Last Thursday (14 May)  I was in Dorset seeing one of our Clients and another successful surveillance visit to one of the management standards.

My journey home was far from enjoyable; just to remind you it was raining heavily.  A journey, which should take three to three and a half hours, took six hours.  The route took me along the A31, M27, M3 and M25. At best we were travelling at walking pace and at times we were stationary for extended periods.  The information signs on the M3 advise that roadworks started in November 2014 and will last for 26 Months. Anyone using the M3 will attest that the repairs are causing long delays.

There were lorries parked on the hard shoulder of the M25 motorway, obviously they had run out of tachometer hours, and this added an extra hazard.  By the time I got home I was exhausted and angry that the infrastructure was unable to cope with rain.

If the requirements of ISO9001 (Quality Management Standard) were applied to the road system it would fail miserably:

  • Customer satisfaction  – none whatsoever
  • Customer complaints – very high
  • Control of non-conformities – none apparent; no sign of Highways Agency traffic officers or Police patrols;
  • Product and Service delivery – was abysmal.  The variable speed limit signs were set variously at 40 MPH (the lowest) and seemed to be randomly set at anything from 40-60.  It was farcical that we were stationary and the indicator was at 50 MPH.

All in all you can tell that I was not amused.  I also thought about the environment; all those vehicles  pumping out exhaust fumes and consuming vast quantities of petrol and diesel.

The road infrastructure really does need some serious investment to allow journeys to be completed in a reasonable time.  I drive on the continent and apart from some exceptions the motorway networks seem to cope well – even in the rain!!

The official blog for independent Management Training
Consultancy, Quality Matters Limited.

This system is probably the most well-known standard in the world and provides confidence for customers that their quality needs will be satisfied and that the product or service will meet their specified requirements.

With its origins based on the Defence Standards through to AQAP (Allied Quality Assurance Publications) and BS5750, finishing up as the truly International ISO9001.  The current version is ISO 9001:2008.

It has been the policy of the International Standards Organisation (ISO) to review and update standards on a regular basis.

A review was carried out in March 2012 which decided that it still was fit for purpose for the time being.  However the ISO/TC176/SC2 (the committee responsible for updating the Standard) met in Bilbao in Spain on June 2012 to start the process of updating the ISO 9001 and its complementary standard ISO 9004. 

However this is not going to be completed any time soon, like most update schedules the ISO committee have produced a preliminary time line.

June 2012 the draft design and strategic plan stage 

The draft specification:

  1. The main task was to provide a core set of requirements that would be valid for another ten years or so.
  2. Continue to remain generic and relevant to organisations of all sizes and types
  3. Maintain focus on effective process management
  4. Ensure the standard reflects changes in quality management and technology
  5. Ensure that the standard meets the changing requirements for complex
  6. Ensure that the standard remains compatible with other ISO management standards
  7. Facilitates effective implementation by organisations and effective conformity assessment by first, second and third parties
  8. To use simplified language and writing styles to improve the ease of use and understanding of the standard.

December 2012 Draft design approved
April 2013  First committee draft for comment
March 2014 First draft ballot
November 2014 Final Draft for public comment
June 2015 Final draft ballot

and if all goes to plan……………………….

September 2015 – Publication

It is encouraging that this standard, which was the basis of all the management standards, will be kept up to date and will continue to be the most effective and visible quality management standard across the world.

The official blog for independent Management Training
Consultancy, Quality Matters Limited.

Green shoots of economic recovery seem a long way off as companies try to cut costs and improve efficiency.  Increases in fuel and other costs are making this even tougher.  The proposed increases in postal charges along with the ever escalating insurance costs mean that company directors and owners need to squeeze every last drop of efficiency savings.

ISO9001 has always been a simple method to increase effectiveness and efficiency by cutting out or reducing costs of errors and failure.   ISO9001 has at its centre the need to turn “Customer Requirements” into “Customer Satisfaction” while making improvements to achieve the goal of continual improvement.

The costs of setting up the quality system to meet the requirements of ISO9001 are usually recovered quickly and the bonus is the exposure to potential customers requiring 9001 as a tender requirement, through the Dti register of quality competent organisations.

The business review, which is part of the initial setting up process, will often throw up opportunities for improvement and cost savings when carried out by a skilled consultant.

Companies that have so far survived the downturn need the advantage that a certification to an International  Standard  can bring:

  • Entry qualification to some tenders
  • Recognised  worldwide;
  • Reduction in errors;
  • Improved staff morale through relevant training;
  • Reductions in waste (get it right first time);
  • Measurable levels of customer satisfaction;

The process required to achieve certification to ISO9001 is often not complicated because companies still in business after the worst economic downturn since the 1930’s must be doing a lot of things right.  Imagine what the benefits of an ISO9001 certification can bring.

The official blog for independent Management Training
Consultancy, Quality Matters Limited.

What is ISO 9001?

A Quality Management system  for turning customer requirements into customer satisfaction.
Provides the mechanism for continual improvement.  A set of common sense guidelines for running a successful business

What are the benefits of ISO 9001 Registration?

Internationally recognised quality mark.  Certificates awarded by independent accredited organisations.  Customers do not have to do their own checks on a supplier.

How many ISO 9001 Certificates have been issued?

Over  1 million worldwide.

The Model for ISO9001   

What is covered by ISO9001?

BS EN ISO 9001:2008  requires 5 main sections to be addressed, these are:

  1. Quality Management System;
  2. Management Responsibility;
  3. Resource Management;
  4. Product Realisation;
  5. Measurement, Analysis and Improvement

Each section is subdivided as required and covers all elements of the business having an impact on quality.

How long does it take to obtain certification?

This obviously varies from organisation to organisation, but the prime requirement is that the organisation must have three months of ‘track record’ from completion of  the document set.
As rough guide 9001 can be achieved in about 8-10 months.

What documentation is needed?

A Quality manual and procedures/processes for operating the systems.

Once the certificate is issued what happens next?

The certification authority will carry out surveillance visits each year to ensure continued compliance.

Sections of ISO9001:2008

  1. General Requirements
    1. Documentation Requirements
      1. General
      2. Quality Manual
      3. Control of Documents
      4. Control of Records
  2. Management Responsibility
    1. Management Commitment
    2. Customer Focus
    3. Quality Policy
    4. Planning
      1. Quality Objectives
      2. Quality Management System Planning
    5. Responsibility, Authority and Communication
      1. Responsibility and Authority
      2. Management Representative
      3. Internal Communication
    6. Management Review
      1. General
      2. Review Inputs
      3. Review Outputs
  3. Resource Management
    1. Provision of Resources
    2. Human Resources
      1. General
      2. Competence, Training and Awareness
    3. Infrastructure
    4. Work Environment
  4. Product Realisation
    1. Planning of Product Realisation
    2. Customer-Related Processes
      1. Determination of Requirements Related to the Product
      2. Review of Requirements Related to the Product
      3. Customer Communication
    3. Design and development
    4. Purchasing
      1. Purchasing Process
      2. Purchasing Information
      3. Verification of Purchased Product
    5. Product Provision
      1. Control of  Product Provision
      2. Validation of Processes for Product Provision
      3. Identification and traceability
      4. Customer Property
      5. Preservation of Product
    6. Control of Monitoring and Measuring Equipment
  5. Measurement, Analysis and Improvement
    1. General
    2. Monitoring and Measurement
      1. Customer Satisfaction
      2. Internal Audit
      3. Monitoring and Measurement Monitoring of Processes
      4. Monitoring and Measurement of Product
    3. Control of Nonconforming Product
    4. Analysis of Data
    5. Improvement
      1. Continual Improvement
      2. Corrective Action
      3. Preventive Action
The official blog for independent Management Training
Consultancy, Quality Matters Limited.

I have used Microsoft Office is its various forms for many years and have found it to be very useful for documents, spreadsheets etc, and recently upgraded to the latest version 2010.   I expected it to do all the things that the older versions did and was pleasantly surprised to see that Digital Rights Management, although in the 2007 version, now works well.

Let me explain what DRM (Digital Rights Management) does for me:

  • It allows me to control who can read, write and change documents I have produced;
  • It allows me to stop my document being printed by someone else;
  • It allows me to stop my documents being copied or ‘cut and pasted’;
  • It allows me to encrypt a document or to require a password to open the piece.

These are very useful in ISO9001 (Quality Management Systems)  for document control and also in ISO27001 ( Information Security Management) to ensure restricted circulation documents remain restricted.

I particularly like the one page overview of properties which shows details of the author, date created, changes and last modified dates. These are all requirements for a good document control or document configuration management systems used in the Management Standards, including the Aerospace and automotive standards.

The other elements include the revised PowerPoint, Publisher, One Note, Infopath, Visio, Project and others.

In short, I like the newest of the Microsoft Office packages.

The official blog for independent Management Training
Consultancy, Quality Matters Limited.

Could it be that we are coming out of recession?  The messages are rather mixed at the moment, with one publication saying that we are still mired in recession and other saying that these mystical green shoots of recovery are showing.

One indication that we may be coming to the end of recession is the increasing interest in ISO9001 by companies of all types.  It is pleasing to note that manufacturing companies are seeing an increase in demand for their products and want to maximise this effect.  Continual improvement is the slogan for 2010 along with increased efficiencies. 

ISO9001 has been the single most successful standard throughout the world, with more certifications that any other standard.  Companies without ISO9001 are now looking to achieve certification to remain competitive.  Indeed ISO9001 is an entry qualification for a good number of tenders/PQQ’s (pre qualification questionnaires).

Then process for achieving 9001 is reasonable straight forward and if set up correctly will enhance the company’s activities, provide structured reporting and enable the company to compete on equal terms.
Here at Quality Matters we have been putting quality systems into place since 1991 and our proud boast is that every company using our services has achieved an ISO 9001 pass at assessment and at the first attempt.
We are pleased to discuss your requirements and explain how 9001 can help you and your organisation, together with costs and a timescale.

The official blog for independent Management Training
Consultancy, Quality Matters Limited.

May we wish you all a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

We, at Quality Matters want to ensure that our customers are very satisfied with the services we supply, indeed if any of our customers report that they are only satisfied, we carry out an internal investigation to find out why. 

The company was established in 1991 and during that time we have received only one dissatisfaction report.  On investigation it turned out to be a misunderstanding, however we apologised and refunded the fee in full;  our customer was rather taken aback at this and said that he merely wanted to register his comment. The misunderstanding resolved this customer has recommended our services to others and used our services a number of times himself.

We believe that to achieve this level of customer satisfaction we need to go way beyond satisfaction and this we strive to achieve.  This customer care ethic has been a primary driver for nineteen years and as we enter on yet another decade we are quietly confident that our customers will continue to maintain their association with Quality Matters.

The official blog for independent Management Training
Consultancy, Quality Matters Limited.

We have Clients in Germany and whenever I carry out audits for them or on their behalf at their suppliers, I am inevitably pleased to see how much more training is provided to workers than a similar company in the UK.

It seems that all workers receive a good level of product knowledge as well as quality and environmental awareness. Where hazardous goods are concerned the level of training is excellent. I also saw that a greater number of first aiders are trained.

There is of course always a downside, and on this occasion I did see a bottle in an eyewash station dated May 2006. The people in the department obviously ignored it but I firmly believe that the eyewash could have caused just as much damage to a person’s eye as the chemicals they were trying to dilute.

I don’t think that it would have been used as they also had a powerful water eye wash unit powered from the mains water, but the fact that it was there in the first place gives cause for concern. The bottle was consigned to the rubbish bin so no harm was done.

It was probably fortuitous that I carried out a vendor audit when I did rather than wait for a health inspector or even worse, an accident.

Rolls Royce cars are now produced by BMW and I am sure that training has played a big part in the success of German industry and although they are suffering in this recession they will come out of it strong and skilled.

The official blog for independent Management Training
Consultancy, Quality Matters Limited.

The current situation where banks and financial institutions are not lending to industry is causing serious damage to our economy. It has become clear that companies are delaying bill payment until the last possible moment and in turn this is causing cash flow shortages not seen even in the 80’s recession.

The inevitable result is that organisations at the end of the purchase chain are being starved of cash and in some cases this cash-flow shortfall is putting viable companies out of business. I have noticed that some companies are unable to accept new orders because they do not have the cash to purchase raw material to service the orders.

The vast amount of cash advanced to the banking industry was designed to allow them to restart lending to industry; instead the banks used this cash to shore up their balance sheets instead of being made available to lend.

We are told that the borrowing by the Government will take up to twenty years to pay back. The pay-back time may be considerably longer if our mainstay industries are no longer there.

Companies that have ISO9001 in place are better placed to weather the downturn as they have a solid set of terms and conditions which include payment terms.
Remember those who shout loudest and have good control of their sales ledgers will the first to be paid; this may be the difference between survival and insolvency.

The official blog for independent Management Training
Consultancy, Quality Matters Limited.

This standard was last updated in the year 2000 and should have been reviewed last year but this was delayed until 2008.

The main changes in IS9001:2008 are as follows:

Clause 0.2 (Process approach)
Text added to emphasise the importance of processes being capable of
achieving desired outputs

Clause 1.1 (Scope)

  • Clarification that product also includes intermediate product
  • Information regarding statutory, regulatory and legal requirements

Clause 4.1 (General requirements)

  • Notes added to explain more about outsourcing
  • Types of control that may be applied to outsourced processes
  • Relationship to clause 7.4 (Purchasing)
  • Clarification that outsourced processes are still responsibility of the organisation and must be included in the quality management system

Clause 4.2.1 (Documentation)

  • Clarification that QMS documentation also includes records
  • Documents required by the standard may be combined
  • ISO 9001 requirements may be covered by more than one documented Procedure

Clause 4.2.3 (Document control)
Clarification that only external documents relevant to the QMS need to be

Clause 4.2.4 (Control of records)
Editorial changes only (better alignment with ISO 14001)

Clause 5.5.2 (Management representative)
States that this must be a member of the organisation’s own management

Clause 6.2.1 (Human resources)
Clarification that competence requirements are relevant for any personnel who
are involved in the operation of the quality management system

Clause 6.3 (Infrastructure)
Includes information systems as example

Clause 6.4 (Work environment)
Clarifies that this includes conditions under which work is performed and Includes (for example physical, environmental and other factors such as noise,
Temperature, humidity, lighting, or weather)

Clause 7.2.1 (Customer related processes)
Clarifies that post-delivery activities may include:

  • Actions under warranty provisions
  • Contractual obligations such as maintenance services
  • Supplementary services such as recycling or final disposal

Clause 7.3.1 (Design & development planning)
Clarifies that design and development review, verification and validation have
distinct purposes. These may be conducted and recorded separately or in any combination as suitable for the product and the organisation

Clause 7.3.3 (Design & development outputs)
Clarifies that information needed for production and service provision includes
preservation of the product

Clause 7.5.4 (Customer property)
Explains that both intellectual property and personal data should be considered
as customer property

Clause 7.6 (Now called Control of Monitoring and Measuring equipment)
Explanatory notes added regarding the use of computer software:
“Confirmation of the ability of computer software to satisfy the intended
application would typically include its verification and configuration management
to maintain its suitability for use.”

Clause 8.2.1 (Customer satisfaction)
Note added to explain that monitoring of customer perception may include input
from sources such as customer satisfaction surveys, customer data on delivered
product quality, user opinion surveys, lost business analysis, compliments, and
dealer reports

Clause 8.2.3 (Monitoring / Measurement of process)
Note added to clarify that when deciding on appropriate methods, the organisation should consider impact on the conformity to product requirements and on the effectiveness of the quality management system.

The changes are so minor and no new requirements have been introduced that little effort will be required by users of the standard to achieve certification to the 2008 standard.

The official blog for independent Management Training
Consultancy, Quality Matters Limited.