December 30, 2015 / best practices, continuous improvement, customer satisfaction metrics, customer service, LIT, quality, strategic planning
With the New Year upon us, everyone is starting to think about goals. For manufacturers focused on continuous improvement and customer service, higher quality is likely at the top of the list. While speed may help you gain new customers, industry leaders know that quality will help you keep them.
As we reported in a previously published blog, many industrial manufacturers are improving their quality by becoming ISO 9001 certified. In fact, the LENOX Institute of Technology (LIT) found it to be a best practice for several leading industrial metal-cutting organizations.
There are several reasons to consider undergoing ISO 9001 certification. The standard, which was just updated in September 2015, is designed to help companies provide customers with consistent, good quality products and services, which, in turn, often brings business benefits like improved financial performance. According to ISO’s quality management principles, there are seven strong reasons to consider adopting the standard:
- Increased customer value
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Improved customer loyalty
- Enhanced repeat business
- Enhanced reputation of the organization
- Expanded customer base
- Increased revenue and market share
Perhaps the biggest benefit, however, is that ISO 9001 certification helps companies make quality a formal, measureable process. As reiterated in an article from Quality Digest, registration to ISO 9001 helps establish “a coherent standard by which managers can measure their procedures and streamline processes.”
Mike Baron, vice president of high production metal processor Jet Cutting Service, Inc., has found this to be true. In a case study published by LIT, Baron says that maintaining ISO certification has improved quality in his shop and helped them stay focused on continuous improvement. “If you don’t track it, you can’t measure it, and then you can’t improve upon that,” Baron says.
However, ISO certification isn’t a quick fix nor should it be taken lightly. Like any company-wide initiative, it requires time, money, and strategic planning. The eBook, Five Performance-Boosting Best Practices for Your Industrial Metal-Cutting Organization, offers three key considerations ball and roller bearing manufacturers should take into account before undergoing ISO certification:
- Understand the purpose. Many companies go into ISO 9001 certification under the incorrect assumption that the standard itself ensures quality. However, that isn’t true. Instead, it is meant to assess quality management. In other words, it should be used to strengthen an existing quality management system (QMS) by making it a formal, documented procedure.
- Reach out to other shops. Finding out why and how other manufacturers approached ISO certification can help you determine if certification is worth the time and financial investment, as well as what you should (and shouldn’t) do in the process. However, managers need to realize that no two certification processes are going to be the same. The cost and time of ISO 9001 registration and implementation will vary depending on the size and complexity of your organization and on whether you already have some elements of a quality management system in place.
- Consider getting some support. If you decide to follow through with certification, there are several services and consultants that can help. Although third-party support may initially seem cost-prohibitive, you may find it is worth it in the long run, especially if you are short-staffed.
Is it time for your shop to up its game? Could improved quality be part of the answer? If that’s the case, ISO 9001:2015 is worth consideration. As Baron of Jet Cutting Service has found, formal processes like ISO 9001 certification can help your operation achieve some real, measureable, bottom-line improvements.
For more information on ISO 9001:2015, visit the ISO website here.