Accept Cookies?
Provided by OpenGlobal E-commerce

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Too often employees believe that the quality system is ‘man­agement business’ and it is a shock when they discover that everyone is involved. I have found also that academic training centres (universities, training colleges) do not give sufficient credibility to quality management, particularly in their engineering and business development studies.


We do not want to wait to put this right until the auditor arrives from the Certification Body for the all-important certificate assessment.  I encourage my clients to include training so that staff are aware of the impact of the quality system, as follows:

  •  know where to find the Quality Policy Manual
  • know where to find the Quality Policy statement by the CEO
  • can describe, in brief terms, what the Quality Policy means to them
  • know where to find their copy of the Quality Assurance Procedures
  • if asked “how do you know how to do your job?” will have an appropriate response in their own words, such as “I have xxx number of years as … I have xxx certificates and I have working instructions on the intranet.”
  • can find their working instructions on the Master Document List (read only)
  • can realise and explain the impact of their work on the service or product on which they are working, or for which they are responsible. This is critical, as it depends on staff understanding the nature of ISO9001 and its effect on their work.  (A requirement of the standard and the assessor could ask this question).


I use my ISO Cheat Sheet to make this training less of an ordeal, and to prepare everyone for questions which are outside their normal range of activity.

Employees become accustomed to these questions.


How do we trace a part?


  • Work Order
  •  Inspection and Test Records
  • Purchasing
  • Tags




Who is the Quality Assurance Manager?


What are the QAM’s responsibilities?

To monitor and implement the ISO Quality System.

To report to management on the status of the quality system

To convene and chair the QUALITY ASSURANCE TEAM


What do you know about ISO?

Note: More than 132 countries have an agreement with ISO to register companies to ISO9000 standards.




How do you recognise a non-conforming part or condition?

A part or condition which does not meet CUSTOMER or IMH specifications (receiving, in-process
and final inspection).

What is the IMH Company Quality Policy and where is it kept?

I can refer to the Quality Policy Manual and the Quality Assurance Procedures Manual in….(specify location).

What does the Quality Policy mean to you and your job?

It means complete customer satisfaction, and continuous improvement in my skills.


Where in the Quality Assurance Procedures Manual will you find a reference to your job?

Answer: (for example)
WORKS: Process Control, Stores, Inspection and Testing
RECEIVING: Handling, Storage, Packaging
Preservation and Delivery, Inspection and Testing

Where is the Master Document List?


Why do you need the Master Document List?

To check forms, policies and procedures and make sure I have the latest revision.

Who is responsible for keeping the Master Document List up to date?

The Quality Assurance Manager.

Who is allowed to make changes to the documents we use?

ONLY the Quality Assurance Manager with the Quality Assurance Team and (where applicable) engineering, design et al.




If I want to suggest a change to a form or procedure, What do I do?

GIVE suggested amendment, or draft of new form, to a member of the QUALITY ASSURANCE TEAM, who will pass it to the QAM.


How do you recognise a Non-conforming Part?

It is tagged with a ‘Non-conforming Item’ tag (INSERT EXAMPLE)




Do you have an assigned responsibility and authority for training new staff in company processes?

Posted by & filed under AS9100, ISO9001:2015.

AS9116 can be a standalone requirement or an additional requirement to AS9100D, AS9110 (Aviation Maintenance Organizations) or AS9120 (Aviation, Space and Defense Distributors). It does not apply to ‘build to print’ contracts.

Source Control Drawings, Bills of Material, Manufacturing methods and Key components must be considered for their NOC status, i.e., design characteristics and performance requirements to the lowest levels in the supply chain.

The prequalification contract stage and all other contract review stages (which should be frequent) will need careful monitoring, with sufficient root cause analysis of nonconformances.

Thorough verification will be required at each design phase, such as Preliminary Design Reviews and Design Review Dispositions, before deciding whether or not an NOC is necessary and who needs to approve, for example:

  • Changes that the customer must accept before implementation,
  • Changes that may require customer acceptance before implementation
  • Changes implemented concurrently with notifying the customer that acceptance is required.

So where should design approval representatives concentrate verification resources? I suggest start with the RFQ and its relation to the design history of current and previous contracts.

If a new contract emerges:

  • identify at which level in the design NOCs are (or might be) required;
  • by whose authority and responsibility they will be issued;
  • resources involved (including supply chain);
  • check current status of Master Document List (revision status of design documents);
  • identify, establish and verify baseline configurations with the customer, with design change authorisation levels.

Bear in mind that Standards Boards are rejecting recommendations for certification where they consider that Nonconformance Reports with insufficient root cause analysis.have been signed off by Certification Boards.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

During one of my contracts in marine freight forwarding I worked with a Maintenance Foreman who was responsible for isolating and identifying nonoperational forklifts used to move cargo. His habit was to remove the forklifts to a corner and attach a small (grubby) tag marked ‘DO NOT USE’ to each one.

Unfortunately, the night shift operators would decide that they needed an extra forklift, or another forklift would go out of action, and they would take one of the deficient forklifts back into operation. Much cursing, wasted time and frustration occurred the next day in tracking the whereabouts of the OOO forklifts. Clearly, the identification was inadequate for the job it was supposed to do.

With the QAM’s involvement, we set up a segregation (quarantine) area marked “NONCONFORMING ITEM: DO NOT REMOVE”. We devised a big tag with a skull and cross bones and the words ‘OUT OF ORDER! DO NOT MOVE!’ As identity for a nonconforming item (a controlled document) the tag carried a serial number, an NCR number from the NCR Log and a brief account of why the machine was out of action (leaking oil, gears seized).

This example shows that often people do not follow procedures and other instructions if they are not expressed in sufficiently dramatic, simple or sizeable terms, especially when they are in a hurry, or working under extremely difficult or hazardous conditions.

The document’s revision status should be current, at point of use and legible to the reader. The reader must always be considered when preparing any document. Quality records should be reviewed periodically with these considerations in mind. Any document on the Master Document List needs this kind of review.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.


The zeal for “measurement” and “continuous improvement” expressed through numbers has been gaining strength for some years. I have even seen one comment that “nothing in process development was any use unless it was, or could be, measured”.

I maintain that measurements can’t be made, or make any sense at all, unless they derive first from categories which are specific and concise: in other words, vocabulary (categories). For example, in managing risk we have to decide where there is potential for risk: what I call the “point of failure”, essential for relentless root cause analysis.

In identifying potential points of failure we are obliged to look at design, product development, process, documentation, employee calibre, environment, to name a few. The correspondence between description (category) and reality (condition) must be leak-proof, free from ambiguity and cause no delays in judgement.

I can hear the statisticians protesting about the rejection of numbers analysis, but a number does not say what is, except for counting heads and items; it simply indicates a condition which has had to be defined and clarified elsewhere by vocabulary.

The work in defining categories is well worth while if numbers are to provide true value as measurements for quality system assessments and other critical conditions

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.



Apprentices are not confined to the “shop floor”. In my recent workshop on quality management for apprentices I had eight PhD university student/apprentices. They are working and studying. This is why we should get rid of the belief that students go to university or college and get a degree (with enhanced career potential) and apprentices’ career route is solely via training in a chosen industrial environment,with restrained potential for career growth.

Apprentices should be aware of the management structure; its responsibility and authority levels throughout the entire quality system from customer requirement (contract review) to delivery, where contract responsibility ceases for all interested parties.
Do you have an apprenticeship or other industrial training programme?

Does this include an introduction to quality management systems (QMS), including processes, authority and responsibility, documentation?

Are apprentices instructed in the role of quality management in engineering (e.g., aerospace, construction)?

Are they aware that the authority and responsibility of Quality Engineers can include the requirements of ISO9001:2008 (2015); e.g., formal design reviews, and participation in QMS internal audits?
Who is responsible for training new staff in company processes?

Do induction and other training plans include quality assurance at all stages of employment? For example, QMS involvement in new contracts, revised contracts, revised processes, revised industrial and quality management standards?

Are authorised and responsible personnel in the company (e.g., engineers, drawing office, purchasing) prepared for the sudden advent of formal QMS requirements arising from new contracts and amendments to contracts?Despite

Is the organisation up-to-date with verification of the QMS including
• allowing for ISO9001:2015 and AS9100D
• sufficient root cause analysis for nonconformances
• supply chain verification especially for counterfeit and otherwise suspect parts?

Posted by & filed under AS9100, ISO9001:2015.

Early identification of customer- implied special requirements or potentially critical items:

provides design engineering with valuable information which they can use for design implementation and design history.

provides management with acceptance rationale for those requirements or items,

identifies the means by which emerging risks can be controlled and mitigated,

enables critical design features, tests, inspection points to be identified,

flags the need for procedures to be implemented to minimize the probability of product escape where requirements have been met but the product fails at First Article Inspection, so preventing failure of a product, mission or loss of life.

A vigilant review of design history with each new contract can help to avoid or eliminate design and production errors. A scheduled review of current contracts will eliminate the need to recover lost resources where changes have occurred in customer requirements.

Posted by & filed under CERTIFICATION BODIES.

Certification Bodies (CBs) are currently the focus of dissatisfaction in some LinkedIn groups.Many of the comments express disappointment (to put it mildly) at what they consider is the lack of thorough audits by some assessors.

It’s worth noting that there is a rigorous review of reports submitted by assessors to their CBs and onward to the relevant Standards Board. It is also worth noting that some Standards Boards  are returning reports to CBs as unacceptable where the Boards consider that nonconformances are closed out with insufficient root cause analysis.

I suggest that this threat alone would compel any assessor to govern himself or herself accordingly during assessment and when preparing the recommendation report. Consider the embarrassment of having to go back to the client with a rejected report on these grounds, not to mention the expense incurred from extra time on site and lost time to the client. Imagine the chagrin and disappointment where a client has to submit to more investigation when they have just finished popping the champagne corks.

As a quality management consultant of many years experience I have certainly had my share of what I considered to be unacceptably inattentive certification assessment. I recall one assessor from a well-known prestigious CB who sat in the MDs office for the entire assessment and even issued a favourable report. I complained to the CB through the formal process and was clear where I believed the assessor had failed my client.
I have CBs on file with which I have worked and know they will be rigorous and fair. From three of these, I discuss the terms with my client and we choose one which most closely meets our requirements:such as knowledge of the product or service, fees, preassessment visits, time needed on site.

We naturally expect that all the hard work we have done for months before the assessment will be assessed rigorously.   Beyond a careful choice of CB, however, we have to rely on the integrity of the CB, their certified assessors and the reporting process to the Standards Boards.


Posted by & filed under ISO9001: RISK ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT.



With all the emphasis on measurement in the ISO9001 standard it is sometimes easy to overlook the importance of some day-to-day processes that are just as important but not as glamorous.  For example, what does handling, packaging, shipping, delivery mean in your business? It could mean delivery to a specific site, or conclusion of system installation, or when the prod­uct leaves your warehouse or site, or when a ship arrives to discharge cargo at a port thousands of miles from your site.  It pays to consider carefully where the company’s responsibility ceases. It is too late when the signatures are dry on the contract.


Other questions come to mind: which carriers do you use? Are they available at all hours of the day and night, should you need that kind of service? Are they on the Approved Suppliers List? Are you responsible for delivery to a site other than that of your cus­tomer? Who has authority in your company for releasing the product or service to the customer? Which of your custom­ers’ representatives has the authority to accept delivery of a product or service from you?


What does “preservation” imply for your business? For international quality standards it means protect­ing items from deterioration; for example, by shrink wrapping, other special packaging, or surface treatments.


Is your storage adequate? It’s too late to assess space when new equipment arrives and won’t fit the space you have allocated. Extra storage could be needed such as racks, shelves, cupboards, along with packaging materials for production equipment and tooling. I always include this in contract review and RFQs as it might mean extra costs. Bear in mind standards such AS9116 (Notice of Change) issued last October which requires design changes to be reported to the customer unless otherwise specified in the contract. This might seem a far cry from what happens in the storage area but could affect storage if larger parts are introduced into the production process.


Extra storage space might be easy to estimate, but what about other conditions such as temperature and humidity for critical parts, including parts for which the customer might have set the storage and preservation criteria? You might need something as simple as a protective blind to protect items from excessive sun. This problem came up in one of my contracts where fabric was glued and the hot sun through a window altered the consistency of the glue as it was being used. The fabric was to be used as part of a life raft. (Consider the implications of that kind of failure).


As far as the quality system is concerned the knee bone is definitely connected to the thigh bone; all elements are connected. When considering risk assessment and management It pays to”lend the eye a terrible aspect” (as Skakespeare said). Be conscientious and give all elements the same level of respect.

Posted by & filed under ISO9001: RISK ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT.

The demand for risk assessment and risk management in the current quality management standards can immobilise the most dedicated executives, not to mention the quality management representatives. Out of pity for their dilemma and misery I offer the following questions, which are extracted from the Qualidoc Quality System Internal Audit Checklist at

Are the quality system, quality objectives and business objectives reviewed regularly FOR RISK against the following:

  • Development of innovative product or service, including software?
  • New or strategically important customer acquired?
  • Loss of strategically important customer?
  • New techniques developed, including software?
  • Significant changes (planned or not) in the business?
  • Process changes?
  • Transfer of work?
  • Change of supplier where parts become obsolete or otherwise unsatisfactory, especially where counterfeit parts might enter the supply chain?
  • Changes in regulatory, statutory or quality management standards?

These are all questions based on my experience on the shop floor and also verified information received from my valuable contacts in aerospace and other heavy industrial users having to meet stringent quality management requirements.

Posted by & filed under QUALITY SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT.

“I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”

Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince and Other Stories

I hope I never give that impression with my writing. I sometimes edit my writing to the extent that I come full circle, back to where I started (well, almost).

Unfortunately, in quality system development, Documentation Control still takes far too big a toll on certification assessments and can create chaos if not given sufficient attention. One of my first tasks in any contract is to review the documentation, get rid of anything that is redundant and make sure all the rest is fit for purpose.

It is one thing to identify which documents are needed (and well done if you have managed that) and another to make sure they contain the correct information in terms that are familiar to the reader, and clear if the reader is unfamiliar with the process.

Many years ago I was given a contract by a national railway company to work with retired engineers who were rewriting maintenance procedures for locomotives. Their idea of a pro­cedure was to extract lumps of information from General Motors and other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) hefty instruction manuals, and plonk them onto sheets of paper ad hoc.

Many painful months later I had managed to persuade them to set out a logical sequence of events with the readers’ needs in mind; e.g., if oil on a hot engine was a safety hazard, then Page 8 was not the place to state it. Warnings, (especially safety) had to be on Page 1, Para 1.

The reader’s needs are paramount. If the reader loses interest or focus you have wasted your time, par­ticularly when you are trying to persuade employees of long experience and standing in the company that changes are needed. You can’t make a big splash when the tide is out. Before distributing the documentation even in the first draft. ask yourself:

  • Is the information in the logical sequence which is most beneficial to the reader who is following the instruction?
  • What is the preceding connection which the reader may need to know so that he or she can pick up the threads?
  • Can the reader discover quickly where he/she is, by page and part?
  • Is high order language used to ensure the appropriate level of formality without slipping into obscurity?

Many people are mad about flow charts and are convinced that they are the answer to all information processing needs. Flow charts are excellent when they portray step by step proc­esses which require no assumptions to be made on the part of the reader. Too often I have found the categories have been named without sufficient accuracy, and so the reader is left floundering and making assumptions, which can be awkward, if not disastrous. Flow chart categories must be specific and connections  must be watertight. They should also show responsible authorities within each step; that is, Operating Superintendent, not John Brown. John Brown’s name will show on the Signatories List which is part of the Master Document List.

More critical questions to be asked before developing documentation are:

Who is the reader?

What does he or she need to know?

When do they need to know?

Who approves the first and subsequent drafts and authorises publication?

Who is in charge of the Master Document List? (Usually the Quality Management Representative or delegated authority, shown on the Corporate Organisation Chart)

Who needs access on a Read Only basis?

Are all interested parties identified who might need copies and are the copies controlled or uncontrolled?

It pays to submerge our egos when undertaking this very important task. We can’t afford to imitate Oscar Wilde; too much is at stake.