May
24

World Trade Month Wrap-Up

World Trade Month is observed each year in May.  The objective of this recognition is to create awareness, identify trends and drive market opportunities.

World Integrated Trade Solutions offers extensive data related to world trade.  The same site offers interesting visualization options such as the word cloud referenced below.

Untitled

In a 2015 ranking of the top 20 export countries worldwide via Statista, China ranked first in exports with an export value of about 2.28 trillion US dollars.

That same report went on to indicate:

The value of goods exported from China grew immensely between 2002 and 2014. In 2002, China’s exports were valued at about 327 billion US dollars. China’s export value grew to 2 trillion US dollars in 2012, the first year in which China exported more than 2 trillion US dollars worth of goods. Year over year export growth remained above 17 percent between 2002 and 2012, except in 2009 and 2012. In 2004, export value grew by over 35 percent. In 2011, China accounted for about 10% of global merchandise exports and about 4% of global service exports.  China’s greatest export product categories in 2011 was machinery and transport equipment, of which they exported 902 billion US dollars worth. In 2012, China exported 159 billion US dollars worth of clothes and clothing accessories.

At the community level, Pro QC’s Tampa team attended the International Town Hall event hosted by the Tampa Bay Export Alliance.  We heard from local leadership supporting trade initiatives throughout the region. And, we saw local companies highlighted for their successful sourcing and supply chain initiatives.  Jabil Circuit had a particularly interesting keynote presentation related to their supply chain visualization and Intelligent Control Tower.

To learn more about world trade, we recommend these sites:

To learn more about reducing the quality risks and cost associated with global trade, contact us! 

Apr
29

Verifying Suppliers… What You Want To Know

Verify-SuppliersAs a follow-up to an an article we posted in March, we wanted to go into more specifics regarding on-site supplier verification.

As noted, it’s not always cost effective to do a comprehensive ISO based or general QMS audit for each supplier you’re considering working with. But, there are basic questions looming that you need to make the right decisions…

One option for supplier verification is a basic on-site check.

What you find out:

  • Factory information
    • Type of ownership, address & contact information
  • Production Capacity (Annual Basis)
    • Category, total capacity, units shipped & % capacity
  • Export Markets
    • U.S., EU, South America, etc. & % volume
  • Key Clients (Past Year)
    • Name, product description & % volumen
  • Key Personnel
    • Title, name, history & contact information
  • Number of Employees
    • Management, general office, production, quality, etc.
  • List of Major Equipment (Machines)
    • Description, model, quantity & condition
  • List of Major Gages (Equipment)
    • Description, accuracy, quantity & condition
  • List of Sub-Contractors
    • Name, process & location

Photos assist in the process of evaluation as well.

How do you evaluate you potential suppliers? One of our older blog posts that may be of interest is the use of a grid analysis for supplier selection. The categories listed above would help in deciding important variables and respective weights.

Contact us for more information, or to schedule an on-site supplier verification.  With local expertise and an unbiased assessment, supplier selection is less risky and cost-saving in the long-run!

Apr
12

Top 5 Best Practice Tips: Implementing or Transitioning to ISO 9001:2015

–Guest blog post by Robert Jasper–

The well known magazine manufacturingnews.com and the Dallas Business Journal indicate that 85% of ISO registered firms report external benefits like higher perceived quality, greater customer demand, better market differentiation, greater employee awareness, increased operational efficiency, and reduced scrap expense. Results like 30% reduction in customer claims, 95% improvement in delivery time, reduced defects from 3% to 0.5%, 40% reduction in product cycle time, 20% increase in on-time delivery are achievable after correct implementation of an ISO 9001 based quality management system.

For those considering implementing ISO 9001:2015, or for those in the 2008 transition process, here are five best practice tips:

Tip 1: Conduct a Gap Analysis Audit

It is important to consider everything can be implemented quickly, with not many resources involved and of course ending in an successful ISO 9001 certification within reasonable cost and time frames. The best tip is to plan out your implementation/transition project right from the start in effective and efficient ways by conducting a 100% compliance Internal Gap Analysis Baseline Audit against all the existing requirements of the international quality management standard in relation to your existing quality management system. And, it does not matter whether you are an ISO 9001:2008 certified company or organization, as this approach will always provide you with the exact planning requirements for your implementation or transition project. A clear implementation structure based on how to close gaps in your existing quality management system with clear responsibilities and due dates for gap closure and ISO certification readiness always helps to keep projects of this importance on track and on time.  These findings and “gaps” will also give you project opportunities to reduce costs and improve your bottom line profitability. This way, you start to make your QMS work for you right from the start!

Tip 2: Create Process Compliance

Documenting all of your core processes is a way of describing current state and anticipated ISO 9001:2015 compliant future state will create compliance to existing ISO 9001:2015 requirements for having implemented a sound process approach. It may also create the first “A Plus” in the eyes of your Third Party Registrar later on during your ISO Certification Audit, as Registrars are required to audit organizations on detailed documentation of how the organization has created process compliance to the new ISO 9001:2015 standard requirements. This is a direct requirement the Registrars have by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).

Tip 3: Document Development Data Mining and Definition of QMS Objectives

Also not directly required anymore by the new ISO 9001:2015, it makes sense to structure out a Quality Manual reflecting your Quality Policy, as well as listing all your Standard Operating Procedures to run your QMS. Well developed goals and objectives for your QMS are quantitative numbers that you set in order to measure your QMS performance along the way. Many firms collect data, but it’s what you do with it that gives you your best“Bang for the Buck” for your QMS! Don’t just collect data for the sake of collecting data….make it mean something to your firm!

During this stage of development, you should look thoroughly at the Risk Plans for your firm; in case of global supply chain a “holistic” global oriented Continuity Risk Plan but also think about a local Contingency Plan will cover the new “Risk Based Thinking” requirements of ISO 9001:2015 best. Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA) alone cannot cover all operational risks, therefore any kind of sufficient developed Risk Plan/Register which covers also operational and management risk, might do the job much better – to keep you safe during Third Party Audits.  Changing the mindset from product risk to overall risk management is required here, which may save you cost in the long run anyway – right?

Tip 3: Training and Implementation Roll-Out

The KEY mistake that most firms make is the training and reporting of the ISO process only to all employees. Only with buy-in from the TOP of the org-chart, all the way down to all part-time and contract employees, ensuring complete understanding and participation is needed to make your system work for your firm. During this phase, you want to educate your entire staff on the ISO program and how their job functions affect the QMS. Defining objectives and goals for departmental managers to implement projects and action taking for improvements and corrective actions is a good thing to have in place as well. This is where you see the payback!

Tip 4: Readiness “Mock Audit” and QMS Management Review

Okay, you’ve worked hard and come a long way towards getting obtaining your ISO certification. At this phase, you should complete a full round of internal audits on your QMS and assign documented corrective actions on any findings that may have been transparent in the earlier reviews. These are good because they act as a guide for your measurable metrics defined in your QMS. Anything you find internally is a bonus for your QMS continual improvement process! Once the cycle is complete, it’s time to conduct your QMS Management Review. This is where Top Management will review the progress, goals, objectives and inter-company metrics of your entire quality management. Total Management support of the QMS is vital for the success of making your QMS system work for your organization, and not YOU work for the quality system.

Tip 5: Final Preparations 

You’ve come a long way, and you worked hard. Now it’s time to show what you have done as a team and obtain that recommendation for ISO Certification given by the Third Party Certification Registrar! Wrap up any outstanding customer complaints, non-conformities or audit findings. Celebrate your business success. You’re on the path towards making your company a benchmark for other companies to set their standards higher… GOOD JOB!

Robert Jasper is the author of the upcoming book “HIGH PERFORMANCE QMS™”, which elaborates how organizations of all sizes can use the new ISO 9001:2015 standard principles and requirements to create organizational performance improvement (Release summer 2016). Robert is a certified International Auditor and ISO Consultant/Trainer for ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems. He is specialized in result-based Quality Management Consulting and holds regular seminars/workshops on ISO 9001 matters. Robert has trained and consulted organizations of all sizes and various industries to develop, implement, and certify their QMS systems successfully by Third Party registrars. His QMS training style is effective, collaborative and focused on simplification of all ISO matters. Robert is a certified ISO 9001:2015 transition trainer, based on training provided by EXEMPLAR GLOBAL (formerly known as RABQSA), an international recognized authority body in all ISO matters providing professional credentialing programs and training certification programs.

 

For more information regarding our ISO consulting and auditing, or to discuss your 2015 transition process, please contact us. 

Apr
05

Quality Humor

In observance of National Humor month, we wanted to share a few of our favorite quality-related cartoons…

6a00d8341cb66e53ef01311008c026970c

 

 

aban963l

2108.strip

 

5654.strip-quality-control

DilbertQA

 

7043.strip

 

'Our only option is to improve quality or hire more lawyers.'

‘Our only option is to improve quality or hire more lawyers.’

Party ville Trick Birthday Candles: Quality Control Department.,

Party ville Trick Birthday Candles: Quality Control Department.,

 

“April Fools’ Day is observed throughout the Western world. Practices include sending someone on a “fool’s errand,” looking for things that don’t exist; playing pranks; and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things. The French call April 1 Poisson d’Avril, or “April Fish.” French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying “Poisson d’Avril” when the prank is discovered.”

Help us build our collection… What are your favorite quality-related jokes and cartoons?

Mar
18

Supplier Selection & Management: What You Need To Know

Our latest quarterly newsletter Feature Article discussed strategic supplier selection. Due to the response we’ve had, we wanted to follow-up on our blog.

We were surprised to discover many of our newsletter subscribers didn’t know a variety of options existed for gaining additional assurances when going through the supplier selection process.

Determining which option you leverage involves the level of risk you’re willing to take in the process.

What are the options?

Legal Verification

The most basic information that you will want to have verified by an external source includes legal verification. Is the supplier legally able to partner and produce products for you? It becomes less clear how to do that when you’re looking at potential suppliers abroad. Using a 3rd party with local access is often preferred due to the cost and time required to execute internally.

Credit Standing

Another indicator of performance is generally an organization’s credit rating.

Supplier Verification

Does the supplier exist, and are they observably consistent with the information they provided. For example:

  • How many employees work there?
  • How many years have they been in business?
  • Who are their top three customers and what percent of sales do they make up?
  • Do they have any certifications?
  • What does the factory look like?
  • What equipment is available on-site?
  • How many production lines are there?
  • Do they subcontract anything to other suppliers?
  • What is their product capacity?

Supplier Audit 

This on-site evaluation is performed by a quality professional that specializes in evaluating quality management systems.  The idea is to gain assurances on a number of applicable topics through objective evidence.  In general, the auditor looks at the following and provides a comparative analysis of conformances and non-conformances:

  • Management
  • Engineering
  • QC & Assurance
  • Incoming Receiving Inspection
  • Manufacturing
  • Packaging
  • Non-Conforming Materials
  • Corrective Action
  • Inspection & Test Equipment

Specialized Audits

Depending on your industry or other factors, specialized audits may be required. For example, many stakeholders now demand organizations support their social responsibility claims with on-site audits. SA8000 or social-based audits specialize in topics related specifically to the workforce and human rights issues.  Other examples include:

  • Automotive ISO/TS 16949
  • Medical Devices ISO 13485
  • Environmental ISO 14001
  • GMP

Combination Audits

It’s often possible to create a combination audit to address certain components of multiple areas. For example, due to cost considerations, a company may prefer to combine the social accountability components with a more general QMS review.

Contact us for more information! Share with us how you select suppliers…

Older posts «