Archive for February, 2013

Small and medium-sized enterprises share standard success stories

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

How do small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) compete on a level playing field with the biggest business? Quite simply: by applying International Standards.

It is estimated that more than 90 % of the world’s businesses are SMEs. Surprised? Don’t be. SMEs are, on average, the businesses that are generating growth, creating jobs, growing faster and innovating more. More importantly, they are a good deal less complicated (structurally) and more efficient and flexible than are large firms. International Standards provide as many benefits for small businesses as they do for global enterprises. Their strategic use can make a significant difference to the annual turnover of an SME, sometimes the difference between success and failure.

Given the trend towards outsourcing activities and the growing importance of cooperation in the value chain, effective Management System Standard implementation by SMEs is of key importance in facilitating trade and promoting sustainable development.

Read on and discover why International Standards are of strategic economic importance, and how SMEs (despite all obstacles) stand to gain most from their use.  See the February issue of ISO Focus which highlights the importance of International Standards to the company.

Salvaging Customer Service

Monday, February 4th, 2013

 Sustaining Edge Solutions, Inc. Newsletter

Performance Improvement Solutions for Your Business                              February 2013

 


This Month
* Salvaging Customer Service
* Sales First For Manufacturers
* Operational and Quality System Design
* In the News
* Training Courses

 

Events… 

Aerospace, Defense and Manufacturing Expo March 14, 2013 Phoenix, AZ. We are a Sponsor, Presenter and Exhibitor of this Conference.
ASQ Lean and Six Sigma Conference March 4-5, 2013 Phoenix, AZ
 

 

 
Helpful Links…

Join Our Newsletter List!

 
What We Do 
  • Operational and Quality Systems 
  • Training onsite and online
  • Lean Enterprise 
  • Six Sigma
  • Kaizen Events
  • ITAR
  • Improved Profits and More!

 

Connect With Us
Our newsletters provide information on business management systems.  These systems include ISO 9001 QMS, AS9100 Aviation, Space and Defense, ISO/TS 16949 Automotive, ISO 27001 Information Security, ISO 13485 Medical Devices, ISO 14001 Environmental, and others.  Subjects include performance improvement methods such as Six Sigma, Lean Enterprise, and other topics of interest to our readers.

If you have any questions regarding the content or have a subject of interest for a future newsletter, please let us know.  

 

Salvaging Customer Service        

Recent surveys by Harris Interactive and Accenture show missed opportunities for companies to resolve problems, strengthen processes, improve products and offerings, and learn from customers, all in the name of retaining them. 

Complaining customers tell you where your processes are failing and you are probably alienating 10 times as many customers who are simply not telling you, costing you a huge amount of revenue. Customer service problems will persist, but there are ways to resolve issues. 

  

Consider some highlights, or perhaps lowlights, from these surveys:    

  • Organizations admit managing customer expectations and communicating with customers are top challenges, but most organizations don’t see doing these things as a top priority and are more likely to invest resources in other areas of operation.
  • More repeat customers said they believe they’re being treated like strangers because customer service representatives don’t know the customers’ histories with the organization.
  • More than two-thirds of customers who switched providers because of an issue said they would have stayed with the company if the matter had been resolved during their first contact with the company’s customer service department.

The Harris Interactive survey also showed that consumers who used social media reacted more negatively to poor service: Nearly three-quarters said they decided not to buy a product or service because of a negative experience with a sales representative.

 

It seems there are plenty of ways for organizations to shore up their customer service deficiencies. Some of the advice seems obvious, but organizations still aren’t taking to heart the message experts keep offering:  

 

  • Treat the customer more like a partner and not simply a participant in the product transaction.
  • Form a rapid response team charged with identifying and resolving customer service issues.
  • Systematize responses to customer complaints, perhaps using root cause analysis. Analyze failures to see whether systematic issues can be resolved.
  • Educate product teams on what customer expectations are and what the team’s priority should be.
  • Share survey analysis with upper management so it can support changes in product and service delivery.
  • Address customer issues in a timely manner.

Enhancing customer service means investing in resources to have information and data available for customer service representatives to use and be able to interact intelligently when customers call. This includes training those on the front lines to handle these connections more carefully.

 
Most Think Sales First for Manufacturers     

  

Nearly 60% of consumers polled in a recent global survey said they think manufacturers value sales more than product safety. Only 36% said they strongly believe manufacturers perform thorough product safety testing before introducing new products to the market.At the same time, manufacturers realize product safety is increasing in importance to consumers and delivering it is critical to their business success, according to findings from the second annual Underwriters Laboratories (UL) study.

Manufacturers ranked quality as the No. 1 most important driver of their success today and the No. 1 most important future driver.
Quality was also a main topic in the “Product Mindset 2012” study, which was the culmination of interviews with 1,201 consumers and 1,202 manufacturers in China, Germany, India and the United States.
Manufacturers also said they think consumers care most about quality, with 38% saying it is the most important issue for consumers.  For consumers, quality ranked as the first or second most important type of product information across the food, building materials, high-tech and smart appliance categories.

To read and download the full study go to the UL Product Mindset Website.

 

  
Operational and Quality System Design       

  

A critical question that many organizations face when starting a documented operational and quality management system or improving a current one is “How much documentation is required?”

  

If you’re a quality systems veteran, you remember the ISO 9001, 1987 and 1994 versions lead to a number of ‘documented procedures’ as part of the standard’s 20 requirements. Such an approach did lead to organizations putting effort into creating documentation which often didn’t add value and was not easily understood by employees or customers. This was reduced with the ISO 9001:2000/2008 revision, specifying just 6 documented procedures, although implementers are given the latitude to define more as they see fit.  

We find today in many cases that lessons learned from past year’s experiences is driving a “less is more” when it comes to management systems documentation. If we cannot rely on an ISO standard telling us where and how much documentation to write, what can we base our decision on?

 

Can your organization run effectively on six procedures?  Do we base it on:

  • A friends documentation given to us to copy from another organization?

  • A canned template software program “ISO kits” found on the Internet? 

  • The two page Quality Manual (or is that 4 pages?) a consulting firm is selling you?

 

The answer is in the risk associated with needing to control your business processes. What is the risk of a certain system or process not being controlled? Many factors come into play: personnel experience, competencies, turnover, task complexity, customer and regulatory requirements are just some to be considered.

Use a risk management process applicable to your internal and external requirements, products and processes when developing documentation and the amount required. Remember, a healthy appreciation of the value of process control documentation is the difference between a certification hanging on the wall, or a sustained organization that always satisfies its customer needs. 

 

Interested in extended risk management information and/or developing a custom approach to your documented operational and quality management system? Contact us. 

In the News    

Security and Service Management   

  

ISO and IEC have published a new International Standard giving organizations advice on how to make integrated use of information security and service management system standards.

The new ISO/IEC 27013:2012, Information technology – Security techniques – Guidance on the integrated implementation of ISO/IEC 27001 and ISO/IEC 20000-1, provides guidance to be used whether one standard is implemented before the other, or both standards are implemented simultaneously.

The publication of ISO/IEC 27013 arose from the recognition that combining use of both International Standards brings additional benefits. ISO/IEC 27013 gives guidance on the first steps to be taken by organizations that wish to increase efficiency, improve their information security, service management and services.

For more information on this visit the ISO Website.

 

How to Publicize Your ISO Certification     

The ISO.org website contains comprehensive information on how to promote your company certification. These guidelines provide useful information in preparing promotional and communication material such as press releases, advertisements, marketing brochures, videos, staff announcements, logos, slogans and catch lines for diverse media ranging from print and broadcasting, to Internet and multi-media applications, to product labels, signs, banners, vehicle fleets and so on. 

 

To download the PDF version visit the ISO Website. 

 

Training Courses

To see the course description, schedule, and on-line registration click on the course title below. We deliver onsite training for all these courses and customized training to fit your specific needs.  We offer group discounts.  

 

View all our Courses

View Our Web Based E-Training Courses   

ISO 9001 Quality Management

Understanding and Implementing ISO9001:2008

ISO 9001:2008 Process Based Internal Auditor 

Documenting Your Management System

AS9100 Aviation, Space and Defense

Understanding and Implementing AS9100C (9110 &9120) Aviation, Space and Defense

AS9100C:2009 Process Based Internal Auditor

Documenting Your Management System 

ISO/TS 16949 Automotive

Understanding and Implementing ISO/TS16949:2009 Automotive

ISO/TS16949:2009 Process Based Internal Auditor
Documenting Your Management System 

ISO 14001 Environmental

Understanding and Implementing ISO14001:2004 Environmental
ISO14001:2004 Process Based Internal Auditor

Lean Enterprise and CI 

5S Five Pillars of a Lean Workplace Organization
Continuous Process Improvement
Lean Six Sigma
8 Disciplines (8D) of Problem Solving

ISO 13485 Medical Devices

Understanding and Implementing ISO 13485:2003 Medical Devices
ISO 13485 Process Based Internal Auditor 

ISO 27001 Information Security

Understanding and Implementing ISO 27001:2005 Information Security
ISO 27001 Process Based Internal Auditor 

All courses can be delivered at your company. Don’t see a course, location, or date that fits your needs?

Contact Us

 

 

 

Phone: 888-572-9642 toll free