Managing quality - You can do it! - Part 7
This is the last in this series and we finally get to the end of the 'Road to ISO 9002 registration'. I hope you have enjoyed reading it but more than that, I hope that you have gained some real understanding of ISO 9002 through the series. The standard is simple common sense in a formal system and I hope the series has spurred you to think about getting ISO 9002 systems in place in your business.
Careful and appropriate handling, storage, packaging and delivery are necessary to ensure that products are suitably protected from damage and deterioration. It makes no sense to buy and make good quality products and then damage them in handling. This applies as much to components that are to be incorporated into the product as to the completed product.
All handling presents a risk to operators and if you have documented your Health and Safety Procedures the Safe Operating Practices for Manual Handling should be in place to minimise the risks to operators.
Quality records are essential to demonstrate that you are doing what you say you do, are meeting the customer's requirements and have an effective quality system. Quality records are those that relate to the requirements of ISO 9002. The Quality Plan, Master Quality Records List and the individual procedures will define the responsibility for the control of quality records.
You will need to retain and securely store records for varying periods. If your guarantee is for 10 years then most of your records will need to be retained for this long (or longer). For some records the retention period can be very short - use your common sense because the amount of records that can build up can be very large. Start thinking about archiving them as soon as possible!
'Prove it and show me'
The quality system will say what it is you do in your business and how you do this. The audit process is the method of controlling that you do what we say. It is the 'Prove it' section of the steps to registration. Auditing is the part of the process that makes sure that people react as we want them to.
Auditing checks the system operation and helps not only to make the current system run but is a vital part of getting better as the competition gets stronger.
The convergence of the manual and process
The audit process is a mechanism to make changes to both the written and the actual process until they are exactly the same and you are actually doing what you say we are doing. The first drafts of any procedure will not be quite right and will need to be modified to reflect reality. It is recommended that unless a vital part of ISO 9002 is being omitted that the procedure is changed rather than the actual system - words can be changed easily but getting people to change is another thing. The convergence process is show in Figure 7.1 (below).
The quality system is not engraved in stone, it needs to evolve and change as the business needs change and the audit process allows you to modify the system as this happens. A less common (but more valuable) use of the audit process is to simplify the system. This could mean getting rid of forms, combining forms to reduce numbers, making sure information is only recorded once or even removing operations with no further useful purpose. Using auditing to simplify the system is can be the most valuable aspect of auditing.
Auditing by a trained auditor will almost always highlight areas where the system is not working and the resulting non-conformances can be major or minor. Major non-conformances are the show stoppers which will cost the company money or reputation and must be fixed quickly, minor non-conformances are less serious but still must be fixed up to give full compliance with the system.
Auditing should be carried out to an Audit Schedule and a typical schedule is shown in Figure 7.2 (below). A plan such as this will mean that every Procedure is audited when the system is installed and on a regular basis after that.
If we expect our operators to produce good products and to control the production then we must make sure that they, and everybody else in the company, receive the right training. The training procedure exists to make sure that all staff are provided with the right training to allow them to do their jobs properly.
The process should identify the training needs, schedule the training and record the successful completion. These records can be kept with the relevant personnel file. The record can consist of as little as a short note, a date and a signature. For external training, a copy of any attendance certificate is also recommended. Don't forget that the Managing Director needs training as well!
One type of training that is often neglected is the basic 'Induction Training' - when new starters arrive in the company you should give them a 'basic induction training' in the company, their job tasks, the quality system, the Health and Safety requirements of the job. This could save you accidents and a lot of money!
Servicing is not a usual activity of most window fabricators. Where a window, door or conservatory requires attention during the guarantee period this is generally classed as corrective action and treated as per the requirements of that Clause.
Statistical techniques are methods for handling the information that the quality system will generate. The need for statistical techniques is identified in the Quality Plan, where appropriate, and the relevant techniques applied. As a general rule only simple statistical techniques will be used and Figure 7.3 (below) gives an outline of those that might be appropriate for use by many fabricators. Further information on these is available from Tangram Technology.
Figure 7.3: The Statistical Techniques and Problem Solving Tools
The more advanced techniques of Statistical Process Control (SPC) and Process Capability Studies would not generally be relevant to the operations of the small or medium sized window fabricator but will be very relevant to the operations of even small plastics processors.
"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
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) (This section)
Last edited: 11/03/10
© Tangram Technology Ltd. 1998
Our standard disclaimer regarding Internet data applies.