Managing quality - You can do it! - Part 1
How to get yourself registered to ISO 9002 - the Quality Standard that everybody recognises. The series covers why you should get yourself registered, the requirements of the standard and detailed guidance on what you need to do to do to get the most valuable certificate that you can have. The series begins with an introduction to ISO 9002 and why you ought to start the process.
ISO 9002 is one of the international standards for Quality Management Systems that follow on from the earlier BS 5750 series of British Standards. The original BS 5750 series has now become a European Standard (EN) and also an International Standard (ISO); the full name of ISO 9002 is actually BS EN ISO 9002.
The ISO 9000 series of standards are standards for Quality Management Systems and cover the management of quality in the business. ISO 9000 is all about common sense in business systems and provides a framework for quality management of any type of product or service.
The ISO 9000 standards are not the same as product standards and ISO 9002 does not set any performance or product requirements. Performance and product requirements are set by the relevant product standard or by the customer. A product cannot conform to ISO 9002. A company can get ISO 9002 but not it's products.
The standard has several sections and these are:
BS EN ISO 9001: which includes manufacturing and also a design element. As general rule systems suppliers should have BS EN ISO 9001 to cover the system design.
BS EN ISO 9002: which includes manufacture but has no design element. As a general rule window fabricators should have BS EN ISO 9002.
BS EN ISO 9003: which covers final inspection and testing and servicing and is not really applicable to the window industry.
The sections of the standards are shown in Figure 1.1 below.
Figure 1.1: The Structure of the ISO 9000 Standards
The achievement of registration to ISO 9002 by any company tells the staff, customers and suppliers a lot about the company's attitude to quality but there is more to it than that. ISO 9002 also shows:
- That the company cares for their customers.
- That the company is there for the long term and not simply 'here today and gone tomorrow'.
- That the company is reputable and not afraid to subject itself to external inspection.
- That the company is committed to the development of the industry.
- That the company is serious about delivering quality products to their customers all the time.
If you want to tell people this type of thing about your company then you should seriously consider preparing for and applying for ISO 9002 registration as soon as possible.
Why is ISO 9002 important?
Apart from the things it says about your company, the achievement of the standard can produce significant benefits to the company in all areas, from sales to production. Some of the benefits that can be found are:
- Increased sales and business opportunities - ISO 9002 can gain the company business and increase sales in many areas. Most local authorities now demand ISO 9002 as a pre-condition for tendering.
- Selling can be easier - most consumers recognise ISO 9002 and know that it relates to the quality of your products. ISO 9002 removes customers concerns about quality and makes selling easier. Satisfied customers become your "free" (and best) salespeople.
- Increased confidence in the products you sell - every product you sell is a potential liability and ISO 9002 can give you extra confidence that the products you manufacture and sell are not likely to come back again. Quality is about selling goods that don't come back to customers that do!
- Increased effectiveness of management systems - by comparing and improving your systems to the ISO framework you can "tune up" the management systems that you haven't thought about for a long time, you can weed out the inefficiencies and left-overs from the past.
- Increased involvement by all of the business partners - ISO 9002 is a very concrete way of showing our staff, customers and suppliers that we are prepared to invest in the company for the future and can improve communications and morale at all levels.
- Improved financial results - the elimination of waste, re-work and scrap, combined with improved productivity is reflected very quickly in the financial results of any company. Quality costs are 'money lying on the floor' and ISO 9002 provides you with the systems to pick it up. The investment for ISO 9002 and cost effective quality management is one of the most highly geared investments that you can make.
There are more to be found, such as a better understanding of the quality practices in your company, greater consistency of the quality practices in your company but you have to work at all of these because nothing comes free in any business.
The use of ISO 9002 should never be seen as a "paperwork" exercise but as a real chance to improve everything about your business.
You can implement many of the ideas of ISO 9002 internally without involving anybody else but the real benefits come when you get external registration and have your system certificated. Many different companies can carry out external registration and the best known are probably BSi, Lloyds, Yarsley and TRADA. Many companies offer registration services but you should look for one that is "accredited" and which is entitled to use the NACB "Crown and Tick" logo. This means that the registration body has itself been checked and approved for the quality if it's services. You should also look for a certification body that has been approved to offer certification in your area of business; this is called the "scope" of certification services. Certification from a company approved for certification of electrical goods is not going to carry much weight in the window sector.
External certification provides proof that you meet the requirements of the standard, that an independent body checks your system at regular intervals and the regular inspections keep you on the straight and narrow!
The start of the registration trail is to decide on your chosen registration body and to contact them for an information pack. The procedure for registration varies slightly with each body but will be clearly explained in the information pack.
Whichever certification body you choose to use there is a simple process towards registration and this is:
Figure 1.2: The Steps to Registration
Achievement of ISO 9000 should never be seen as an end in itself, it is the start of a journey towards 'Total Quality' where the goals are always moving towards improved quality. Total Quality should be the ultimate aim of any manufacturer; the components of Total Quality are shown in Figure 1.3 (below).
Figure 1.3: The Components of Total Quality
The components needed for Total Quality are:
- Management Commitment - Without this there is no sense in proceeding with any aspect of quality. The drive for change must come from the top!
- Quality Systems - ISO 9002 provides the systems for improvement and management.
- Quality Tools - These are the tools that are used to identify areas for improvement and to set out the action plans.
- Quality Improvement Plans - These are the essential plans for improving the quality of your products. It will not happen without planning and action!
All of the components need to be present - if any one is missing then "Total Quality" will never be achieved and any efforts to achieve this are bound to fail. Get all of the components in place before you even think about "Total Quality".
"Managing quality" is designed to give you direct and clear information on the requirements of ISO 9002. The series has been written specifically for window fabricators but most of the information is equally relevant to plastics processing of a general nature. The series is:
Part 1: Introduction (This section)
Part 2 - The requirements of ISO 9002
Part 3 - The procedures (Section 1)
Part 4 - The procedures (Section 2)
Part 5 - The procedures (Section 3)
Part 6 - The procedures (Section 4)
Part 7 - The procedures (Section 5)
Last edited: 11/03/10
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