Archive for September, 2006

Adding Value & How’s Your Customer Support System?

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

What do we mean by “Adding Value?”

We hear so much about the importance of “adding value” to our processes and during quality management system audits. In principle, each of us contributes in some manner or form adding value, but this is not always the case. Occasionally, it is unclear whether an event adds value. Here are three useful tests:
• Does the event physically transform the product in some way? If so, it probably adds value.
• If the customer observed the event, would he balk at paying its cost? If so, the event probably does not add value.
• If the event were eliminated, would the customer know the difference? If not, the event is probably non value added.

There are several dictionary definitions of “value” but all focus on the concept of something being useful. “Adding Value” therefore means to make something more useful. Some organizations have used ISO 9001:2000 to develop a quality and operational system that is integrated into the way they do business, and is useful in helping them achieve the strategic objectives of the business. Conversely, other organizations have created a bureaucratic set of procedures and records that do not reflect the way the organization actually functions and simply adds costs, without being useful. This does not add value. Let’s look at two different approaches:
• A non-value added approach asks, “What procedures do we have to write to get the ISO9001:2000 certification?”
• A value added approach asks, “How can we use our ISO 9001:2000 based quality management system to help us to improve our business and enhance customer satisfaction?”

Our experience has shown that the approach an organization takes to “adding value” is likely a function of the level of maturity of the organization’s quality culture and the maturity of its quality management system in respect to the requirements of the ISO 9001:2000 Standard. It is important to define that in this context:

The Quality Guru refers to “Quality culture” as to the degree of awareness, management commitment, and overall collective behavior of the organization with regard to its quality and operational performance success.

What do you and/or your organization use to identify a “Quality Culture” Let me know and I will post your comments in our October Newsletter.

How’s Your Customer Support System?

In a recent issue of “Quality Insider” readers were asked: “Most of us have to call a customer support number at some time. Usually, that number connects to an automated attendant that steps you through a phone tree before connecting you to an actual humanoid. How often do you find yourself either lost in the phone tree or connected to the wrong customer support department?” Here are the results:

•0 percent of the time (I never have problems with automated attendants.)4.4%
•25 percent of the time 35.6%
•50 percent of the time 33.7%
•75 percent of the time 21.6%
•100 percent of the time (I always have problems with automated attendants.)4.7%

Are you losing customers based upon your customer support system? Let us know what your customers would say!

Next ISO 9001 Edition Delayed to 2009

Friday, September 1st, 2006
Performance Improvement Solutions for Your Business Needs September 2006
In this issue

  • Next ISO 9001 Edition Delayed to 2009
  • Auditing Organizational Legal Requirements
  • Linkage of Business and Quality Objectives
  • The Academy of Quality Awards
  • News and Events
  • Greetings!

    Industry Magazine Feature Article
    Read how the management team of Ascentec and Sustaining Edge Solutions improved operational and quality performance. “If you pick a good ISO consultant, he or she will pay for themselves ten-fold.” Read on…

    Partners in Performance Improvements

    Next ISO 9001 Edition Delayed to 2009

    The planned publication date for the next revision of ISO 9001 and ISO 9004 was to be third quarter of 2008. Since the working drafts for these standards were not approved for elevation to committee drafts at the recent ISO/TC 176/SC2 meeting, the new projected date for their publication is mid 2009. The next ISO 9001 is being referred to as an Amendment and the next ISO 9004 as a Revision. Although not formal ISO terms, they are being used to convey the level of expected changes to the standards. The ISO 9001 amendment will be limited to clarifications. The document is expected to retain all the clause numbers and titles from the 2000 edition. The ISO 9004 revision is expected to include more substantive changes to encourage more usage.

    Auditing Organizational Legal Requirements

    Part of audit planning is determining the audit criteria, in other words, the policies, procedures, and requirements used as the reference for comparing audit evidence. The primary types of requirements are:

    • Customer, as expressed in orders and contracts;
    • Company, as found in policies and procedures;
    • Standard, such as ISO 9001:2000;
    • Legal, as defined in statutes and regulations.

    Unfortunately, legal requirements are often ignored during internal audits. And that omission would be a nonconformity. ISO 9001:2000, clause 7.2.1.c states that organizations must determine statutory and regulatory requirements for their products. In addition, clause 7.3.2.b requires design inputs to include applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

    According to clause 5.1.a, top management must communicate the importance of meeting customer, as well as, statutory and regulatory requirements. The legal requirements in this context are quality and product-related, not health, safety, or environment- related. Auditors must first identify the applicable legal requirements for the area to be audited. Ask the legal staff, contract group, and audited area itself about any process or product legal requirements. According to ISO 9001:2000, the requirements should have been identified.

    For the organization to meet the legal requirements, they must have access to the statutes and regulations. Ensure they are available for reference. If the applicable legal requirements have been determined by the organization, see how they monitor for any new or changed legal requirements. Then ask for evidence that the organization is conforming to the requirements. If there is proof legal requirements are not being considered, then issue a nonconformity report. Or, if there is evidence that the organization is in violation of a legal requirement, then issue a nonconformity report.

    Linkage of Business and Quality Objectives

    QualityInsider surveyed readers on how their company communicates quality objectives. Here are the results:

    • Bulletin boards 39.2%
    • Company meetings 29.7%
    • My company doesn’t publish quality objectives. 15%
    • Web site 7.2%
    • E-mail or intranet broadcasts 5.1%
    • Company newsletter 3.8%

    Our clients ask “Is their a difference between quality objectives and business objectives”? How does a company ensure that objectives are relevant, measurable, communicated, and understood by employees? The best organizations understand that the two are fully integrated.

    The Academy of Quality Awards

    The annual Quality Progress listing identifies national, international, government, and state quality related awards. Check out if your state quality award is listed. Information on how to include your state award in future listings is included.

    News and Events

    Preview our future events and training opportunities

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