TL 9000 Registration Audit - Notes from the Field - Telecommunications

J

jaimezepeda

#1
Next week, 9/27/04, begins our TL 9000 Registration Audit. I've been involved in this project since February of 2003. Efforts to achieve TL 9000 registration at our organization began 2 years prior to that.

It has been a slow process but I have learned a great deal about our organization and the implementation of a QMS in general. While TL registration was underway we also managed to migrate from ISO 9002:1994 to ISO 9001:2000.

The TL registration audit will last 2 weeks. We are registering 5 sites. The external auditor will visit 3. I work at HQ and its audit lasts 5 days. One other site is a 3 day audit and the third site is a 2 day audit. Two sites will not get visited but will have their internal audit records audited by our registrar.

Once the audit cycle is completed and we are awarded TL 9000 registration, we will be one of only 13 other organizations worldwide registered to our Product Category (TL requires the registration scope to include a product category). Last time I checked there were only a little over 500 organizations worldwide registered to TL 9000.

I had a hard time finding information on the web regarding specifics about TL 9000 registration. Currently there is only one "sanctioned" organization providing any public training for TL (including auditor training). I intend to post the results of our TL registration throughout the next 2 weeks or so. I hope to provide some information for others seeking TL 9000 registration.

Jaime
 
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Govind

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
Jaime,
I will be interested in your feedback. Sometime in the future we will go for TL9000 for our site. Two of our other sites are TL9000 registered. Iam also TL9000 certified Lead auditor.

What are you covering in TL9000: Hardware-Software-Service- Combination of these? Since you mentioned that there are only 12 organizations across world registered to your product category, do you have enough data in the QUEST Forum Site for Benchmarking? This will be a challenge.

If you are covering Software in your registration, you have some pretty good requirements in that category. ;)

Thanks for letting us know. Good luck with your TL9000 registration efforts.

Regards,
Govind.
 

Manoj Mathur

Quite Involved in Discussions
#3
Tl - 9000

We are manufacturing and supplying Copper Cathodes (LME Grade) and CCR (Continious Cast Rods) to our customers. CCR are mainly used to draw wires and further used for Telecommunication Industries.

My request is to guide me that Can we go for TL - 9000 for CCR Plant.

I searched QUEST Forum also but could not get clue.

Regards,

Manoj
 
J

jaimezepeda

#4
Govind said:
What are you covering in TL9000: Hardware-Software-Service- Combination of these? Since you mentioned that there are only 12 organizations across world registered to your product category, do you have enough data in the QUEST Forum Site for Benchmarking? This will be a challenge.
...
Regards,
Govind.
Govind,

We are registering to Service (V) only.

I went back and double checked the product category we are registering (7.7) and there are now 15 organizations registered.

Getting data from QuEST means paying $10K per year to be a QuEST member. We cannot justify that expenditure. I asked around for benchmarking data here in The Cove and elsewhere. I have had no luck getting it. Not even our customers that requested we seek TL registration will give us benchmarking data and they are QuEST members themselves. Maybe there is none.

I went through the Xcel auditor training earlier this year. I understand there is now a new lead auditor requirement. All I know is I have a certificate saying I passed the TL 9000 auditor class and it has a QuEST Forum seal on it so I am legal :)

I've decide to post a summary of each day of our audit to this thread. Lord knows that I could have used something like it.

Jaime
 
J

jaimezepeda

#5
Manoj Mathur said:
We are manufacturing and supplying Copper Cathodes (LME Grade) and CCR (Continious Cast Rods) to our customers. CCR are mainly used to draw wires and further used for Telecommunication Industries.

My request is to guide me that Can we go for TL - 9000 for CCR Plant.

I searched QUEST Forum also but could not get clue.

Regards,

Manoj
Manoj,

TL 9000 registration requires that you choose a product category from a table of categories published by QuEST. You can go to the QuEST Site and search for the latest product category table.

I am not familiar with the product you mentioned so I cannot help you determine your product category.

Getting started on TL 9000 was challenging for us. There is not much out there in the area of training. QuEST works with only one organization to provide training. When I first tried to attend a course it was canceled twice because they did not have enough participants. I eventually got to take the training course.

I noticed you are in India so it may be difficult for you to find training.

Go to this link and search for a registered organization close to you or associated with you:
http://tl9000rrs.org/QuEST/basicSearch.jsp
Maybe that would be a good place for you to get started.

Jaime
 
J

jaimezepeda

#6
TL 9000 Registration Audit - Last day before the audit

It is the last business day before the registration audit begins on Monday.

I have closed all the CARs that can be closed prior to the audit. I distributed the audit plan submitted by the external auditor (a detailed plan I must admit). I have arranged for a conference room to conduct the opening meeting and a separate work area for the external auditor to use throughout the week. There is no need for spcecial safety equipment for the external auditor (thank goodness).

Several folks came by my desk to ask how they could be prepared for the audit. Among these folks were 2 vice presidents, several managers and our organization's president. It is encouraging to see folks recognize the importance of this addition to our QMS.

I have gathered what I feel I will need to be prepared when the external auditor arrives Monday morning:
- TL 9000 Requirements Handbook.
- Printed copy of our quality manual.
- Records of our measurement submissions to QuEST. We are only required to submit the common TL measurements due to the nature of our registration. They are:
  1. On-time delivery
  2. Number of problems report
  3. Problem report fix response time
  4. Overdue problem report fix response time
- Internal audit reports for sites that will not be visited by the external auditor but included in the registration scope. Our registrar will use these reports to audit those sites not visited by the external auditor.
- A legal pad.

I have no plans for this weekend except watch The Discovery Channel.

Jaime
 
J

jaimezepeda

#7
TL 9000 Registration Audit - Day 1

The audit began with a great opening meeting. Our external auditor (EA) explained in detail the scope of the audit. EA detailed how his job is to audit the system and not the performance of the staff. He also explained the differences between a major and minor nonconformance. This has confused many in the past.

Something new from our registrar is that it now requires proof of root cause analysis to be submitted with each corrective action. EA explained how a form will be supplied for us to fill out regarding root cause analysis. I was pleased to hear this as many times our staff fill out CARs with "trained employee" as a corrective action and no root cause analysis. It will definitely help us to dig deep when determining why sometimes things go haywire.

This is definitely a process oriented audit. We began with clause 7.1 and are working our way through through the rest of clause 7 (product realization). This is good for me as this first involves the real work that goes on over here. EA will be interviewing sales staff and production staff for the first couple of days.

I did come across a small surprise. TL clause 7.1.C.3 - Disaster Recovery states that the "organization" is to have measures in place to ensure business continuity. I thought this meant the place where I work should have some sort of disaster recovery plan. EA interpreted it to mean "measures to ensure the business continuity of the CUSTOMER." This is a real downfall of TL. Since TL was originally written with the Bell companies in mind (SBC, Verizon, etc.), much of the wording was refers to the customer as the organization. The TL standard is written from the customer's perspective rather than the organization's (anyone seeking registration) perspective. There really is a need for QuEST to update all the wording in TL 9000 to be consistent with ISO 9K2K wording and definitions. Fortunately we have measures in place to ensure our own business continuity and offer related services to our customers. So, we were covered either way.

At the end of the end of the day the EA and I had a recap of the day's findings and thus far there have been zero nonconformances. The EA did explain he wanted to research a couple of findings that may end up as observations. His concern is that we may be able to exclude a couple of clauses due to the nature of our business. We are a wholesale distributor.

Altogether it is proving to be a pleasant experience. Ooops! Did I mean that?:eek:

I am out of here for today. I am going to the gym to exercise and then I'm headed home to watch American Choppers on The Discovery Channel.

Jaime
 

Govind

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
#8
jaimezepeda said:
I did come across a small surprise. TL clause 7.1.C.3 - Disaster Recovery states that the "organization" is to have measures in place to ensure business continuity. I thought this meant the place where I work should have some sort of disaster recovery plan. EA interpreted it to mean "measures to ensure the business continuity of the CUSTOMER." This is a real downfall of TL. Since TL was originally written with the Bell companies in mind (SBC, Verizon, etc.), much of the wording was refers to the customer as the organization. The TL standard is written from the customer's perspective rather than the organization's (anyone seeking registration) perspective. There really is a need for QuEST to update all the wording in TL 9000 to be consistent with ISO 9K2K wording and definitions. Fortunately we have measures in place to ensure our own business continuity and offer related services to our customers. So, we were covered either way.Jaime
Jaime,
ISO 9000 series is the foundation for TL9000 standards. TL9000 cannot have separate definition for “organization”. It is same as ISO 9000, Organization means your “organization”. Not SBC, or Bell or Verizon.

TL clause 7.1.C.3 – It is your organization that should have disaster recovery plan in place. Your interpretation is correct. Of course , your plan to recover from the disaster ensures continuity of business with your customers.
Ref: The TL9000 Guide for Auditors, Mark Kempf, ASQ Press, Page: 32,116 The author surprisingly has referred to your own question and clarified as “your organization” and not Customer’s.

I have problem with your wording: "measures to ensure the business continuity of the CUSTOMER." Your customer may or may not continue their business after the disaster due to other reasons. However, the context here is, you were able to recover from the disaster and prove your readiness and availability to continue with the business with your customers. I would rather prefer "measures to ensure the business continuity with the CUSTOMER." Semantics??

Regards,
Govind.
 
Last edited:

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#9
Govind's interpretation seems much more logical to me than your understanding and relating of what the auditor said.

First, foremost, and always, the business of the organization (the one which pays you) is to stay in business and be profitable.

Disaster recovery may include provision to help customer continue doing business during your organization's disaster recovery.

When I was a contract manufacturer of machined products, we had multiple recovery plans, including, but not limited to:
  • offsite storage of one or two months requirements of products for customers
  • contingent space which could be rented on month to month lease if our own premises were unusable,
  • lease or borrowing of identical machine tools or machine tool time at other machine shops
  • backup or alternate supplies of raw materials and tooling
  • offsite storage of duplicate records including computer programs for machine tools
  • replacement and training of employees
  • business interruption insurance
We made all this preparedness part of our sales pitch and were able to charge a higher price for that "insurance and assurance" we gave the customer.

Above all, you have to make an economic case and justification for the cost of disaster preparedness. Without a disaster, we were able to "instantly" ramp up and advance delivery (from inventory) or ramp up production (by implementing contingency plans for space, machinery, and personnel.) Above all, we created a "brand awareness" of super-competence. In ten years, we never missed a delivery date. (We never promised something beyond our capability or capacity. We refused to be "bullied" into making a promised date we couldn't keep. Our pitch was similar to Ron Popeil's for his rotisserie cooker - "set it [the date] and forget it.")

We gave customer proactive notices that production was on target, that shipment was made from our dock, often even that shipment was received on his dock before the customer's internal process could tell him the shipment had arrived. All this attention to detail reinforced the concept we WERE prepared for any contingency.
 
J

jaimezepeda

#10
Govind said:
TL clause 7.1.C.3 – It is your organization that should have disaster recovery plan in place. Your interpretation is correct. Of course , your plan to recover from the disaster ensures continuity of business with your customers.
Ref: The TL9000 Guide for Auditors, Mark Kempf, ASQ Press, Page: 32. The author surprisingly has referred to your own question and clarified as “your organization” and not Customer’s.

I have problem with your wording: "measures to ensure the business continuity of the CUSTOMER."...
Govind.
Govind,

Thanks for your reply and the reference to the interpretation of 7.1.C.3.

Without going too deep into this subject, my interpretation is consistent with yours and Kempf's. Again, the problem here is that QuEST did not completely upgrade its requirements' wording as the TL standard has evolved.

We, my employer, has in place plans to recover from an event that could hinder the continuity of business. It is my understanding that the Bells wanted to purchase material in a consistent and reliable manner, thus the existence of TL 9000. It only makes sense that the Bells ensure their suppliers will continue to provide material always.

Now, for the EA's interpretation. He wanted to know how we would ensure that our customers, the Bells, would be able to recover from a disaster with our help. That was what he asked for. It helped that we have customers in Florida and Alabama. We have made considerable efforts to help them recover from the last 4 hurricanes. We had plenty of advance warning about the hurricanes so that also helped. Without an actual disastrous event, a disaster recovery plan is quite academic. I know one can conduct drills and the like but after all, the plan is designed to undo the unexpected (this past 4 hurricanes were not exactly "unexpected"). That can be very difficult.

What it boils down to is that we were able to satisfy the EA. I realize that is the game we must play to achieve registration and comply with customer's requirements. However, we do have measures to satisfy the ACTUAL INTENT of 7.1.C.3 of TL 9000. So, I am not worried.

Jaime
 
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