Tuesday, August 25, 2009

ISO 9001 quality system

The latest revision, ISO 9001:2008 – which has just been published – has a greater focus on how companies meet customer needs, integrate those needs into the operation and evaluate customer feedback (see sidebar after article). It is the most extensive overhaul of the standard yet and requires top-level management leadership. The new updated standard is based on eight fundamental “best practices” that all organizations should have integrated into their business if they intend to keep up with their competition.Improved customer relations are only one of a number of benefits of adopting such a company-wide quality system. Following ISO 9001 improves communications both inside and outside the firm. It reduces rework, scrap and product returns. It builds better supplier relationships through improved communications and feedback. An ISO 9001 system helps to create a reliable system for documenting procedures, which helps set performance expectations, promote consistency and can reduce new employee training time.
The greatest obstacle to adopting an ISO 9001 quality system is understanding what compliance to the standard really means, and then implementing the requirements in a simple and easy-to-use system. Because the standard can be applied across all industries, a first step for most companies is deciding what parts of the standard apply and identifying where any system already in place needs to be improved or modified. Many companies get stuck trying to fit the standard to their situation rather than implementing the basic controls and checks/balances that ISO looks for. Here the experience of plastics professionals can help a moldmaker/molder by clarifying which requirements are needed, what areas are to be placed under document control, and the easiest methods to show evidence of quality related activities.

Document and Data Control in ISO 9000 & ISO 14001

The organization shall establish and maintain procedures for controlling all documents and data required by ISO 9000 & ISO 14001
a) they can be located;
b) they are periodically reviewed, revised as necessary, and approved for adequacy by authorized personnel;
c) current versions of relevant documents and data are available at all locations where operations essential to the effective functioning of the OH&S system are performed;
d) obsolete documents and data are promptly removed from all points of issue and points of use, or otherwise assured against unintended use;
e) archival documents and data retained for legal or knowledge preservation purposes, are suitably identified.
Accidents, incidents, non-conformances and corrective and preventive action
The organization shall implement and record any changes in the documented procedures resulting from corrective and preventive action.
Documents required by the ISO 9000 & ISO 14001 shall be controlled. Records are a special type of document and shall be controlled in accordance with the requirements.
The organization shall establish, implement and maintain procedure[s] to:
a) approve documents for adequacy prior to use;
b) review and update as necessary and re-approve documents;
c) ensure that changes and the current revisions status of documents are identified;
d.) ensure that relevant versions of applicable documents are available at points of use;
e.) ensure that documents remain legible and readily identifiable;
f.) ensure that documents of external origin determined by the organization to be necessary for the planning and operation of the ISO 9000 & ISO 14001 management system are identified and their distribution controlled, and
g.) prevent the unintended use of obsolete documents and apply suitable identification to them if they are retained for any purpose.