Tag: standards

ISO 9001:2015 – What You Should Know

A myriad of industries are buzzing about the newly released ISO 9001 revision. With a greater focus on stakeholders and a risk-based thinking approach, the anticipated revision is said to have greatly improved the scope and ultimately the benefits associated. A more detailed comparison and additional useful resources are found here.

With the revision so widely discussed, we have received several inquiries from organizations wanting to know about the standard and asking for advice regarding the benefits of certification. While Pro QC is not a certifying body, we do work with organizations to prepare them for final audits.  We also work with many organizations that are not seeking certification, but rather are looking for a standard to apply in order to better manage their business.  The ISO 9000 family of standards provides “guidance and tools for companies and organizations who want to ensure that their products and services consistently meet customer’s requirements, and that quality is consistently improved.”

Standards in the ISO 9000 family include:

  • ISO 9001:2015 – sets out the requirements of a quality management system
  • ISO 9000:2005 – covers the basic concepts and language
  • ISO 9004:2009 – focuses on how to make a quality management system more efficient and effective
  • ISO 19011:2011 – sets out guidance on internal and external audits of quality management systems

There’s a great ISO Made Easy article here via Quality Progress. Also, discover the new ISO 9001:2015 standard here:


Why does standardization even matter?

  • Ensures positive change.
  • Harmonizes global best practices.
  • Companies have increased confidence in the quality and reliability of suppliers who use standards.
  • Eliminates technical barriers to trade.
  • Companies actively involved in standards more frequently reap short- and long-term cost-savings than those that do not participate.
  • Having influence in the content of a standard is an important factor in gaining competitive advantage.
  • Standardization can lead to lower transaction costs in the economy as a whole, as well as to savings for individual businesses.
  • Standards can help businesses avoid dependence on a single supplier because the availability of standards opens up the market. The result is a broader choice for businesses and increased competition among suppliers.
  • More choices for the consumer.
  • Standardization encourages cooperation between businesses atthe same stage in the value chain.
  • Businesses not only reduce the economic risk of their R&D activities by participating in standardization, but can also lower their R&D costs.

Organizations certified to the previous ISO 9001 revision will be provided a three year transition period. Contact us for assistance with this process!

Did you know? October 14th is World Standards Day. The theme this year is “Standards – The World’s Common Language.”

Textile & Garment Quality: Inspecting a T-Shirt

We are preparing for TexWorld next week in NYC and thought it appropriate to revisit quality within the textile and garment industry.  A recent question we received related to what we would evaluate during a t-shirt inspection.  That’s a good question…

With order details and product specifications in hand, our experienced textile/garment quality engineers go on-site and first verify the order quantity available. We confirm the quantity packaged (and labeled) vs. not packaged. That matters because a pre-shipment inspection generally requires 80% of the order be packaged at the time of inspection.  An in-process inspection is scheduled around 30-50% complete.

If the verified quantity meets the client’s expectations, the inspector will select a random sample of items using ANSI Z1.4 as a standard.  With something like t-shirts, we determine how the client would like sampling in advance. Considerations include various sizes, colors and/or styles.  Many times, clients will combine theses variables and divide out the sample size proportionately. Sampling individually results in additional time on-site and for reporting, so supplier performance/history and cost are considerations when determining what the sample sizes should be.

With samples in hand, the inspector will spend some time verifying the packaging and labeling. This includes checking any barcodes, measuring and weighing the boxes and drop-testing for packaging integrity. 

The visual component of the inspection uses the product specifications or other details to compare the samples and generally confirm workmanship and/or other cosmetic defects. Defects are classified as major, minor or critical.

Common defects noted during textile and/or garment inspections include:

  • Defects in appearance, such as marks, fraying fabric or unfinished edges, etc.
  • Defects with seams and stitching, including open seams, incorrect thread selection, skipped stitches, etc.
  • Defects concerning color, such as dye spots and color fastness
  • Defects concerning fabric, such as its material, fabric weight, cuts or tears, slubs or misweaves, etc.
  • Defects concerning sizing, labeling and packaging, such as labels missing or top/bottom sizes are mismatched
  • Defects with polybags over 5″x7″ used that are not marked with applicable child suffocation warnings
  • Defects concerning care label information, content label information, hang tag descriptions, correctness of components or trims, zip teeth smoothness, etc.
  • Defects concerning measurement and fit
  • Defects concerning loose snaps
  • Defects concerning foul odors from dyes or other chemicals used in the process
  • Defects concerning safety, such as pins, needles and staples not being removed

The functional evaluation of textiles and garments usually includes measurements.  A reduced sample is often pulled for functional evaluation.  Measurements are confirmed and compared against the specifications. The tolerances are determined by the client and provided in advance.  Another component of the functional evaluation is often verification of the SPI, or stitches per inch.


Pro QC’s textile and garment inspectors regularly perform the following evaluations on-site:

-Wash test in the factory to make sure the color fastness and shrinkage is acceptable

-Needle detector checking to make sure no metal is within the garment. Note that the factory must have a detector machine for this evaluation on-site.

-Broken stitch record to make sure the broken stitches are under control.

-Child safety using the button fastness test. The factory must have the equipment for this evaluation on-site.

-Nickel free and pH test if the chemical reagent is available .

In-house laboratory testing of textiles and garments includes lead and phthalates content evaluation and color fastness.

Applicable standards are used, such as those listed below:

  • ASTM 5430-07 (Standard Test Methods for
Visually Inspecting and Grading Fabrics)
  • These test methods describe a procedure to establish a numerical designation for grading of fabrics from a visual inspection.
  • ASTM D3990-2012 (Standard Terminology Relating to Fabric Defects)
  • This terminology covers defects in both woven and knit fabrics.
  • ASTM D3775 (Standard Test Method for
Warp End Count and Filling Pick Count of Woven Fabric)
  • ASTM D3136 – 04(2008)e1: Standard Terminology Relating to Care Labeling for Apparel, Textile, Home Furnishing, and Leather Products 

Let us know if you have questions about ensuring quality of your textile and/or garment shipments! We have example reports for review and experienced professionals on our team that can provide timely feedback.

National Safety Month – Learn & Share

oc1313-world-safety-day-infographicv3Observed ​annually in June, National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities.

According to the International Labor Organization,

Every 15 seconds, a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease.

Every 15 seconds, 153 workers have a work-related accident.

An estimated 2.3 million people die every year from work-related accidents and diseases. More than 160 million people suffer from occupational and work-related diseases, and there are 313 million non-fatal accidents per year. The suffering caused by such accidents and illnesses to workers and their families is incalculable. In economic terms, the ILO has estimated that more than 4% of the world’s annual GDP is lost as a consequence of occupational accidents and diseases.

How safe would we be without standards?

A standard is a document, established by consensus and approved by a recognized body, that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.

The listing below includes examples of safety standards from the American Ladder Institute (ALI)American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE)International Organization of Standardization (ISO) and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA).

  • Ladder Safety
  • Fall Protection Safety
  • Construction Safety
  • Clothing & Equipment Safety
  • Workplace Surface Safety
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Consumer Product Safety

Search ANSI standards here.  Or, ASTM standards here, which are used and accepted worldwide and cover areas such as metals, paints, plastics, textiles, petroleum, construction, energy, the environment, consumer products, medical services, devices and electronics, etc.

Find an OSHA standard here.  OSHA provides information on the rulemaking process used to develop workplace health and safety standards,

The IEC develops International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies.  Search the IEC standards here.

What can you do to support National Safety Month and raise awareness:

  • Host a meeting to review the “State of Safety” in your organization.
  • Promote support and awareness on your social media networks.
  • Learn more and share the information.  The National Safety Council offers guides that “help you explore safety and health topics at your own pace. Find training resources, webinars, best practices and more.”

Pro QC supports safety in the following ways:

1) When designing and manufacturing your product, we are able to confirm applicable safety standards and provide testing.  “For example, if you are designing a non-toy children’s product that contains a cord, there are a few different standards, including the toy safety standard, that exist and that may provide helpful guidance for you in determining the safe length of cord or string to be used. Although not a mandatory requirement, you would be well advised to consider the guidance in these other standards because it is based on the considered judgment of other manufacturers, designers, and safety experts.”

2) In addition to product safety, we perform various on-site audits that incorporate worker safety. 


Standards: Ensuring Quality, Safety & Spookiness on Halloween

Line-of-pumpkins-from-iStockPhotoHalloween is approaching and is celebrated by millions around the world each year on October 31st.

At Pro QC, our teams across the globe often observe Halloween with good food, friends and festive decorations.

The history of Halloween has evolved.

“Traditional activities on Halloween include trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting “haunted houses” and carving jack-o-lanterns. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century including Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom as well as of Australia and New Zealand.

The activity is popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and due to increased American cultural influence in recent years, trick-or-treating has started to occur among children in many parts of Europe, and in the Saudi Aramco camps of Dhahran, Akaria compounds and Ras Tanura in Saudi Arabia.” (Source)

Amid all of the spooky fun, we often forget to appreciate the standards, specifications and/or other quality efforts that make this holiday safe!  For example:

Batteries – Those little lights we carry around as we go door-to-door trick or treating or use to decorate our homes and offices often require batteries.

IEC 60086-1 Ed. 11.0 b:2011, Primary batteries – Part 1: General, provides nomenclature, test methods, information on typical performance and safety aspects of primary batteries. The standard – which is intended to assist consumers, designers, and manufacturers – was developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Reference: International battery standards

Costumes & Toys – Those cute and/or scary costumes we dress up in each year could be flammable.  But, due to standards in place, this isn’t an issue.

ISO provides important fire-related guidance in connection with wigs, fake beards, masks, and other popular elements of children’s Halloween costumes. ISO 8124-2:2007, Safety of toys – Part 2: Flammability, sets down which categories of flammable materials may not be included in any children’s toy, and provides requirements connected with the flammability of certain toys when exposed to minor amounts of flame. The International Standard was developed by ISO TC 181, Safety of Toys; ANSI member and accredited standards developer the Toy Industry Association (TIA) currently serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG Administrator to ISO TC 181. (Source)

Labels on Halloween costumes, such as the CE mark and the Flame Resistant label, show that the manufacturer has complied with national and international standards.  The label doesn’t mean that these items won’t catch fire, but it does indicate that they will resist burning and they should extinguish quickly once you get them away from the fire source,” says Maurice Buckley, CEO, NSAI.

If you’re carrying a plastic costume prop or toy such as a mask or a pitchfork, look for the CE Mark.  Under Irish and European law, toys placed on the European market must display the CE Mark. The CE Mark demonstrates that the manufacturer has complied with the Irish and European standard, I.S. EN 71 “Safety of Toys”, and the product has undergone safety testing in the design and manufacture process. (Source)

Reference: Toy Safety Standards Around the World

Of course, product quality inspections throughout the production process helps ensure product meets or exceeds expectations.

Treats – According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 41.1 million children went trick-or-treating in 2012. The National Retail Association estimates Americans alone are planning on spending $2.2 billion on candy this year. To satisfy this demand, the the U.S. has more than 1,500 manufacturing establishments producing candy, confectionary goods, and cocoa products as of 2011.

The ISO 22000 family of International Standards addresses food safety management.  The consequences of unsafe food can be serious and ISO’s food safety management standards help organizations identify and control food safety hazards. As many of today’s food products repeatedly cross national boundaries, International Standards are needed to ensure the safety of the global food supply chain.

Not to mention…

  • ANSI/UL 471-2006, Standard for Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers
  • ANSI/UL 197 – 2004. Standard for Commercial Electric Cooking Appliances
  • ASHRAE Refrigeration Handbook
  • NSF/ANSI 2-2005a. Food equipment
  • NSF/ANSI 51-2005. Food equipment materials
  • European Food Safety Authority – EUROPA Food Safety

Decorations – Many homes and offices are decorated with electronic lights and other festive details.

All electrical products sold in the EU must also comply with safety standards and must carry a CE mark.  The mark should be visible on the product itself or on its packaging.

In the United States, electronic items must carry the UL mark and be appropriately listed.

Please contact Pro QC for additional information regarding product safety and testing.  The references here are not all inclusive. Have a safe and fun holiday! 

What is an American National Standard anyway?

ansiWe recently tuned into a webinar offered by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) and thought they did a great job discussing standards and the relationship of ANSI to ANS and the international marketplace.

The follow-up resources they sent out should be shared: