Standardization of QMS (Quality Management System) Documentation Beneficial?

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#1
From: ISO Standards Discussion
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 08:19:59 -0500
Subject: Re: Standardization of QMS /Leben/Pfrang

From: "Pfrang, Doug"

> From: "Leben, Bob"
>
> We're a company with three manufacturing plants spread across
> N. America making the same finished product.
-----------------------snip---------------------------------
> My questions:
>
> - Is standardization of documentation really beneficial
> when each plant operates more or less independently?

Probably not. The resources and cultures of your various plants might allow standardization, but, unless the plants really want to standardize, my preferred strategy would be for each plant to offer its documentation for voluntary, as opposed to mandatory, use by the others. Mandating standardized documentation, except where there is a clear business need, often encounters strong resistance.

> - Will we be creating more work for ourselves in the name
> of consistency with no real payback?

Depends on your situation, but it sounds like you have answered your own question. If you cannot identify a real payback, then you will be standardizing merely for its own sake, which seems unnecessary.

> A team member feels strongly that we can not proceed without
> having the same registrar.
> - Should this be a concern?

Well, your plants obviously have existed for some time with the same registrar, so your colleague is probably in error. Try quantifying the costs & benefits, and then compare them.

> Looking for pro/con advice from distinguished listmembers...
> Bob Leben

Bottom line: If your plants really want to join together and standardize everything, and they'd get a big morale boost and cost savings by doing so, then they probably should. But if they aren't clamoring for it, and there is no compelling business reason to drive them in that direction, then the downside probably outweighs the upside.

-- Doug

******************************
From: ISO Standards Discussion
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 08:20:12 -0500
Subject: Re: Standardization of QMS /Leben/Hankwitz

Bob,

Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover enacted the Voluntary Standards Program back in 1921. It was Walter A. Shewhart and W. Edwards Deming that discovered and professed that quality has a direct relation to variation back in the 30's. The International Organization for Standardization was founded over 50 years ago as a result of the need to standardize around the world.

The need for standardization is no longer the question, it's how fast and effectively can we do it?

If any of your plants ever communicate with each other, it will be a lot easier to get your points across if you're all working off the same page (procedures). It will be extremely beneficial if you move people from plant to plant to address peaks in workload. They wouldn't have to be re-trained every time they walked in the door.

The amount of payback you get will be determined on how effectively and efficiently you integrate your systems. Combining them for the sake of combining them will produce minimal results. Combining them to create something better than you had before will reap untold benefits. The only guarantee in life is that everything you do will result in change. A change for the better or worse is up to you.

It looks like you have a great window of opportunity open for you. I'd go for it while you have the chance.

John
 
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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#2
From: ISO Standards Discussion
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 08:30:17 -0500
Subject: Re: Standardization of QMS /Leben/Humphries

Bob

> Leben's questions:
> - Is standardization of documentation really beneficial when each plant
> operates more or less independently? - Will we be creating more work
> for ourselves in the name of consistency with no real payback?

Standardisation of documentation can only follow standardisation of procedure, and this should only follow standardisation of policy. So the reality is that the Quality Policy and Manual SHOULD be standardised (and by this, I do not mean imposed on the junior parties, but mutually agreed by all), as it simply does not make sense for separate operations of one company, performing the same function, to operate under different policies.

That is the easy bit: it gets more difficult when it comes to procedures and work instructions. Some of these will clearly be the same: there is no logical reason for divisions to operate significantly different methods to manage (e.g.) Statistical Techniques. However, different divisions may have different resources and different skills, and the result is that many procedures may be different in practice - and rightly so - and the documentation needs to reflect this. Likewise, different divisions will have different operating resources (equipment, etc.) and the work instructions must be different.

I find the best questions to ask are:

a) Do the different procedures result in different outcomes (i.e., some
better, some not so good)?

b) Will allowing non-standardisation allow for greater initiative, and
therefore opportunity for learning and improvement?

c) Are there compelling reasons to standardise (other than "SLAGIATT":
seems like a good idea at the time)?

At the end of the day, standardise only where it makes sense to do so (in practice, that is, not on paper); otherwise, I think it's best to allow different approaches.

> A team member feels strongly that we can not proceed without having the
> same registrar -- Should this be a concern?

"Can not" is perhaps a little strong. In general, they are best done by the same company: it makes little sense for any other arrangement to be in place, in terms of cost, familiarity, etc. If your chosen registrar does not have offices in all your locations, fly them out at your cost, or change registrars. But it won't cripple the company, or make the quality system ineffective.

Best Regards
Edwin

**********************

From: ISO Standards Discussion
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 08:35:24 -0500
Subject: Re: Standardization of QMS /Leben/Summerfield

Bob:

The best way to answer the first part of your question is with a comparison. Whether I purchase a GM vehicle made in Oshawa (Canada), or Detroit (USA) I should be able to anticipate the same level of quality in the product; and the same level of service for it. This is more likely to occur through similar work procedures, standards, etc. Short answer: yes, your work procedures from the three plants should be similar. You'll also glean some side benefits from this (i.e. capability to centralize training, easier transference of personnel).

Having the same registrar can be handy in that they will have a more global view of your company, and thus be able to better help you achieve quality - NOTE - take my wording literally here. The under-current (through connotation lately) seems to label the registrar as the bad guys. If I've noticed it, then so have others. Good registrars are trying to help you achieve registration to the standard; and will HELP you with "suggestion" observations, on top of the non-conformance observations. That having been said, it only makes sense that a registrar could best help you if they had a more global view of your entire company. NOW - having said all that:

1. Can you afford the additional fees for travel and lodging for the distance audits?
2. Did you note the suggestions on another thread (last month) as to choosing a registrar?

Short answer: I would put a lot of effort into choosing the right registrar for my company and have them audit all three sites.

George
 

Tom W

Living the Dream...
#3
Just a point on this subject. I have developed systems similar to your situation. I have the same Level I(policies) and the same Level II (procedures) throughout the organization and then have Level III (work instructions) that are either company wide or plant specific. Just call the same work instruction at each facility the same (although the steps or equiment my be different) For example - designate each facility with a number and each department with a number then number the instructions (WI-XXXX) the first X would represent the facility, the second X would represent the department and the last two X's would be the number of the WI in that facility. WI-1223 would be a work instruction from your first facility in the quality department and it would be the 23rd instruction in the department. Just an idea. Having the same company policies and procedures allows you to operate under the same system yet maintain the diffrences in the work instructions.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#4
Seeking contemporary comments... Is Standardization of QMS (Quality Management System) Documentation Beneficial? :confused:

What about 'Mom and Pop' Shops vs. Multi-National / Multi-Location Companies?
 
M

Matt_M

#5
My organization is similar, we have a corporate office and 4 locations that support similar activities - not the same, but close. It became clear that to be the high performing organization we strive to be, the best approach was to standardize the requirements and the absolute minimum processes (most relate to human resources or finance). By allowing the work locations to develop and use their own procedures, etc. where possible, they have taken ownership and improved effectiveness and efficiency.

Yes, we all expect the same expectations when buying an item – it should be the same regardless of where it was made (GM Canada, Mexico, Europe, USA); but reality is no matter how standard the processes or machinery, there will be differences. If this is the case, the perhaps getting ownership and pride in workmanship/service is the next best thing to cloning.
 

RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#6
Marc said:
Seeking contemporary comments... Is Standardization of QMS (Quality Management System) Documentation Beneficial? :confused:

What about 'Mom and Pop' Shops vs. Multi-National / Multi-Location Companies?
If we are talking only about standardization within a company/organization, then yes, I see it to be beneficial. If we're talking world-wide acceptance of what a document should look like, we'll be arguing until we're blue in the face. :)

Standardizing how a document looks assists in personnel clearly knowing what is a document and what is not. What is controlled information valuable to the job/task...versus reference information. Equipment settings (controlled) versus shift change information (not controlled).

Standardizing documentation helps us sift through a document to find the information we are looking for. If all I want to know is a clear explanation of my responsibilities, I go to that section. If I want to know the revision history, I go to that document.
 
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