Some Quality Thoughts from ISO 9000 Conference

While attending and presenting at the ISO 9000 annual conference taking place in San Diego, CA Feb 18-19, 2013, I noticed a major focal point was related to global quality sustainability.  Many topics and speakers stressed the importance of having a Quality Management System (QMS) that not only provided methods and processes but also had the flexibility to conform to a variety of standards. They all talked about procedures, specifications, documentations, etc. and how having just processes alone will neither guaranty quality nor customer satisfaction. There were presentations given on pharma, healthcare, aviation, automotive, services, etc.  Regardless of the industry vertical, common elements I noticed were customer focus and supply chain quality. 

A presentation made by the Director of Global Quality Strategy at GM was compelling.  It covered customer first/product quality framework. He showed data connecting customer perceptions, buyer behavior and relationships as part of how Cadillac improved their customer experience, increased initial and continued quality, reliability and customer retention. GM considered quality data, looked at sales, service and supplier experience and many other factors that customers touch but do not see. In addition to standard quality engineering, GM is now aiming towards lean quality and single global standards across all the GM brands and groups. This clearly shows the value of quality and how it connects to value for the company. 

Another session that stands out was given by a Boeing Systems manager on QMS for aviation and how that has evolved to where it is today. He spoke about how ISO 9000 and AS 9000 have morphed into IAQG (International Aerospace Quality Group) 9100 and these standards have been accepted by major A&D companies. It included a certification scheme and best practices related to supply chain and people capabilities. 9100 provides womb-to-tomb processes that are more prescriptive for aviation, space and defense applications. 

During my presentation on Enterprise Quality Management Systems (EQMS) for Manufacturing, in the face of industry challenges and what enterprises should look for in a system or solution, much of the audience agreed with what I had to say.  Companies need to forget the silo mentality, get out of data islands and embrace the ‘Power of One’ from a system perspective, but not from a solution perspective. They need to have a system that provides processes tailored for their business and allow for both compliance and risk based procedures. This provides a business case now, value at a quicker clip, and also recurring benefits. They also grasped why collecting data for the sake of collection without visibility, analysis and disseminationis a real resource killer. They clearly got the value from quality from a customer and corporate growth perspective. 

Sparta System’s TrackWise solutions allow these enterprises with diverse and disparate systems to have a centralized/harmonized EQMS to manage their businesses based on their quality standards whilst providing repeatable and predictive processes. This is where the value is – for compliance and quality. Companies understand it. They get it.

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