Quality in Job Shop Environment

J

jgeisler

#1
I have been speaking with a company that for a number of years has been designing and manufacturing products for the aerospace industry in a "job shop" type of environment. They have very little documentation, no SPC, very little metrics or measurement, no formal quality system, etc. While they have been profitable and successful for a number of years, they are finding that the "job shop" method of operation is no longer adequate. They are looking to set up structures and documentation, measurement, formal corrective and preventive processes, etc. with the eventual goal of ISO 9001 certification. MY QUESTION--does anyone know of any literature, books, or have personal knowledge of implementing ISO in a short run, varied product, job shop environment? Any and all responses will be appreciated.

Thanks.

Jim G.
 
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Kevin Mader

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#2
Jim,

I believe that the size of the company matters little for Quality practices. In implementing ISO, long or short runs also matter little. What I have found to be the largest hurdle to get over is maintaining independence through out the System (ie inspection, auditing). With folks wearing the multiple hats, sometimes it is difficult to maintain independence (production is doing their own inspection). In this case, you need to tailor the program to show objectivity or adopt a process control program for example.

Regards,

Kevin

Back to the group....
 
D

Don Winton

#3
From your description, it sounds as if management is doing the right thing for the right reason. That is a fortunate start to which some of us would envy. Kevin brings up good points, to which I for the most part agree.

…have personal knowledge of implementing ISO in a short run, varied product, job shop environment?
My current firm is 25, previous firm was approximately 42. The current firm could best be described as 'production' in a 'job shop environment.' The product is the same, but manufacturing methodology is job shop based. Production (such as it is) is approximately 20 per week. I do not know if that qualifies me, but here goes.

When I first began this particular assignment, I realized immediately that one key was to establish a system that was not bureaucratic and 'paper' heavy. For this, I kept 4.2.2 as a guidepost, which states, in part:

For purposes of this American National Standard, the range and detail of the procedures that form part of the quality system depend on the complexity of the work, the methods used, and the skills and training needed by personnel involved in carrying out the activity.

I have kept paperwork to a minimum (i.e. I do not need paper to move product, I have no work orders, etc). Master technicians do not need work instructions for each and every operation they perform through the 'skills and training' portion. The 'range and detail' of my documents describe the operation as it exists, but does not elaborate further. For example, I do not describe 'how' to strip and prep a wire, I say "strip and prep wire." Master Machinists do not need to be told 'how' to make 150 widgets. Give them a drawing and say 'I need 150 of these.' Little things like that go a long way to employee and management 'buy in.'

Another thing I have emphasized is that ISO 900x says 'what to do' but does not say 'how to do it.' I explained from the onset that the standard was a 'slave,' we were the 'master' and incorporated this in all my training sessions. Every employee, from the President on down has had my ISO training so they understand that ISO was not going to be burdensome and cumbersome. Twenty percent of employees have had my one-week training session, including the two Vice Presidents.

I would also suggest that every employee be involved in the implementation phase. I asked the employees here which work instructions they needed or wanted, then asked that they write them based on their method of operation. I then translated that into the Quality Management System I was setting up. This way, they felt they were part of the system, not some system that was being thrust upon them. They now freely point out to me when an operation is lacking in documentation or when documentation is questionable because they are part of the system.

I would also one other piece of advise as far as ISO 900x goes: Do not read in what is not there. The system must be suited to your method of operation and add value to your organization. The example I usually cite is SPC. Most believe that because of 4.20, some sort of SPC is required and that simply is not true. If SPC adds value, use it. If not, do not.

Hope this helps.

production is doing their own inspection
Kevin, I am curious. Why is this a problem?

Regards,
Don

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Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
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#4
Don,

I knew you would catch that (hehehe)! There is no problem with production doing their own inspection. In fact, I would suggest that this be done (folks take responsibility for the quality of product) as folks building quality into a product is value added. There isn't any money in doing inspection I might add (unless that is your business). I made this statement based on the traditional paradigms that many fall prey too, including registrars.

Unless the organization exudes a "Quality Consciousness", in my experience the registrar looks towards traditional inspection scenarios (he makes it, she inspects it, hence, independence). The same is true and perhaps more clearly stated about auditing (although most of us agree objectivity is perhaps a more necessary item). So far, I would have to say that independence wins over objectivity with a registrar more times than not (perhaps it is easier to differentiate or prove). Without the sound Quality culture, I would advise towards giving the registrar what they are use to seeing, and perhaps even expecting. Yeah, not great advice and even a bit hipocritical of me I think, and perhaps I should recant. Maybe I'll claim a touch of the Western Philosophy flu? Bad me, bad me!

Regards,

Kevin

p.s. In our system, production is responsible for doing quality checks. Yee gads, even more hipocritical of me!
 
D

Don Winton

#5
There is no problem with production doing their own inspection.
I thought so, just checking.

…in my experience the registrar looks towards traditional inspection scenarios (he makes it, she inspects it, hence, independence).
I agree that registrars have this tendency. I would question the training and background of the assessor(s) in this case. A word search of ISO 900x finds the word 'independent' once (4.17) and 'independence' not at all.

With this tendency to look for independence in inspection, I explicitly gave employees the right to inspect their own work in the level two procedures for Clause 4.10. The level two documents for Clause 4.13 also give employees limited authority for the disposition of nonconforming product. I did this in accordance with Clause 4.2.2 (which, BTW, is probably the most overlooked and underutilized clause in the entire document).

Regards,
Don

------------------
Just the ramblings of an Old Wizard Warrior.

Check Out dWizard's Lair:
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Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
Admin
#6
Don,

Agreed. I find it funny that in some 'canned' working papers for internal audits I have seen wording like "Is inspection being performed by someone independent of the work being done?". Perhaps this may be where the "independence" thing comes into play? While the answer is either yes or no, neither more correct than the other, I believe the implied answer may lead one to think that independence is a necessary item. Again, this is reading between the lines, but how many folks reach this conclusion? Interesting. Assessors need to keep an open mind on this, but often this needs to be explained. I have done so with both what I consider good and bad registrars. Granted, no one person can know it all. Funny how you need to know the auditor and what level he or she operates on. This could play a vital role during an audit (which in itself is probably deserving of it own topic).

Regards,

Kevin

p.s. I have sent a few folks to check out the 'Circular Thinking Venn Diagram' at your page. Many positive comments.
 
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