%.

Who comes out on top?

It actually offers a UK Quality Comparison Table that shows Manufacturing at the top but makes the case that the Public sector could do better if it adopted the quality approach.  Some of us have been saying that for some time and I refer you to an earlier blog here.

However I digress.  As Simon Feary, CQI CEO, says:

“This research quantifies the contribution of quality management to the UK economy for the first time and in doing so shows that we cannot afford to forgo the huge economic, business and employment potential that it provides.”

“These findings should send a powerful message to organisational leaders that quality management needs to be fully implemented in all organisations and to policy makers that they need to create an environment in which quality management is encouraged and can thrive.”

The way to get the most from your QMS

One of the key areas where a good, well maintained QMS should assist is in the removal of waste and variation both of which can be costed to help get the message across to senior management.  In addition the non-conformance system can have all its elements assigned a cost whether it is the obvious cost of scrap components, rework or simply the time taken to process each record.

In addition, you may also be familiar with the concept of Quality Costs whereby the cost of Preparation, Inspection and Failure again drives awareness as to how the cost of lax controls and processes can harm a business.  At least, armed with this information, you can then move on to reverse the trends.

How to get the full picture

This is the link to the CQI press release and from the site you can get the full report.  However, for those with less time here is the article on this piece of CQI QMS Research from my CQI magazine that also contains three case studies.  If you want any help in putting some costs to your business operations through your QMS then I am more than willing to help.  Contact details are on my web site so just get in touch.

There should now be no doubt that a good QMS really can put pound notes on the bottom zone.  Spread the word people.

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?

Customer satisfaction. . . . . how are we meant to measure that then for heaven’s sake.  Not the dreaded questionnaires, oh telephone surveys well that’ll work.  Why don’t we send our sales people out to talk to them whilst we’re at it.

This is one of the major stumbling blocks for many companies when they start  to get their heads round paragraph 8 in the ISO 9001 standard.  However, there it is plus your data on deliveries and reject levels isn’t good enough on its own – it needs to be data that your customer has generated.  Well I’ve got some great news for you – the goal posts are on the move!

I just read Dr Osman Khan’ blog here and it discusses the need not just to get the order there on time at the right price and quality but to go one better and delight the customer.  Would that create ‘delight’ – well think how you felt when you last bought something then received more than you expected – more than would just keep you satisfied.  Suggests it would work doesn’t it and certainly in current times when any competitive edge is worth recording especially if this generates more customer loyalty for your efforts.

Customer satisfaction is the base line, a given, so you need to go beyond it. So when you next sit down with your team don’t just settle for ‘satisfaction’ raise the bar and aim for ‘delight’.  Now there’s a challenge.

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.