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Quality Standards in Automotive Industry Essay

Quality professionals use the term “standards” to mean many things, such as metrics, specifications, gages, statements, categories, segments, groupings or behaviors. But usually when they talk about standards, they’re talking about quality management. Management standards address the needs of organizations in training, quality auditing and quality-management systems. The ISO 9000 Series, for example, is a set of international standards for quality management and quality assurance. The standards were developed to help companies effectively document the elements they need to maintain an efficient quality system. They are not specific to any one industry. The global automotive industry demands world class levels of product quality, productivity and competitiveness as well as continual improvement.

To achieve this goal many vehicle manufacturers insist that suppliers are certified to the quality management standard for suppliers to the automotive sector There are three popular standards used in the automotive industry: 1. QS-9000 is a quality management system developed by Daimler-Chrysler, Ford and General Motors for suppliers of production parts, materials and services to the automotive industry. 2. ISO/TS 16949, developed by the International Automotive Task Force, aligns existing American, German, French and Italian automotive quality standards within the global automotive industry. 3. ISO 14001 environmental standards are being applied by automotive suppliers as a requirement from Ford and General Motors.

1.QS-9000

QS 9000 is the name given to the Quality System Requirements of the automotive industry which were developed by Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and major truck manufacturers and issued in late 1994. QS-9000 replaces such quality system requirements as Ford Q-101, Chrysler’s Supplier Quality Assurance Manual, GM’s NAO Targets for Excellence and the Truck Manufacturer’s quality system manuals. The influence of QS-9000 is being seen throughout the automotive industry as it has virtually eliminated varying demands and waste associated with redundant systems. Proof of conformance to QS-9000 is certification/registration by an accredited third party such as Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) or the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). Companies that become registered under QS-9000 will be considered to have higher standards and better quality products. This paper will describe the steps a company needs to take to achieve this goal.

WHY QS-9000?

QS-9000 will help companies to stay ahead of their competition. It will do this by filling gaps in the business and quality systems that can cause problems. QS-9000 eliminates redundant and unnecessary work practices. QS-9000 tells current and potential customers that the product has consistent quality and is manufactured under controlled conditions. This system is globally accepted as proof of quality in the automotive industry and is also a major customer requirement.

How Does QS-9000 Differ From ISO-9000?

QS-9000 is sometimes seen as being identical to ISO 9000, but this is not true. Even though each element of ISO 9000 is an element of QS-9000, QS-9000 adds clauses to the majority of the ISO 9000 elements. For example, QS-9000 adds requirements for a business plan, tracking customer satisfaction and bench marking to element 4.1 of ISO 9000, Management Responsibility. QS-9000 also uses sector-specific requirements.

The following requirements are not based on ISO 9000:production part approval process the requirements for gaining approval from the customer to run a new or altered part or process continuous improvement automotive suppliers are required to have systems in place to ensure that organized, measurable improvement activities take place for a variety for business aspects manufacturing capabilities requirements for planning and effectiveness for equipment, facilities and processes requirements for mistake proofing, and tooling management.

Associate Responsibilities:

In order to become QS-9000 certified, a company must first prepare its staff for the challenge that awaits them. Each employee will have responsibilities under QS-9000. Once time-studies, machine and operator layout and production rates have been set by the industrial engineer, then some of these responsibilities include: performing all work in compliance with all documented procedures and work instructions that may apply; to have access to all procedures and/or work instructions that are applicable to your job; to know the company’s QS-9000 quality policy statement; to cooperate with internal and external auditors;

to attend and complete all required training sessions;
to attend all meetings that are applicable to your job function. (i.e., management reviews, problem solving meetings); respect the document control and quality record procedures:
comply with corrective actions;
to complete all forms, logs and other records which are called for by your procedures and work instructions in a consistent, timely manner; to notify appropriate personnel of nonconformances which could cause a quality problem or finding during an audit.

QS-9000 Audits

When the employees are prepared for the responsibilities that await them, they will be randomly audited by two types of auditors: 1. Internal auditor: A team of people who are employed by your company. 2. External auditor: A customer representative of the QS-9000 certification auditor. The auditor’s questions may include:How do you do your job?

Do you have work instructions or a procedure?
The auditor might then ask specific questions concerning the procedure.
Examples include: Are you familiar with the company quality policy?
Can you tell me what it is?
What does it mean to you?

The auditor may also ask to see any forms you fill out or records you have about your job. In many cases an employee will get nervous when an auditor asks a question. Good advice to give an employee on answering an auditor’s question would be to relax. The auditor is probably just as nervous as you are. Be honest. The auditor may already know the truth. Be polite and the audit should go quickly. Show the auditor your work instructions (methods, visual aids). Be sure the way you explain how you do your job matches with the work instructions. Point out the Quality Policy Statement to the auditor and read it from the card. Be able to tell the auditor what the Quality Policy means to you in your own words. If you do not understand the question, ask the auditor to say it again or explain.

Do not try to answer a question that you do not understand. Do not argue with the auditor. If you feel he or she did not understand your answer, carefully explain the answer to the auditor. Audits will normally be scheduled and the company will be notified. Therefore each department will have time to prepare, and they will usually have a practice audit so that everyone is prepared. However, the company should always be prepared for an audit by having their proceduresand quality policy statement ready. Procedures should not be followed only when there is an audit. The purpose of the QS-9000 system is to consistantly produce a quality product.

If procedures are followed only at the time of the audit the associates will not be comfortable or knowledgeable with them when the auditors come through. Therefore receiving certification becomes much more unlikely. More importantly, the goal of consistant production of a quality product will more than likely have been defeated. The most important thing to remember with QS-9000 and receiving certification is that it is not a productivity comparison with other companies nor even a quality comparison. It is simply a check to see if you, as a department or company, are doing what you said you have been doing everytime you produce a part or product.

QS-9000 Quality Statement

The QS-9000 Quality Statement tells of a company’s objectives for quality and commitment to quality, and is relevant to company goals and customer needs and expectations. The Quality Statement will be given to all associates in the form of a laminated card that they must keep with them at all times. The Quality Statement should be posted in all areas of the facility. Though it is not necessary for each associate to memorize the quality policy statement, they should be able to read it from the card or wall and tell what it means to them. All management personnel must know the quality policy statement.

2. TS 16949

TS 16949 is the International Quality Management Standard specifically written by the Automotive Industry. In a concerted effort to improve quality and assure the integrity of supplies to the industry. Subscribers to the standard include BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, PSA, Renault and Volkswagen. The introduction of TS 16949 has resulted in substantial improvements in all aspects of quality, delivery and overall efficiency throughout the supply chain. It has also reduced the requirement for multiple audits of manufacturers. The International Automotive Task Force (IATF), which members include nine major OEMs, is committed to ensuring that TS 16949 remains the automotive quality systems standard for the future.

Who is TS 16949 applicable to?

The standard is applicable to any organisation within the automotive supply chain that manufactures and / or adds value to parts for supply to the automotive industry.

What are the benefits of certification to TS 16949?

* Global recognition as a reputable supplier – certification is recognized and accepted throughout the automotive supply chain as an industry benchmark * Customer satisfaction – through delivery of products that consistently meet customer requirements * Reduced cost of compliance with customer specifications – through implementation of a single management system and reduced audit requirements * Reduced operating costs – through continual improvement of processes and resulting operational efficiencies

* Improved stakeholder relationships – including staff, customers and suppliers * Legal compliance – by understanding how statutory and regulatory requirements impact the organization and its customers * Improved risk management – through greater consistency and traceability of products and services * Proven business credentials – through independent verification against recognized standards * Ability to win more business – particularly where procurement specifications require certification as a condition to supply How to gain certification to TS 16949

The process of registration follows three simple steps:

* Application for registration is made by completing the application questionnaire * The NQA assessment is undertaken by qualified TS 16949 auditors. The assessment activity includes a Stage 1 and Stage 2 audit. The organisation must be able to demonstrate that it has 12 months performance data for the manufacture of automotive products, has been subject of a full cycle of internal audits and full management review. (Organisations who can demonstrate they are on an active bid list and / or do not yet have a full 12 months performance data may apply for a Letter of Conformance) * Registration is granted by NQA and maintained by the organisation. Maintenance is confirmed through a programme of annual surveillance visits and a three yearly re-certification audit.

Initial Certification Audit (Assessment)

Stage 1 Readiness Review – the purpose of this visit is to confirm the readiness of the organisation for full assessment. The assessor will: * Verify the scope of activity, operating locations and processes * Review records of internal audits for the past 12 months including one complete audit conforming to requirements of TS 16949 * Audit management reviews for last 12 months (at least one review must comply with TS 16949 and include an evaluation of the results of a complete cycle of process, product and system audit)

* Review KPI’s for customer and operational performance trends for last 12 months (If the organisation is applying for a letter of conformance then a full twelve months performance data may not be available) If the fundamental requirements have been met, the assessor will confirm the company is ‘ready’ and produce an assessment plan and confirm a date for the Stage 2 assessment visit. Stage 2 – this visit takes place within 90 days of the Stage 1 Readiness Review and its purpose is to confirm that the management system fully conforms to the requirements of TS 16949 in practice. The assessor will: * undertake sample audits activities defined in the scope of assessment including all the organisation’s processes, operational shifts, supporting locations and any customer specific requirements * document how the system complies with the standard

* report any non-compliances or potential for non-compliance * produce a surveillance plan and confirm a date for the first surveillance visit. If the assessor identifies any non-conformance, the organisation cannot be certified until corrective action is taken and verified. This must be undertaken within 90 days.

3.ISO 14001 – Environmental Management Standard (EMS)

ISO 14001 is the internationally recognised standard for the environmental management of businesses. It prescribes controls for those activities that have an effect on the environment. These include the use of natural resources, handling and treatment of waste and energy consumption.

The Benefits of implementing ISO 14001

Implementing an Environmental Management System is a systematic way to discover and control the effects your company has on the environment. Cost savings can be made through improved efficiency and productivity. These are achieved by detecting ways to minimise waste and dispose of it more effectively and by learning how to use energy more efficiently. It verifies compliance with current legislation and makes insurance cover more accessible.

How to implement ISO 14001?

Firstly, you need to evaluate the effect your organisation has on the environment. Next, identify the boundaries of your management system and document your procedures for implementing the requirements of ISO 14001. You will need to ensure these procedures are implemented and then audited. If you have ISO 9000 systems in place, many of the requirements of ISO 14001 will already be covered, or can be easily incorporated into them. Once developed, internal audits are needed to ensure the system carries on working. The setting of targets for the environmental policy and continual measuring against it ensures the system is maintained.

Why ISO 14001 certification?

Once you have an environmental management system in place, you may choose to have it externally audited. Following a successful audit by an accredited certification body, you will be issued with a certificate of registration to ISO 14001. This demonstrates that your organisation is committed to environmental issues and is prepared to work towards improving the environment. It also gives a competitive edge to the company’s marketing and enhances its image in the eyes of customers, employees and shareholders.

Elements of the ISO 14001 standard

ISO 14001 contains the core elements for an effective environmental management system. It can be applied to both service and manufacturing sectors. The main elements of the standard are:

Environmental policy
Planning
Implementation and operation
Checking and corrective action
Management review
Assessment to ISO 14001

Having chosen a third party accredited certification body for your assessment, it will review your documentation and carry out an initial audit of your site (often called ‘stage 1’). This will look at the company’s evaluation of environmental effects and ascertain if targets set for the management programme are measurable and achievable. This is followed at a later date by a full audit (stage 2) to ensure that records and working practices demonstrate that the company is following its procedures. After a successful audit and the issue of a certificate, there will then be surveillance visits (usually once or twice a year) to ensure that the system continues to work. Joint ISO 14001 and ISO 9000 systems

There are several common elements between the two standards, such as management review, document control, corrective action and the requirement for trained personnel. These can be combined into a single, joint system (together with Health & Safety if desired). Assessment of joint systems is available and may be the most suitable and cost effective approach for some companies.


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