Deployment of an "ISO9000-ready" QMS - Multi-facility site

B
#1
I have been asked to explore the deployment an "ISO9000-ready" quality management system for a three-plant facility. No decision has been made on whether to seek registration.

At present, there is no overall system: each plant has a variety of procedures and work instructions. Each uses a different approach in their systems and processes. The plants come on-line about one year apart, hence the lack of common systems/processes.

I am trying to come up with a way to the structure the documentation that might be acceptable should we seek registration. For example, would we write a procedure on corrective action (level 2), then have each plant provide a work instruction (level 3) on how corrective action is handled in that particular plant. Or would we kick up everything up one level to quality manual and three procedures.

Another approach would be to sit everyone down and hash out common systems and processes for all three plants. This might be more painful, but the commonality of approach is appealing, especially when it comes to managing the QMS.

Organizationally, each plant is managed by a separate director, who reports to a VP. There are some common systems/process across all three plants: HR, calibration, finance, etc.

Would appreciate your thoughts.

Ben Royal
Reynosa, Mexico
 
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RoxaneB

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#2
Well, Ben, it would appear that you have quite a sizeable project on your hands...and that you can see the pro's and con's for both of the options you presented. I've been "lucky" enough to have experienced both of the options you are now facing and what I have learned is to not rock the boat.

What is currently common stays common. What is currently different, remains different....for now. Get the processes established, formalized and under control. Then, welcome to the wonderful world of Continual Improvement. Pick the best from each processes and blend it all together to form a top-notch, awesome process shared by all three sites.

Afterall, where in ISO does is say that the processes have to be identical at multi-site organizations? As long as people are clearly able to distinguish that Process A belongs to Site Alpha and not Site Omega, where's the problem?

Okay...the one obviously problem is documentation out the wazoo (hmm...3rd time I've said that word today....). But why reinvent the wheel just now? Plants will have a difficult enough time documenting what they do and verifying that it's truly what they do. Toss in the variable of "let's create a common process" and you could face a mutiny.

Of course, you are much more in tune with your company's culture than we are here in the Cove. Would the people be really adverse to a sudden (and potentially massive) change to their processes?...or the creation of new process (i.e., what if they don't have a corrective action system)?

My thought process tells me that both of your options are the correct one...but in a particular order.

#1 - Figure out what the processes are per location...be they common or different.
#2 - Assess the processes - look for efficiency and effectivess.
#3 - Share the information.
#4 - Blend the processes to create "uber-processes"...if practical, feasible, realistic....maybe it makes good business sense to keep them separate...only your organization can decide this.

These steps will not happen over night. They require time to implement and analyze. But stick with what is done right now, find the gaps, address the gaps...build that foundation of a Management System first, before you start trying to improve it. :)
 
G

Greg B

#4
Ben,
I agree with Roxane (as usual)

Are your three plants in similar processing roles? For instance is one a production line for widgets and another a mining operation or raw material manufacturer? If so then you may need to have separate procedures for dealing with Non Conformances, Product storage etc etc. We have an overriding QM and each site has their sub manual (what they do, how they do it, responsibilities and authorities etc). Work Instructions and procedures are usually site driven although the Management review and a few others are Company wide.

We have a single certificate for our three Mines, one Manufacturing plant, an offsite, third party storage location for bulk Ship loading and an offsite third party manufacturer (who in turn both have their own ISO certificate).

We have a collective annual audit and the registrar takes four or five days and does the lot in one hit (they are located within 100 kilometres of each other). It is very taxing on both of us but it has been done this way for 15 years. We also have a separate half day audit conducted on our Marketing site which is located some 600 kilometres away.

Greg B
 
B
#5
Thanks for the responses. I am trying to clarify for myself an approach that seems reasonable and practical before I begin writing the project definition and approaching senior management. Your thoughts have helped tremendously.

For cncmarine: Two of the three plants provide subassemblies to corporate plants elsewhere; one does simple assembly, the other rather complex machining. The third plant assemblies a finished product unrelated to the other two plants.

I am speaking with lower level managers and team members one-on-one, stirring the pot, if you will. Hopefully consensus on an approach will begin emerge.

Also, the paper by Craig Cochran "System Planing and Process Control" has been very helpful.

Again, thank you for your time.
 
#6
Final follow-up

To all who responded this past summner:

Management has decided not to seek ISO registration, but we will use ISO as a model.

Again, thanks for your time and comments.
 
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