Archive for the ‘Consultancy’ Category

Peter&Helen WB smallIt can take a while to get a case study completed ¬†– but isn’t it worth it! Read on . . .

Turner Hire & Sales Ltd have been established in South Yorkshire since 1972 hiring and selling industrial plant from their branches at Rotherham, Wath, Worksop and Sheffield. The company decided they needed to give their customers a clear signal of their desire and determination to provide an even better quality product and service. This led them to look at the international quality management standard ISO 9001 and search for a local consultant.

In doing so Managing Director Mick Holmes came across another Rotherham based Chamber member, Pete Thornton-Smith of the 9001 Support Centre at Thornbank on Moorgate, at a Quality Conference in Sheffield back in 2014. They soon struck up a good understanding of the work required and how to ‚Äėmake it happen‚Äô.

Mick makes the point, ‚ÄúI always feel much more comfortable working with local experts and found that whoever I asked, one name kept getting recommended, so Pete was subsequently engaged to work with Quality Manager Helen Hollingworth and began working with Turner Hire late 2014 and we are delighted with the outcome‚ÄĚ.

‚ÄúPete demonstrated a vast amount of knowledge as regards the standard but more importantly, how to work with us to ensure that we installed an effective system that everyone understood. A jargon free area if you will. In addition, we threw him a few curve balls it has to be said, but he calmly dealt with them and returned them with interest‚ÄĚ.

Mick goes on to say ‚ÄúThe certification of compliance with ISO 9001:2008 recognises that the policies, practices and procedures of our firm ensure consistent quality in the product and service that we provide to our customers. With this certification, our customers can be confident that Turner Hire & Sales Ltd is dedicated to maintaining the highest efficiency and responsiveness in achieving our ultimate goal ‚Äď guaranteed customer satisfaction‚ÄĚ.

‚ÄúAchieving the certification was a smooth and natural progression for the company, because it essentially formalised the structures, standards and processes we already had in place. Having gained certification for all our sites at the end of 2015 with ISOQAR, we are in a much stronger position commercially and have been delighted to see the benefits that Pete talked about early on in the project‚ÄĚ. Peter and Helen are pictured with the certificate.

It goes without saying we would recommend Chamber members to collaborate together as much as they can and if you need 9001 (and 14001 or 18001 for that matter as we do) then Pete‚Äôs your man. He really does ‚ÄėLighten the Load‚Äô.

You can contact turner Hire and Sales on 01709 828444, www.turnerhire.com or email them on enquiries@turnerhire.com

As always Pete can be contacted at the ISO 9001 Support Centre on 01709 301303 or via his website www.iso9001supportcentre.com or email at  pete@iso9001supportcentre.com

 

As I was about to start a Management Review session for a client the MD put his head round the door and stunned everybody by asking “Do you need me in this meeting”. This was before the new standard was published so it brought a smile to my face as I knew what changes were afoot. Changes that you, like me, doubtless welcomed as being a step in the right direction.

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Once we had all got sight of the new standard, most of us out there advising small SMEs began to wonder how MDs like my friend would cope with their new responsibilities. No longer could they simply declare, “If it’s quality then you need to talk to my quality man”.

The new section on Leadership is cleverly written to clearly differentiate between those duties the MD has to take on board and those he may delegate. However, if he has distanced himself in the past then doubtless many QA people will be giving him a crash course an all things 9001.

The changes will not affect those business where the workload is shared and the team addresses the relevant requirements of the standard knowing the boss had his finger on the pulse and is also chipping in with his contribution. However, they might be in the minority.

How do you you see this panning out where you work or with your clients? Will it also be the case that quality managers and indeed consultants will be excluded from an audit on the basis that the MD should be competent enough to hold a discussion by himself with the auditor?

Why not share your thoughts below.

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 Рnothing.

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 Рnothing.

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 Рbut 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?

I must confess to being quite surprised and disappointed at the number of times that I still hear the story about the 9001 auditor who dutifully conducts the surveillance audit but never goes out of the office.  Gallons of tea or coffee seem to be consumed together with a significant number of your custard creams, bourbons or garibaldis.

The kicker here is that whilst the company inevitably gets through the audit with little or no admonishments, the owner or CEO is left to pick up the tab but often feels disillusioned (or some have said cheated). ¬†This is because, being interested in more than just the ‘badge’ – which is commendable, they know the shortcomings in their system and are looking for the opportunity to discuss possible ways of dealing with them – but it needs the auditor to pick them up first. ¬†Certainly, if they never even go for a look round then the chances are slim.

Here’s how it impacts on the Management Representative

Such omissions make the life of the management representative even harder as the rug is pulled from under his or her feet when their protestations about what the auditor will see when he comes in all goes up in smoke. ¬†“What was that all about?” comes the reply from colleagues. ¬†See, we can just wing it.

Now, I appreciate that auditors must not cross the line and move into consultancy mode. ¬†However, I always looked forward to those guys who would engage in the business and suggest alternative ways of working or even leave you in no uncertain terms that certain aspects must be addressed even though you didn’t want to hear it. ¬†You ended up moving the system forward together.

So, how come we still end up in this day and age with this situation? ¬†Well, dare I say ‘anything for an easy life’ comes to mind and I must stress that can apply to both parties. ¬†Perhaps the prospect of loosing a site if they takes umbrage to their auditor raising numerous NCRs could be another issue.

But what can you do?

Well, that’s the tricky one isn’t it because retaining the certification is clearly of paramount importance. ¬†However, you could have a quiet word at the opening meeting or failing that with your certification body and perhaps ask for a new auditor next time. ¬†There doesn’t seem to be any formal feedback system on this one – although I’ll stand correcting. ¬†I always find that strange seeing as the standard places a great deal of emphasis on customer satisfaction.

Time to practice what gets preached perhaps because, after all, such a situation does devalue all the hard work you’ve put in, even the standard itself and will not¬†prevent second party audits from being heaped on you as the customer sees less and less value in that certificate hanging on the wall.

Be interested to hear your experiences, but excuse me for now as I’ve got a brew on – and whose just cleared us out of all the Rich Tea then? ¬†I swear I’m going to put a lock on that biscuit tin!

Over the years there have been many instances when I see sites pin their ‘flying¬†colours’ to the mast after their audit and it makes me wonder because I know for a fact that the site in question has major¬†issues, ¬†For¬†example, the system hasn’t been managed for months; internal audits haven’t been done and customers have raised¬†serious¬†concerns. ¬†So how come a third party can give it such a glowing report?

In fact I can remember one such site where I was called in to do a resurrection job because a major customer had serious doubts over the certification body whose certificate hung so proudly on the wall. ¬†After a little bit of digging I came to the conclusion that the customer was right. ¬†I couldn’t put up any¬†defence, the system was in a mess – so who was helping who?

This is a timely comment in view of the latest, and some say controversial, version of ISO17021 coming out last month. ¬†The standard now sets out requirements for auditor¬†competence¬†as well as the actual auditing of a system. Its purpose is to set the standard for certification bodies so as to increase the level of trust associated with the role in¬†certification. ¬†They have two years to bring it to fruition so it will be interesting to see if we see a reduction in the number of ‘flying colours’ in that period.

My¬†belief¬†has always been that an auditor should be offering a balanced assessment of a QMS, but if there are any deficiencies, particularly glaring ones, then they shouldn’t shy away from their responsibilities and¬†should¬†report the issues¬†accordingly¬†and look for suitable corrective action. ¬†It does nobody any favours just to keep that certificate on the wall when all around it is falling down. Can you share any similar horror stories?

Tips on auditing are part of my ISO 9001 Training Guide videos currently available on free subscription.

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?