The Next Level of Performance

Sustaining Edge Solutions, Inc.     December 2014 
This Month

ISO 9001:2015 Revision and Update Phoenix ASQ Chapter General Session. January 8, 2015. Walter Tighe, Presenter –RSVP 
Lean and Six Sigma Conference March 2-3, 2015 Phoenix, AZ.  See you there!  



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Our newsletters provide information on business management systems and process improvement methods. 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 Management Standard, 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 content, or have a subject of interest for a future newsletter, please let us know.

The Next Level of Performance


In our last newsletter, we focused on the need for organizations to review key strategies for the coming year, and the need to set goals to support strategic direction.

With our new goals in mind, our main topic this month, and a new SES service offering delivers organizations a foundation for creating and sustaining a performance excellence culture.

The development and deployment of management systems based on the ISO series of standards has proven itself through many globally documented case studies and proven cost savings. An evolution and outgrowth of hardwiring ISO is the linkage of the ISO Standards to the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Criteria. The Baldrige framework can be used as a benchmark to provide an organizational-wide assessment to identify where key quality management system (QMS) process enhancements can be made to help drive an organization toward world-class performance.

ISO 9001:2015 – A Growth Step

From the 2012 ISO Global User Survey for the 9001:2015 standard review, (see SES May 2014 newsletter – Management System changes), more than 70% of respondents favored including Resource Management, Voice of the Customer, Measurement (performance, satisfaction, ROI), Knowledge Management, Risk Management, and Systematic Problem Solving and Learning within ISO 9001:2015.

In addition, the draft ISO 9001:2015 standards calls for the revision of the quality management system (QMS) standard, creating vertical alignment between customer needs and expectations, measureable and relevant objectives and action planning. This includes consideration of risks and monitoring progress in achieving objectives in meeting customer requirements with the end result of satisfied customers.

Complimenting an ISO Certified Management System

For those already working within the Baldrige framework, most of the 2012 ISO User Survey feedback and proposed ISO changes are already addressed in the 2013-2014 Criteria. For example, Baldrige Criteria (3.1), Voice of the Customer, requires systematic listening to current and potential customers to determine satisfaction, as well as methods of ongoing Customer Engagement (3.2) to determine customer requirements. This includes a Relationship Management process (3.2b.(1)) to systematically acquire, retain, and increase customer engagement to build market share and support business growth.

The concept of Risk Management relative to action planning is addressed under Baldrige Criteria (1.1), Senior Leadership. Here Intelligent Risk Taking is introduced, defined as when opportunities for which the potential gain outweighs the potential harm or loss to the organization’s sustainability. Taking intelligent risks requires a tolerance for failure and an expectation that innovation is not achieved by initiating only successful endeavors. The degree of risk that is “intelligent” may vary by type of industry

Conducting an Effective System Assessment   


Most leaders know Baldrige as a Quality Award that can be achieved at a state, regional or national level, based on the evaluation of an annual 50 page application sent to a team of examiners for review and feedback on key strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Our “Lean” Approach – to an organizational assessment for rapid improvements would be an on-site review, typically conducted over a 3-5 day period, producing a Baldrige Criteria-based feedback report.

Through the review of key process documents and leadership interviews, our gap analysis identifies the organizational opportunities for improvement, as well as strengths and key themes within the overall business and operations. The feedback can then be used to (1) evaluate organizational current state, and for strategic business development and deployment for 2015 and beyond; and (2) our assessment can also be used for readiness to submit a formal application for state, regional or national Baldrige Quality Award recognition.


New SES Strategic Service  

Starting in January 2015, we will offer an organizational Baldrige-based Assessment benchmarked to the National Baldrige Criteria.  Joining our team is Dennis Stambaugh, a former Missouri Quality Award Examiner and Judge.  Dennis is now a National Baldrige Examiner and Judge for the Southwest Alliance for Excellence based in Arizona. With over 10 years of use of the Criteria as a state and national applicant, Missouri Quality Award recipient, as well as a Baldrige examiner and state judge, Dennis brings extensive knowledge and experience of the use of the criteria and Baldrige best practices for organizational assessments and improvement of an organization’s quality management system.

Assessments will be initially offered to organizations who are already ISO certified, as a means of enhancement, integration, and alignment of existing systems. While ISO will continue to be required by many customers and government contracts, the integration of ISO-2015 with Baldrige, can provide an organization a competitive edge, to help sustain organizational growth through Performance Excellence.

A feedback report for senior leaders will be developed based on the assessment, addressing identified gaps and serving as an action plan road map for ongoing organizational opportunities for process improvement. Feedback can also help determine organizational readiness for the regional or national Baldrige Award.

With this new service we are offering special pricing to our first four clients. For more information, any questions and scheduling of an assessment, please contact us today toll free at 888-572-9642 or Email Us.

Outsourcing Boom Drives New Standard

As businesses worldwide look to be more nimble, reduce risks and tap into wider networks of expertise, it is no wonder that the trend towards outsourcing has exploded. Just as well that a new ISO standard for outsourcing has just been produced.


Outsourcing – transferring work to external companies – is nothing new. But Deloitte’s recent 2014 Global Outsourcing and Insourcing Survey showed that in recent years it has taken off, and they predict the trend to continue growing at rates of 12-26%


Providing access to the latest technologies, reducing headcounts and therefore reducing risks make outsourcing highly attractive. But it is not without its challenges, which is why ISO’s Technical Committee for Outsourcing, ISO/PC 259 developed a new international standard.

Developed by experts from both industry and standardization,  ISO 37500:2014 Outsourcing is for those who have already made the decision to outsource, focusing on the common processes and best practices for success, putting governance at the heart of the standard.

ISO 37500 addresses issues of flexibility in outsourcing arrangements, accommodating changing business requirements. The risks involved in outsourcing are confronted to enable mutually beneficial collaborative relationships. The standard is intended to relate to any outsourcing relationship, whether outsourcing for the first time or not, using a single-provider or multi-provider model, or draft agreements based on services or outcomes.

In addition it can be tailored and extended to industry-specific needs to accommodate international, national and local laws and regulations (including those related to the environment, labor, health and safety), the size of the outsourcing arrangement and the type of industry sector.


For more information on the 2014 Global Outsourcing Survey,   visit the Deloitte Website.

For more information on the ISO 37500 Outsourcing Standard, visit the ISO Website.   

Four Steps to Improved Customer Service


How do you turn a potentially ugly customer experience into one that customers relish and inform their friends?  We located this article from FedEx small business with a topic we still feel strongly, too many companies don’t spend enough time improving.  Remember, it’s harder to find a new customer than to keep a current one.   

Anticipate – the negative reactions from disgruntled customers and respond before they even have a chance to react.


But how can you handle a customer service issue before it happens? Use these four steps to get ahead of a challenging situation:

1. Make a plan to provide excellent customer service

Long before your customer finds reason to complain, develop a comprehensive plan. You’ll need to pull together a team of employees to cover all the bases. Follow the example of Southwest Airlines – they implemented the “Proactive Customer Service” program in which they analyze problematic issues and prepare in advance how to handle potential complaints.

Every day, a select team of Southwest Airlines’ employees gathers to review the previous day’s flights, as well as identify any delays due to inclement weather and other challenges that occurred. They then proactively handle any customer service problems by determining which issue requires an apology, or further action such as an offer, or a discount with a direct impact relating to the customer’s experience.

Here’s how you can implement the same practice. Take a good look at your business, and brainstorm situations that could arise:

  • What could go wrong?

  • What issues have you had that could reoccur?

  • Are there any anticipated obstacles that could cause negative reactions from your customers?

    With this information at hand, you can develop a proactive plan to handle any number of possible issues that could lead to irate customers.

With this information at hand, you can develop a proactive plan to handle any number of possible issues that could lead to irate customers.

2. Build a good relationship with your customers

Happy customers are more than just numbers in your accounting program. They’re satisfied, loyal customers who come back to you again and again – and they help build your business by referring their friends and colleagues to you.

To get more happy customers, you must establish strong relationships that go beyond taking and filling orders. Encourage a customer-focused culture throughout your business and at all your customer touch points.

Your online efforts could include a user-friendly website and blog, as well as a business account on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and/or Pinterest where customers can engage with your company.

Also consider additional proactive steps such as recording friendly messages for your business’s phone number, holding open-house events and creating loyalty programs. Continuously work with your team by focusing on every part of the customer experience. You’ll begin to build long-lasting relationships that will be the lifeblood of your business.

3. Be quick about it

It’s competitive out there! You know that a disgruntled customer can patronize plenty of other businesses for their purchasing needs, so it’s important to resolve any problems quickly. Try some of these approaches:

  • Respond immediately. Use a preplanned message to let the customer know that you’re investigating the issue, and that you’ll have a solution as soon as possible.

  • Be “human.” Let the customer know you understand their frustration, and that you’re going to do everything possible to make it right.

  • Go the extra mile. Take a look at the customer’s entire transaction history so you can create a personalized offer to make things better.

  • Follow up fast. Soon after fixing the problem, send an apology and include a “Thanks for being a customer” savings offer. If you’re going to turn that angry customer into one of your biggest fans, timing is essential.


4. Keep working at it

Remember, this isn’t a “one and done” kind of thing.

After you’ve developed a comprehensive customer service plan, you need to review it frequently and update it. Be sure to implement what you’ve learned from previous successes and anticipate future challenges. Communicate with your customers regularly, and engage them as much as possible to keep building strong relationships.

Take these steps and always respond quickly when an issue arises – you’ll be successful at turning dissatisfied customers into your biggest fans.



In the News

Coming Soon: ISO 9001:2015 Revision and Update Webinars and Workshops

Sustaining Edge Solutions will be conducting webinars and workshops in 2015 on the subject of the future ISO 9001:2015 QMS Standard. Who’s going to be affected by this future revision? Customers, supply chain, certified companies, end users, consumers, certification bodies, auditors, regulatory agencies and You!

Interested? Sign-up now and we will notify you of future dates in advance.   

Aerospace Suppliers Ramping Up For Orders

The aerospace supply industry is still in the early days of a long-term boom in orders, say industry participants at a recent suppliers summit hosted by GE Capital at GE Aviation’s headquarters in Cincinnati, OH. The large majority of participants, who were split about evenly in serving wide-body and narrow-body commercial aircraft platforms said they plan to increase their workforce over the next 12 months (84%), expect to win new long-term supply agreements in the next three years (91%), and expect aircraft deliveries to continue to grow at least through 2016 (76%).

“We are in the midst of a ‘super-cycle’ of aerospace manufacturing,” said Gib Bosworth, managing director of aerospace financing at GE Capital, Corporate Finance. “Advanced manufacturing practices will play a very important role in how these parts and components are made, so we at GE see a valuable role we can play in helping these suppliers stay on top of this manufacturing technology curve as well as have the capital they need to build production capacity.”

“Today, additive manufacturing is only .02 percent of total global manufacturing, so there is a lot of opportunity going forward,” said Greg Morris, leader of additive technologies for GE Aviation. “I think it’s great that the majority of the survey respondents are already incorporating this technology or plan to in the near future and I expect that number will continue to rise.”

When asked about their manufacturing future, 87% said they will be investing in new manufacturing equipment over the next 3 years. Regarding incorporating additive manufacturing, 27percent are already doing it, 10 percent expect it to happen within the next year and 37 percent expect it in the next one to five years. 

2014 Manufacturing Technology Orders up 5.2%

Released November 10th – September U.S. manufacturing technology orders totaled $647.63 million according to AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTO program, was up 77.3% from August and up 61.4% when compared with the total of $401.18 million reported for September 2013. With a year-to-date total of $3,738.72 million, 2014 is up 5.2% compared with 2013.


These numbers and all data in this report are based on the totals of actual data reported by companies participating in the USMTO program. 

“We now have data to back up the anecdotal reports that IMTS was an exceptionally strong show. This is a great sign that manufacturers are eager to invest in equipment that will boost their productivity,” said Douglas K. Woods, AMT President. “But, Washington’s cooperation will be essential to continuing our momentum going forward. With the midterm elections just passed, Congress now must focus on passing tax extender legislation during the lame-duck session, and then taking on comprehensive tax reform once the new Congress convenes in 2015.”


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As we say goodbye to 2014, we send many thanks to all our valued clients. To our newsletter readers – thank you for your continued interest, the suggested subjects of interest sent, and your positive feedback. All the best in the coming New Year!


Walter Tighe and SES Team
Sustaining Edge Solutions, Inc.
Toll Free 888-572-9642




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