Seeking advice about what I have to do before we're ready for a certification audit



I am with a company that is just getting going. We are in the prototype phase right now with Process Sign Off (DDC) in April 2003. We will be going to full production in Feb 2004. After reading the quality objectives just handed to me, I see there is a timeline of 3rd quarter for implementation of TS2 (this is my job). IMO, I don't think this is feasable. Can I prove my quality system is functional without actually seeing it in use? My plan was to implement a rough system now(how I would like it to work),go for the preassessment, wait for production to start, audit the system then, make my changes and then hopefully I will be ready to go for the Big Audit.
I guess my question is, would I be in the right to go to the powers that be and say that implementation by the end of this year is an unrealistic goal?


Just to make things clear, I see a difference between implementation and registration. Could you have a system implemented by the end of 3QTR? Perhaps. Could you be registered by then? Probably not. My advice is to implement what you can and roll out the rest once you begin production. You can have everything you know/anticipate in the implementation, then make adjustments as the situation dictates.

Some registrars might register you before production, but I probably wouldn't even try.


They are looking for certification. Implementation won't be a problem. Sorry for the confusion. I was just wondering if anyone else out there was in this boat and wondering if I was being narrow minded about thinking that certification before production was not attainable.


I have a client in a similar situation right now. They were never certified, working on QS, when their building burned down last year. They lost just about everything.

I started setting up a TS 16949: 2002 system even before they had any equipment in place. They just started running their first part now (months behind the original schedule). Their focus is still on getting production up and running before we "fully" implement the system, but some parts, such as corrective action, PPAP, etc. have already caught on in the start-up phase.

They are currently not direct to the big-3, so there is not a ton of pressure for TS right now. Some of their customers have mandated by the end of 2003 and they are able to get waivers for now from other customers. I expect to be able to have them registered by March.

I am also working with another startup company. We just got their headquarters ISO 9001: 2000 registered for containerization and freight logistics management. They are planning on a start-up sequencing/assembly facility down south to be up and running the first quarter of 2004. GM mandated that they have 16949 within six months of production start.

I doubt any registrar would certify you without ANY production activities for full objective evidence. If you have not made a part, how can they review your inspection, material control, nonconformance, and other systems? If you can show that your prototype activities will operate the same as your normal production, you can probably get by. I have worked with many registrars/auditors that will look at a very limited production capacity for special circumstances like yours. Make sure you point all of this out to registrars when you first contact them and get their opinions.

Hope this helps,

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