Does QS9000 really improve the business results?



In my former job I was working at GE Plastics. As you may know GE hopes to become a 6 Sigma company this year. Every new employee starts within some months with the first training session. Why? Because GE believes (knows) that you can earn money with Quality. Not because a customer requires 6 Sigma. Of course not all the projects are a big succes but I have seen projects with impressive results.
Another company I've worked for was QS9000 certified but Quality wasn't a way of thinking and working. There were uncapable processes, very poor improvement programs without any coordination and CA's were done in the weeks before the external audit.
I know more QS9000 companies like the one I just described. QS9000 is meant to improve the business results so the automotive can go for lower prices. But until know I'm not impressed by the results of the QS9000 companies I know.
My opinion is that results only significantly will improve if the wish to become a "perfect" company comes out of the company and not because the customer tells you. Your opinion?
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QS-9000 is a customer requirement. It is typical that a company doing something just to comply with a 'requirement' will not see that as their issue. QS-9000, as with ISO9000, has nothing to do with 'quality'. The things required by QS-9000 (and ISO 9000, for that matter) are things that most 'good' companies do anyway in one form or another. If I twist your arm to make you do something you may do it but you probably won't do it enthuseastically or well.

It has been shown that ISO 9000 (with QS-9000 this is default) registrations are driven by a customer requirement. The companies then trumpet their ISO program, but let's face it - most companies do not embrace it. They do it because they have to.

In addition, I, like you, have seen QS registered companies which I know I certainly couldn't 'pass' in an audit. This includes, and may even be more applicable to, large multi-nationals. Auditors do let big things go 'unnoticed'. I can say I have been appalled at what I have seen some auditors let go by. Including such notables as UL (supposedly unimpeachable).
If you ae using the system for internal benefits rather than to get a customer, you will find savings in your bottom line, reduction in customer complaints, etc.

Paul Morrow

Here in the UK we've had exposure to ISO (and before that BS 5750) for many years. The consequence is that today in the UK many sectors cannot do business without it. (Tell that to your MD whenever they moan about form filling or red tape).
Inevitably, the vagaries of the economic climate make it impossible to say that QS or ISO or whatever, has improved our business by x%, although there are enough 'surveys' that show that ISO/QS saved this amount of $/£ (who completes those surveys?). However, for our part we found that the process of changing from ISO to QS required the identification of numerous performance measures (not just financial), and as we all know what gets measured gets managed.
Similarly with the the adoption of process'continuous improvement'we are able to clearly show process improvements. But business results? I suppose it can be argued that any process improvement - faster, more, less variation, etc., can ultimately improve business results
The bottom line (really)is since gaining QS has profitability improved? Is the business absolutely buzzing with work? Are we now discussing expansion plans and the need to recruit more staff to cope with the demand? Are we all now rich and ready to retire? Not yet.
Does QS 9000 really improve the business results? It can. But just walking around and taking an interest in your workforce can do that too, and its a lot easier.

Martijn TVM

Anybody who has no interrest in Quality at all must be a dinosaur by now. Since I am still a Student als well I was learned, the 90's were efficiency Y2K is Quality. It gets more and more important because the economic conjuctuur (sorry no translation available) increases the need for brand management and therefor demands 100% satisfying quality and that reflects in the aftermarket as well. This is what modern bean counters get taught (bean counters is the impression of finance consultants) nowaday's. So who knows maybe it will all be different in a couple of years. Or will it not?
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