ISO 9000 & AUDITS WORLD CONFERENCE
Making the ISO 9001-Based System Work for Your Company, Not Your Auditor
Presenter: Don McFarland, Technical Manger, Aerospace, NSF-ISR, LTD, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Keywords: ISO 9001, Auditor, Certification Body, QMS
The ISO 9001-based management system is merely a collection of the common attributes of a successful organization. If we look deeply into any company that has “survived the test of time”, we will find the standard’s basic practices alive and well…in one form or another.
Despite this, global organizations seem to resist the (effective) implementation of these basic requirements, presumably based on a lack of conceptual understanding or resistance met during deployment. As a certification body auditor, and veto authority, I can often tell an organization who “gets it”, and fairly quickly. On the flipside, I can often tell who an organization has purchased / shamelessly stolen their QMS (read: documents) from…and often know where the associated pitfalls will be, before the audit begins. What if I told you that a proper deployment of ISO 9001-based management systems will drive improved quality, reduced costs, improved satisfaction from your customers and employees? Stop rolling your eyes at me (I can see you) and listen when I say that I have seen it, along with the success it brings a company. In order to make this work, an organization must truly adopt, implement and utilize the system rather than trying to run their QMS in parallel to the management team’s initiatives. They have to be one in the same, but organizations struggle with decoding the “geekiness” of the standard and fail to understand how their practices fit within the standard’s requirements. In other words, they fail to make the standard work for their organization! As you probably know, this causes a deployment of a “canned” package that doesn’t fit the company and isn’t the way it operates. As an auditor, we can tell this pretty quickly.
Through this session, we will look at the standard’s components, demystify their meaning and show a few methods to demonstrate conformance. I’m known for using a sports-themed analogy to better understand the importance of effective management system deployment, to enhance understanding and buy-in. In addition, we will look at the “WIFM” (what’s in it for me?) aspects of deploying these requirements, along with how to “sell” this within your company so the management system isn’t just “something quality does”. I’m sure we’ve all heard the horror stories of things a certification body auditor has “forced” an organization to do, under the guise of “complying with the standard”. Although some elements of these are founded in truth, this a subject-matter that is greatly impacted by the proverbial rumor mill. I’ll be the first to admit that we, auditors, can be a quirky bunch and may ask some “strange” questions to get the answers we need. These can certainly be misinterpreted as new/changed requirements, but that is probably not the intent. Auditors are a source of knowledge, given the number of implementations they see through the year, but not all auditors are created equal. Regardless of what an auditor has (supposedly) asked or said, the primary objective is to review YOUR system, against the standard’s requirements, and collect / record the evidence of conformance. If a requirement doesn’t make sense for YOUR business, and doesn’t align with the standard’s requirements, challenge it. Every accredited CB has a process for this and exercises it more often than you think. With that said, keep an open mind when nonconformities are discussed, as they are purely meant to serve as a tool for driving continual improvement of your management system and nonconformities should always be welcomed.