Posted by & filed under THE ISO9001 CHALLENGE.

Senior Executives need to be very sure of the commitment, responsibility, authority and extra work loads before they begin developing a formal quality system.

Many hours of patient explanation may have to go into preparing senior executives for the application of ISO9001, for example.  My first meeting with senior executives can be very revealing.

I ask: “Have you chosen the standard?”

The answer is usually yes, even if they’ve chosen the wrong one for their business.

Next question: “Have you read the standard, and do you have a good idea of what it means in commitment?” (Some­times they haven’t read it at all).

Answer: “Well, we’ve just looked through it briefly. We were hoping to get some guidance from you”

Me: “Well, that’s what I’m here for. Can you tell me why you have decided to initiate an ISO9001 quality system’?”

Answer: “Our customers are pressing for it” (or we are los­ing a share of the market, or we want a share of the market where ISO9001 is mandatory).

Me: Have you appointed anyone to be the management rep­resentative for the quality system?”

Answer: “Yes, we thought that John Bright, who is Manager of Purchasing. Shipping, Marketing, Packaging, and fills in for Operations could fit this in with his other duties”. (You think I am making this up?)

I reply something along the lines of: “I’m afraid that it would not be wise to have the quality manager do anything else but concentrate on the quality system, at least until registration. He/she will be working full time on learning the responsibili­ties and the processes. I shall be training him/her to come up to speed with writing and verifying procedures, (although I prepare the first drafts) straightening out the current docu­mentation, conducting internal audits, and training employ­ees in the company quality policy and the meaning of ISO.” At this point I can see my prospective client (with eyeballs glazing over) having second thoughts, or is still convinced that developing the quality system is only a part time job with a bit of word processing thrown in.


Careful consideration of available resources (time, skills) will save a lot of aggravation in the long run.


Posted by & filed under CERTIFICATION BODIES.

For some months a discussion has been raging on a LinkedIn group around the possibility of establishing an international data base to which organisations could refer if they wish to confirm the certification status of a company or agency re ISO standards.The data base would be set up using the International Aerospace Quality Group data base, OASIS, as a model.

While this might seem a very attractive proposition, purporting to save time now spent in checking accredited lists in many different countries, I believe there is one major hurdle which its more enthusiastic proponents don’t seem to have considered.

The OASIS database is a product of the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG). OASIS houses supplier and audit assessment data for all companies who hold an accredited certification in any of the AQMS series of Standards (i.e. – AS9100, AS9110 and AS9120). The International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) has set firm requirements regarding the inclusion of aerospace certified suppliers in the OASIS database. It is not optional – if you hold an accredited certificate to AS9100, AS9110 or AS9120 – you must be entered into the OASIS database. SAE International document AS9104 details the Certification Bodies’ requirements for Aerospace Certification Programs.

If any aerospace certified supplier refuses to be a part of OASIS, or refuses to set up an OASIS administrator, Certification Bodies are required by the IAQG to revoke the certificate of registration.

It is one thing to register all certified organisations on an international database; it is quite another to impose the above restriction.




Posted by & filed under ISO9001:2008.

How do we manage quality system training for employees who are on site for short periods, perhaps only two or three hours or days? For example, many temporary employees are hired by the day from union halls. They will work in many different companies and environments.

I helped to prepare a Pulp Handling Handbook for a marine freight forwarding company, for use in the warehouse by temporary employees. It was very simple with pictures of damaged (nonconforming, unaccept­able) and non-damaged (acceptable) pulp and the applicable forms. Employees who had been on site for only a few hours could recognise a nonconforming situation in a contained environment and inform their immediate supervisors.

These employees often suggested improvements to the quality system based on their experience of conditions and processes along the waterfront. “Best practices” became obvious as more and more employees recognised what was working for them and making the job easier.

No need to discount temporary employees’ contribution to continuous improvement. Best practices discovered during such employees’ brief tenure can translate into improved customer relations and economies of time and labour.

Posted by & filed under AS9100.

The following certification issues are being considered for clarification by AS Senior Document Representatives, following recent discussions by SDRs, CBs and representatives from industry:


  • What is considered a single site? (e.g.; a company with three buildings located on three different streets). What is the definition of location?
  • What is considered a ‘lost’ certification? Is it when suspended and/or withdrawn?
  • What kind of an audit is needed for a transfer?
  • Are all sites required to be listed in OASIS and have an administrator for a campus?
  • What is required to be verified in this requirement:
  • “No certificates to AQMS standards or any combination of AQMS standards requiring a certification decision shall be issued, unless all major and minor nonconformities have been contained; satisfactorily corrected with root cause analysis; and the corrective action has been implemented, reviewed, accepted, and verified by the CB.”

Further notes:

“At this time, 80% {of representatives) do not want to separate AS9100 from the base of ISO9001 as has been rumored. There will also be more of a focus on servicing and not just production. They are planning for a 2016 release of AS9100.”

I will update as new information comes in.

Posted by & filed under ISO9001:2008.

One part of quality system costs can be monitored by introducing a tick box on the Purchase Order to track all items and services purchased for the quality system. Quality system purchases can be separated from stationery. toilet paper and pencils.

This information will be useful for the Man­agement Review of the quality system, which has to take place at least once a year. ‘Cost of the quality system’ is always on the agenda. It will also be useful for Measurement and Analysis.

Posted by & filed under ISO9001:2008.

User publications are sometimes given short shrift in design development plans and processes.

Consider the following carefully:

  • how well does the author need to know the product?
  • at which stage should the author(s) be brought into the design process?
  • what does the reader (user) really need to know, as opposed to what the author thinks is a good idea?

Bring the author in at the earliest possible stage –  the earlier the better: in fact, as soon as the design process is under way, at preliminary design stage.







RECENT DISCUSSION: You are a Q.M taking on a new position. What are the first things that you would do in your new position?


Jean’s comment

“If you start with an internal audit you should discover how the quality system has been managed, and from that an idea of the attitudes, experience, knowledge of the processes and commitment of signing authorities and responsibilities. After this you will have a better chance of conducting useful conversations with senior management and other interested parties and see if your KPIs are worthwhile and if others are needed “


Comment in response


“ Unfortunately, anecdotal information is not respected by Management, generally; it would be a personal risk acting on only this {introductory discussions with management} information.

For this reason, Jean White’s recommendation is spot on. Once a report is compiled from the formal internal audit and published to Management, and a level of professional trust is established, one can then make plans for drilling down to the causes of problems existing in the system. Ultimately, root cause analysis (done right!) will unearth the systemic causes of problems. Another important reason for using the internal audit approach is that we have to use verifiable evidence/data in our profession.”







Employee name:


Stage 1: observation of technique  Stage 2: carry out procedure under supervision
Stage 3: carry out procedure unsupervised  Stage 4: qualified to train others



Training unit & stage

Date completed


Trainer (supervisor)



























































Posted by & filed under ISO9001:2008.

Before the task of maintaining document security becomes too

overwhelming or shamefully neglected, it is prudent

— and will save time and later frustration — to look

at the number and nature of records involved. For

ISO9001:2008 AND AS9100 quality system development,

all documents included in the processes listed below are
“quality records”.


Contract, statutory, regulatory, jurisdictional,

Purchasing (approved supplier records),

Receiving and shipping,

Inspection and testing (on and off site)

Design and development (including design reviews),

Production and

Administration (where applicable, e.g., marine freight forwarding)


The documents affecting the needs of other interested parties

(particularly customers) should also be considered.


Any document that affects the outcome to the customer, or is included in any process affecting certification must be considered a quality record.




If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me. If you think a semicolon is a regular colon with an identity crisis, I will not hire you.” Kyle Wiens, in Harvard Business Review. 

Are you:

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