Sun-Mar's Quality is Official!
(This article is from the Composting Times, 1999, a newsletter that circulates to our dealers)
Earlier this year Sun-Mar got a major boost to its assurance of quality when our manufacturing unit, Fibre Laminations Ltd. obtained their ISO 9001/ QS 9000 Registration. The tip off was when a large white banner appeared outside the factory proclaiming in very large type "QS 9000 Registered".
Are these mysterious banners the corporate equivalent of a stork on the lawn? "Composting Times" figured we are in an ideal position to find out. So, on your behalf we captured Gord Cormick, who is in charge of engineering, and should know all the answers.
CT: What is the ISO 9000 standard?
Gord: ISO 9000 is a quality standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The idea was to develop an international standard that would be applicable to all industries.
CT: Where does QS 9000 fit in?
Gord: Over and above ISO 9000, the automotive industry wanted to come up with an added set of quality standards which they could use for their supplier networks. They developed this jointly with ISO.
CT: What is involved in getting registered?
Well it isn't easy. It took us 18 months to work out what changes we needed to make, and get everything in place. The last phase is a pretty rigorous audit conducted by a third party registrar who gave us the seal of approval.
CT: What are the ingredients you needed to put into place?
Gord: There are five main components which work together to make sure our processes keep improving. The first is a Continuous Improvement Programme (CIS), where we collect data on key measurables such as scrap, and then figure out improvement programs. The second, Management Review, involves regular review by Management. Third, Internal Quality Audits are carried out. Fourth, we have had to establish work instructions for all key operation. These detail how each task is done in a step by step fashion. Finally, we now have cross functional teams in place for problem solving, design review, CIS, Internal auditing etc., which encourage ideas and solutions from different perspectives.
CT: This all sounds very nice, but what benefits should our Dealers and Customers see from all this activity?
Gord: Good question, because the benefits are there but they are part of a long term process. The main thing is consistency, and product improvement. We have been known for ages for the quality of our fibreglass production. Our QS 9000 registration just means that the consistency will keep getting better. It also means that we should be able to fix any problems quicker than ever before. The ISO 9001 designation means that we are also working on the design process itself, which will ensure that even fewer faults will end up in the final product.
CT: What time frame are we looking at?
Gord: The ISO/QS 9000 program is a journey that we've started on, but we're never going to arrive. It demonstrates that we have made a major commitment to continuously improving our processes, which in turn will improve the value of Sun-Mar products to our customers.
There you have it. Now Sun-Mar's legendary quality is signed, sealed and REGISTERED! If you have any quality questions, please keep us informed. With the recent arrival of the ISO "Stork" we are more confident than ever that you should not have too many!