Standard Operating Procedures

 Sustaining Edge Solutions, Inc. Newsletter

Performance Improvement Solutions for Your Business                                     April 2013


This Month
* Standard Operating Procedures
* AS9101:20XX-Why?
* Writing Effective Job Descriptions
* In the News
* Training Courses


ASQ World Conference on Quality Improvement May 6-8, 2013 Indianapolis, IN. See you there!



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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.  


Standard Operating Procedures         

No matter what type of business you are in, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are critical for establishing and for maintaining standardized work.  


A recent survey conducted by Pathwise, showed that up to 25% of respondents have no SOP for writing procedures.  An important question to ask yourself is ” Are you dedicating enough resources to your SOPs?”


Highlights of this survey showed:  


  • Roughly 50% of organizations polled do not have formal training on how to write procedures.
  • It  takes the majority of respondents 3-5 days to write a procedure and anywhere from 0-29 days to have the procedure approved. However, for 10% of respondents polled, it takes over 30 days.
  • On average, irrespective of organization size, the majority of procedures are 1-10 pages in length. However, 25% of organizations that are 1000+ employees in size have procedures averaging 20-50 pages in length.
  • Roughly 30% of those polled said their procedures contain no process maps. 
  • In an open poll of what other issues are struggled with, the number one response was standardization to how the procedures are written.  

 Examples of survey participant comments included: 


“Since I have no formal training, coming up with the appropriate wording slows me down.”

 “We recently bought three more operating companies. It is difficult making the procedures the same without creating an ‘us versus them’ problem.” 


“It is difficult when you have to deal with other members of the team who relish complication and politics.” 

We need to write our procedures to be compliant with ISO Standards, but flexible enough to allow for programs that do not want the stringency that comes with certain regulations. We are also audited frequently by outside customers who write us up for nuances that they would expect to see in our procedures, so our procedures have become extremely detailed over the years.”

“We struggle with a lack of documentation from the manufacturer and with a lack of equipment on hand to verify the procedure.”


No two management systems are quite the same. Documentation will look different; exclusions are taken for requirements that don’t apply. The number and diversity of procedures, work instructions, and forms, will always vary. 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.


AS9101:20XX – Why?      


We recently attended a workshop conducted by National Quality Assurance (NQA) in Los Angeles, California.  NQA is a leading global certification body (CB) providing certification services to many global standards.   Our firm received the Associate Consultant Register (ACR) recognition logo from NQA.  This recognition is issued as an award to organizations who achieve the qualifications of the ACR program.

One of the presentations we attended was in regards to future changes to AS9101D the Aerospace Standard for Audit Requirements for Aviation, Space and Defense Organizations.  The following is information captured regarding this topic currently in Draft Form:

Consolidation of the Forms: “Objective Evidence Record” + “PEAR” = The New PEAR will include both the performance and the conformity assessment results.  The New PEAR will be aligned to ISO definition of “Effectiveness”

Other information we captured included:  

  • PEAR will capture objective evidence of conformity (planned activities) and performance (planned results)
  • Appendices will be referenced as Forms and will not be included in the standard URL link but will be referenced to access the forms.  For multi-sites, opening meetings must include a representative from all sites – physically or electronically. 
  • The audit team shall record definitions, targets and values of KPIs related to the audited process on the PEAR. The audit team shall record detailed objective evidence (e.g., reviewed procedures, shop orders, training records, products, verification records) on the PEAR (section 3).
  • Defined reporting requirements for “combined” and “integrated” audits. 
  • For combined and integrated audits, separate reports shall be issued for each audit performed for each standard.
  • PEAR(s) will be mandatory and created for each top level process audited to AS91XX series requirements. No longer limited to processes associated with Product Realization requirements.
  • New Process Evaluation Matrix (PEM)
  • Clear definitions to assist auditors when determining process effectiveness levels / numerical conclusions when documenting PEAR’s.

Look for further information on future standards and supporting documents in our next newsletter.

Writing Effective Job Descriptions       


Management Systems require top management to ensure responsibilities and authorities are defined and communicated within the organization. Properly written job descriptions not only convey responsibilities, they also help with hiring, retention, and legal compliance. 

According to the HR Daily Advisor, the do’s and don’ts for worthwhile job descriptions that will really support HR operations include: 

  1. Do give specifics. For example, rather than stating that a maintenance worker “keeps up equipment,” it is better to spell out the position’s requirements, which might include performing routine maintenance on assembly machines, including adjusting settings; cleaning and lubricating shafts, gears, and bearings; and dismantling and replacing defective parts, etc.
  2. Do use accurate adjectives.Include adjectives that describe the pace of work (“deadline-driven,” “fast-paced”) or the work environment (“enclosed area,” “noisy setting”), but avoid flowery and overly long descriptions (“cozy but comfortable work environment that encourages creativity”).
  3. DON’T list unreasonable expectations. Most managers hope their employees will exceed their expectations and take on tasks and responsibilities beyond what’s required in the position, but avoid the temptation to include standards that don’t currently apply to this job.
  4. DON’T list excessive qualifications or experience. If you include more than what is needed to competently perform the position, you will end up with bored, overqualified workers and you will limit your ability to place otherwise qualified candidates in the position.
  5. DON’T include anything derogatory or specific about a person who previously held the position.Job descriptions are not the place to air grievances or disappointments about individuals who previously held the position. You can use past experiences to help ensure all necessary information is included, but make sure you describe only the job.
  6. Don’t rely on abbreviations or jargon.A job description should be clear to applicants and employees. Abbreviations and jargon that are specific to your organization, and not to your industry, should be avoided or explained.
  7. Don’t use words that raise a question of discrimination.Avoid language that would be questionable in a job listing. For example, don’t use words such as “youthful” or “able-bodied.”
  8. Don’t use subjective terms.Avoid using words that are subject to differing interpretations. Instead of saying you seek a certain attitude, cooperation, or initiative, describe expected outputs, different constituencies with whom this position interacts, and the nature of those relationships (such as “reports to,” “provides support to,” “supervises”).    



In the News      
Congratulations to our client, SunDanzer Refrigeration, Inc.

for achieving certification to the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System Standard. SunDanzer products include Solar powered refrigerators & freezers in all shapes and sizes.

SAE International Creates Standard for Design Review Based on Failure Modes  


SAE International has released the first standard for the quality improvement process known as Design Review Based on Failure Modes (DRBFM).

DRBFM is best described as a quality culture with a foundation of an engineering mindset, according to Bill Haughey, the chairman of the SAE J2886 DRBFM Recommended Practice.  DRBFM is modeled after a linkage between a good design review and Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA). DRBFM is implemented following some type of change – design, test, process or supplier.

DRBFM makes these changes visible by discussing them in depth, identifying every potential failure that impacts quality, cost or delivery. The discussion is technical and supports engineers in making decisions relative to design, test and manufacturing, including the supply base.

SAE International standard ” Design Review Based on Failure Modes (DRBFM)” is now available for purchase on the SAE 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?

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