Staub’s Quest for ISO 9001:2008
Back in April we decided that after 39 years, it was time to institute a formal quality system. We’ve always strived to make perfect parts all the time, and our quality record is fantastic. All that we needed to do was formalize our system and put it in writing. This was a daunting task, so we hired Insyte Consulting to lead the way. Insyte provided us with Tom Quinn and Phil Celotto, who know the ISO standard inside and out, for support in this process. We’ve come a very long way since April, and even since my last ISO Certification blog post so much progress has been made.
We’ve instituted a quality program that exceeds the minimum requirements of the ISO 9001:2008 standard. Why? Because we see opportunities to improve our company. We made these changes with both prospective customers and current customers in mind. We’ve instituted a material traceability system, part routers, and part quality checklists for every part in production. We’re collecting more data, and have systems in place to keep and use that data.
Perhaps the biggest benefit that we’ve seen is employee involvement. Since our Quality Management System is being built from the ground up, each employee is contributing to it. We’ve had 100% employee involvement to create, implement, and refine the procedures that we are putting in place. Our Quality Team brings together key people from every functional area of the company. We’ve got internal auditors who are making sure that we are doing what we say we do. Some employees have written procedures, many have created routers and part quality checklists, and all have given feedback in one way or another about our QMS. This ISO Certification effort has been a real team effort, and it’s been gratifying to see such buy-in.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Our certification audit has been scheduled, and we are excited to host our auditor. What is most exciting, is seeing the Quality Management System function. After walking around our production floor, it is easy to see the QMS at work. Part quality checklists, routers, work orders, and current blueprints are clearly identifiable at every workbench. Gages have calibration stickers, raw materials and parts are labeled, and we have a quality board that is tracking our Quality Objectives.
While we cannot wait to be able to claim that Staub is an ISO 9001:2008 Certified company, we’re already seeing many benefits. Recording, using, and keeping data is allowing us to make more informed decisions. There are written procedures and training programs in place for complicated tasks that were once passed along as tribal knowledge. The most important benefit so far is having employee involvement. Employees are driving change and improvement, and in the process we’re all learning more about the inner workings of our company.