Culture Shock and Things Need to Change - Implementing ISO 9001

K

kreco

#1
I have recently joined a mature company (30+) years in business and they have never been ISO or had any "real" work instructions. EVERYTHING here is loosely defined at best. The problem being is that for 25+ years the company had no real competition and it really didn't matter how badly they screwed up or how late a delivery was, the customer seriously had no choice to go elsewhere. But things have changed, we now have serious competition and because of our poor performance we have lost one customer after another. Financially the company is in BAD shape.

As the new QM I am in the very early stages of implementing ISO 9001, though we are about 7 months from full implementation. We do have routers that specifically state how the product should be manufactured, labeled, processed etc...so there should be NO questions on what is needed as far as product quality.

The problem is that we CONTINUE to see TONS of RMAs and repeat issues. Everyone here is so blase (pronounced blah-zay) about general policies, their workmanship etc. How in the world do you get an entire organization to get in gear and be accountable for their actions?

Here is a recent example: We are way behind on deliveries for a particular "set" that we ship out. There are 11 parts that complete one set and on top of not being able to keep up with delivery we are sending them nonconforming parts. Some parts are supposed to be marked with a dot and 2 weeks ago a shipment went out missing the dot. So I created a checklist for final inspection to use when inspecting these parts (this customer is the only customer that gets 100% final inspection, and currently it is actually 200% because one of the techs is new and I'm having the supervisor check her work) and even still this was missed. We were billed $800 for our customer's labor to mark the parts. So today I get another email from this customer and the most recent shipment that went out it happened again!:nope: So of course my boss will be coming down on me :argue: wanting to know HOW QA inspection could have missed this again! Obviously the parts should come to QA correct, but they are the safety net and I want them held accountable for the escape. I personally went down and checked inventory of all parts and found 2 more batches that were ready to ship out that weren't marked.:mg: I then made an inbox for incoming parts to this area specifically designated for those parts requiring the specific marking, to hopefully flag the orders and heighten awareness for them. So help me if I find one more batch I'm going to lose it!

I realize something in the process needs to change, but what else can I do to get QA to pay attention? We've talked about unpaid days off, but we are already behind in shipments so that won't help us.

This is just one example, but it seems like fixes don't stick. If you talk to people you just get "well that's just the <company name> way" . If you tell a supervisor to address something and communicate to their department that x process has changed, they don't tell them. People just don't seem to respond.

I know with the introduction to ISO things will improve, but you still have lots of people that I think will have a rough time with the new structure.

Off topic:
bla·sé (blä-zay)
adj.
1. Uninterested because of frequent exposure or indulgence.
2. Unconcerned; nonchalant: had a blasé attitude about housecleaning.
3. Very sophisticated.
 
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BradM

Staff member
Admin
#2
Re: Culture shock and things need to change

Wow! Excellent post!

I realize this is going to sound horribly worn out and trite, but I cannot help in bringing it out. The upper management of your organization is the one that got it in this position, and they are responsible for getting it out. Culture can only change two ways-1) over time 2) a requirement from upper management.

To an extent, you can't blame the workers for not changing, as they have been given no incentive to change. As far as penalizing people for poor decisions, I don't know if I would do that. I would be more prone to reward those who are changing. Even then, there are problems with the reward system. Again, the management of the organization needs to drive the change. Once that is in place, everyone will understand how important it is, and the workers/supervisors will change their tone (or have to find another job).

Upper management needs to be convinced a change is necessary, the QMS is to be supported and used, and they need to support your quality efforts as much as possible. Without that, I'm afraid you might be spinning your wheels in mud.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#3
Re: Culture shock and things need to change

Ah yes. Here we go again.

How did QA let a bad batch go out? :whip: Whack! Bad boy! Whack!

My theory is that most people know what good craftsmanship looks like, but they might get to the point of deciding their best efforts aren't cared about. So they stop trying. Such people are probably not confused about who's responsible; they'd know you are just the cheerleader if you are the only one there exhorting first time quality product and service.

Sounds like you were hired to "make" the ocmpany certified, but Brad is right: you can't make management rise up and recognize that the culture they built is the fundamental weakness there. This house isn't built on sand. It's built on quicksand.

What to do? You can point out to management that making good parts ship on time requires the parts to be properly made and labeled at the point of final inspect, so said inspection can happen randomly.

But this message needs three things to work: the listeners must be ready to hear it, the message must be in the right language, and the listeners must be capable of acting on it.

The managers will need to recognize crisis in order to work their way out of it. Good luck with this.
 
P

Pudge 72

#4
Re: Culture shock and things need to change

Forget about how to catch the problem at Inspection and start driving at how this is being missed during MANUFACTURE. Do you need automated In-Line equipment - perhaps a "cheap" (HAHA) camera system - Cognex / Keyence that can detect whether the "dot" is present or the product conforms?
What about the process itself - how is this being "skipped"?
Issue a CAPA to the Manufacturing Manager, forget about trying to inspect the quality into the product and see where that gets you.

Good Luck.
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#6
Re: Culture shock and things need to change

I have recently joined a mature company (30+) years in business and they have never been ISO or had any "real" work instructions. EVERYTHING here is loosely defined at best. The problem being is that for 25+ years the company had no real competition and it really didn't matter how badly they screwed up or how late a delivery was, the customer seriously had no choice to go elsewhere. But things have changed, we now have serious competition and because of our poor performance we have lost one customer after another. Financially the company is in BAD shape.
What a great opportunity you have in front of you!

As I understand the issue, Change Management needs to become part of EVERYONE'S life in this organization. A number of Cove visitors are active in Change Management and may be able to offer you some terrific tips, but the main thing is covering these three steps:
  1. Folks (not just you) have to acknowledge the situation is bad and NEEDS changing
  2. Top management has to commit time and resources (which may be scarce because of long term deterioration) to planning and implementing a Change
  3. Planning should include mileposts for checking to see the plan is on track and an evaluation made whether to continue or modify the plan.
It is rarely enough to just point out the obvious [something needs to change] without having an idea in mind of what the ideal situation would be. You don't need to have the plan ready for achieving that ideal situation, but everyone that will stay with the organization has to agree on the end target before you can get them to agree on implementing ANY plan.

Let's see if folks have strategies for determining the ideal target before we decide what the ideal target is for YOUR COMPANY.
 

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
#7
Re: Culture shock and things need to change

I have recently joined a mature company (30+) years in business and they have never been ISO or had any "real" work instructions. EVERYTHING here is loosely defined at best. The problem being is that for 25+ years the company had no real competition and it really didn't matter how badly they screwed up or how late a delivery was, the customer seriously had no choice to go elsewhere. But things have changed, we now have serious competition and because of our poor performance we have lost one customer after another. Financially the company is in BAD shape.......
You have quite a task before you. Good luck. I think the issue is not to get a "system in place." From the sounds of it, you have to do damage control FIRST. Late deliveries, sending nonconforming product. Management is blase. These have to be nipped in the bud before a meaningful system can be put in place. It sounds like you are a good deal more than "7 months out." The basement foundation needs to be rebuilt first.

If you can do this, that would be great. If not, a good consultant may be able to help your team get restarted on the right footing. There are a number of good consultants on this forum, myself included. Please feel free to call on us if needed. The services can be free, if done well. If not needed, some guidance can be obtained from the good folks here on the Cove.

Best Wishes...:agree1:
 
K

kreco

#8
I should say that MGT does acknowledge a change is needed (though I dare say they are not sure WHAT to change) and it is the (mfg) employees that are blase about practices. I think what a pp said about people stop caring is right on. For example someone in-process states "I don't think this part is good enough" and the Egr Mgr says "it's close enough, go ahead and send it". So the next time they see the same issue they just send it along and don't give it another thought. I should say with the exception of the president & VP of Sales and Mktg that they have a new mgt team that was hired to address just this very issue. We've only recently started to meet as a "team" 2 weeks ago on a weekly basis (I've been here 2 months). So I think things are moving in the right direction, but I'd really like to identify the most significant stepping stones in leading the change and I'm having trouble doing that.

We just introduced a 1.5 million dollar (which seriously took up every ounce of our cash flow, on top of a hefty loan) piece of equipment that the President and other mgrs are looking at as a "rebirth" of this company. I've been told to pretend this is a brand new company and forget that they have been disfunctional for so many of their previous years.

And honestly all the damage control I've been doing has slowed down my implementation plan. Though I am no stranger to introducing quality standards to a company, in my last position I successfully implemented ISO 9001, AS 9100, TS 16949 & ISO 14000 essentially on my own over the course of a 5 year period. I know the goal here is to be certified by 9/2008, but I seriously wonder if they will have the funds to pay for certification by then...so by no fault of my own it may be pushed out because of finances. I did emphasize to them that I would need total buy in from Sr Mgt or I wouldn't even bother because there would be no point. So far they have supported my needs for an electronic dox mgt system, a new CAR/NCR database etc, so I will give them that much.

I was made aware of the situation prior to accepting the position and thought what a great opportunity for me, but I'm suddenly finding myself dumbfounded. Just getting this out into the cove has helped significantly and I really appreciate everyone's feedback, please keep it coming :) I have no plans to give up on this company and I'm very excited about the challenges ahead, but it's a daunting task for sure.

And for the record my boss insisted that I write up both of my QA techs for the oversight (documented verbal warning), which I did and the Mgr of the other department had to write them up as well. I was mixed on that action though due to the fact that I really feel people haven't been equiped with proper training & work instructions....which I am currently working on.

Thanks again everyone...keep it coming!
 

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
#9
I should say that MGT does acknowledge a change is needed (though I dare say they are not sure WHAT to change) and it is the (mfg) employees that are blase about practices. I think what a pp said about people stop caring is right on. For example someone in-process states "I don't think this part is good enough" and the Egr Mgr says "it's close enough, go ahead and send it". So the next time they see the same issue they just send it along and don't give it another thought. I should say with the exception of the president & VP of Sales and Mktg that they have a new mgt team that was hired to address just this very issue. We've only recently started to meet as a "team" 2 weeks ago on a weekly basis (I've been here 2 months). So I think things are moving in the right direction, but I'd really like to identify the most significant stepping stones in leading the change and I'm having trouble doing that.

We just introduced a 1.5 million dollar (which seriously took up every ounce of our cash flow, on top of a hefty loan) piece of equipment that the President and other mgrs are looking at as a "rebirth" of this company. I've been told to pretend this is a brand new company and forget that they have been disfunctional for so many of their previous years.

And honestly all the damage control I've been doing has slowed down my implementation plan. Though I am no stranger to introducing quality standards to a company, in my last position I successfully implemented ISO 9001, AS 9100, TS 16949 & ISO 14000 essentially on my own over the course of a 5 year period. I know the goal here is to be certified by 9/2008, but I seriously wonder if they will have the funds to pay for certification by then...so by no fault of my own it may be pushed out because of finances. I did emphasize to them that I would need total buy in from Sr Mgt or I wouldn't even bother because there would be no point. So far they have supported my needs for an electronic dox mgt system, a new CAR/NCR database etc, so I will give them that much.

I was made aware of the situation prior to accepting the position and thought what a great opportunity for me, but I'm suddenly finding myself dumbfounded. Just getting this out into the cove has helped significantly and I really appreciate everyone's feedback, please keep it coming :) I have no plans to give up on this company and I'm very excited about the challenges ahead, but it's a daunting task for sure.

And for the record my boss insisted that I write up both of my QA techs for the oversight (documented verbal warning), which I did and the Mgr of the other department had to write them up as well. I was mixed on that action though due to the fact that I really feel people haven't been equiped with proper training & work instructions....which I am currently working on.

Thanks again everyone...keep it coming!
Sounds like you are off to a good start. Remember, rank and file employees mirror the attitudes they see. If Mgt. was blase, then they will be as well. If it really is a "new company," then they have to be persuaded that it is truly different this time. Best Wishes.
 
R

RG Ohidy

#10
I am amazed by what I have read here. Everyone is missing the boat. Its not management, the employees, lack of caring etc. The system is broken, plain and simple.
I am afraid, and others might disagree, but being ISO certified is not going to solve any of your issues. Your in a classic position of a company having done nothing for thirty years, investing in machines to solve problems, etc, when they have no idea that the company operation is obsolete.
I am going to tell you to forget ISO certification at this point in time, and instead get someone on board that knows Lean, 5S, six sigma, etc. and go out and fix your processes now. With a good lean person, you can do some quick and major turn arounds to your processes in days and weeks. Hire a Lean consultant if you have too, but do it now. Your job as a quality manager is to assure product quality and improve the organization. ISO certification will do neither at this point in time. By the time you get certified you might be out of business.

You mention the employees, train them in Lean principals, as they are your major resource, that will turn things around for you. They must be involved in all lean efforts, as applicable.

You need to go to management and sell them on getting a Lean expert on board now, to turn things around. Of course you'll have to work directly with the Lean person, and do what has to be done.

Think I am kidding about Lean? We were the same way, and it has saved us, and countless other companies.

Good luck.
 
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