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PlasticsToday’s Management Blog: Conducting a thorough top-to-bottom quality assessment

Applying total quality assessment is a must for every business professional - salespeople, sales managers, operations/plant managers, purchasing managers, quality managers, general managers, vice presidents, CEOs, CFOs - who is concerned about and motivated to improve the effectiveness of the sales, marketing, operations/production and quality functions.

The main purpose of total quality management is to create a culture envisioned by the top manager, the organization as seen by the top versus the organization as it now is. The vision, to be workable, must be realistically attainable, in tune with well-trained and innovative employees.

The author of this Blog has a 30 year track record of successful and creative management, including 15 years in implementing total quality concepts throughout many divisions and functions at many small to large international companies. When contracted to conduct a quality assessment performance for a major client, the cost of poor quality is recorded as "Soft" 60% (white-collar rework, product warranty, excess inventory, cash impact, cost margin, accounts receivable, costly shipping, overtime) and "Hard" 40% (blue-collar rework, scrap, product rework). Of the $6.0 million per year wasted on poor quality, $3.6 million was derived directly from soft functions and $2.4 million from hard functions.

When assessing the company-wide performance, there are 10 requisites to follow:

1.    Require management commitment.

2.    Evaluate managers by how much they improve quality.

3.    Move your mindset away from manufacturing and into the intangibles.

4.    A sharp focus on the satisfaction of customers.

5.    Sell the differentiation of value, not price.

6.    Sell service, create loyal customers.

7.    Sell quality, raise profits.

8.    Process excellence.

9.    Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.

10. Train, Train, Train             

Without a dedicated program of TQA, your manufacturing company will run into big problems whenever ISO or other regulatory inspectors arrive. Take for example the new aerospace standard AS9100 rev C. Registrars have advised that the standard runs very close to the ISO/TS 16949. They also have advised that there is a little more record keeping with AS9100C than TS 16949 or ISO 9001, but not a lot more.

Their motto is "keeping things in the air that are designed to be in the air" or something like that. They advised that it looks really good to a third-party Auditor who is coming in to audit a company if that company's Quality Mgr and/or ISO Coordinator participates in ongoing education hours that relate to AS9100 and ISO standards. A couple of seminars per year usually are all that will be required.

The registrars further advised that AS9100C auditors would hammer a company on 3 or 4 items. The first of these has to do with the flow of customer's requirements from information on a purchase order to management, to production, to material suppliers and any sub suppliers used, to the production floor and all the way to the shipping dock.

The second stumbling block is contract review. When a purchase order arrives, who looks at it and decides if it's correct? Critical is that the proper people are brought into play immediately.

The third point of content is corrective actions. Do you have a data-backed corrective action system? This includes documented procedures to track complaints and/or concerns from customers about their products. How does that work? Can you show examples over the past 12 months? What are the root causes of those items (failures) and do you have a documented way to keep them from happening again?

According to third-party registrars, if you have an ISO/TS Quality system in place now that is compliant and you address the items I've outlined above, you should be able to pass a third-party audit and become fully certified.

About the author: Lewis Yasenchak works as a consultant with small-to-mid sized processors, moldmakers and other precision manufacturers to help them "implement quality at the source" rather than catch mistakes once made, and also to minimize waste by meeting and exceeding ISO Quality Management Systems. He invites you to contact him to help demonstrate the impact quality can have on your operations. Contact him at T: 706-694-2977 or [email protected].

TAGS: Business
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