TL9000 Implementation - Has anyone out there been through TL9000 Implementation?

R

Radar Q - 2007

#1
My company is currently ISO9001:2000, and since we are one of the top telecommincations equipment designer/manufacturers, the desire is to become TL9000 certified.

Has anyone out there been through this and can you provide pointers or highlights to critical processes to implement?:bonk: :frust:
 
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P

pldey42

#2
Re: TL9000 Implmentation - Has anyone out there been through this?

Yes. I spent the last several years in the USA consulting in TL 9000 implementations to several of the major telcos.

TL 9000 addds detailed requirements to those of ISO 9001, elaborating upon them for the purposes of supplying equipment and services to telecom service providers. They're particularly concerned with 24/7 availability, on-time delivery, low cost maintenance and a stream of new products that meet their evolving needs.

Some requirements are really rather good. For example you have to do decent project plans, estimate software schedules and effort properly -- and you even have to trace requirements through design to test (that's one of the hardest for most companies to do). You'll want to start with a detailed gap analysis, and I mean detailed. Do it to release 4.0 which is due to be published shortly.

You will also have to measure certain metrics, and report them to the QuEST Forum (annonymously) for benchmarking. This is the big, big contribution TL 9000 makes to quality: nobody tried to benchmark an entire industry before.

Customers will ask you what their values are, and you'll have to tell them. Measurements include on-time delivery, problem reports per month, fix response time, return rates, system outage and service quality. Precisely what you measure is determined by your "product category": there are about 100, distinguishing between products like switches, antennae, cable, line cards, routers, subassemblies and so on. The measurements are highly defined and their collection, analysis and reporting processes are audited to make sure everyone plays fair. You must have 3 months of data, validated by QuEST Forum, for your initial audit: no data, no certificate.

Metrics reporting is annonymous, via a secure website. You and your customers know your figures, and everyone knows (from reports on the website) what the average, best and worst are, by product category.

The measurements system can take some while to construct since such data are often distributed around a company in various databases -- and there are several versions for example of on-time delivery, and they're all wrong! (I knew one guy who spent a full two months wandering around his multi-national company looking for database owners who were prepared to write and run the queries he needed.) Do start the metrics part of the programme early, it takes most companies three to six months to do it. Don't bother looking for software tools to do it, there aren't any. (I tried to write one, but every company has a different way of storing data and different business rules that need to be applied to measure it in compliance with the definitions.)

To see the data and benchmark against competitors you'll need to join QuEST Forum (www.questforum.org) and pay them $10k per year. The upside is you get to go to meetings, influence upcoming versions of the standard, and network with customers and suppliers who are decision takers.

You'll want to train your auditors in TL 9000. Especially, note that registrar auditors are trained to look for the measurements, and make sure they are not only analysed and reported, but that there is management action if they are trending the wrong way: no action = non-conformity. Taht's consistent with Q Forum's intent of driving real performance improvement into the supply chain.

Registrars have to be specifically qualified to audit TL 9000. There's a special class and test, and not everyone passes: telecom is a broad, complex industry and you have to know it quite well to be an effective auditor. The registrar will give you an ISO 9001 certificate and another for TL 9000: it's a formality, they'll audit to both standards at the same time and since TL is a superset of ISO that's not hard. TL 9000 audits take longer than ISO 9001 audits because there's more to cover. Registrars are given guidance on minimum audit days, depending on headcount.

Most companies that do TL 900 find it helps them improve performance. Its guidance is specific to telecom, not abstract, and the measurements are invaluable. SBC for example report that they see significant improvements in measured supplier performance as a result. Another example: at a Q Forum Best Practices conference, Nortel and one of their contract manufacturers (Solectron I think it was) said it had helped them align two global organisations to increase their joint effectiveness, because the measurement definitions enabled them to get on with improving performance instead of arguing about how to measure it. BT and other European telcos also are interested in TL 9000 because of the standardised measurements, which enable benchmarking across the supply chain.

(BTW Until I returned to England for personal reasons, I worked with Excel, the leading US TL 9000 training and consultancy provider, and wrote the electronic training class on auditing measurements that QuEST Forum mandate registrars to study and pass before auditing to TL 9000.)

Hope this helps - do ask questions if you need to either off-line or here.
Patrick
 
J

jaimezepeda

#3
Re: TL9000 Implmentation - Has anyone out there been through this?

pldey42 said:
To see the data and benchmark against competitors you'll need to join QuEST Forum (www.questforum.org) and pay them $10k per year. The upside is you get to go to meetings, influence upcoming versions of the standard, and network with customers and suppliers who are decision takers.

Patrick
Fortunately, this is no longer true. Many organizations registered to TL 9000 were not QuEST forum members and benchmarking their submitted data was therefore not possible. QuEST now makes data for each organization's registered product category availale upon registration. The entire benchmark data set is available for QuEST Forum members only.

My organization has been registered since January of 2005. We began receiving benchmark data for our registered product categories late in 2005.

Here is an excerpt from the website where the data is submitted (http://qfportal.utdallas.edu)
QuEST Forum said:
2005 Annual Data Now Available (2006-04-07)

The average performance of all TL 9000 certified registrations for the year 2005 is now available to all TL 9000 registrations.

TL 9000 requirement 3.5.3 g) in the TL 9000 Measurements Handbook, Release 3.5, requires organizations to 'compare internal measurements to the available industry statistics and take steps to improve product and processes as appropriate.' The QuEST Forum provides this data to assist TL 9000 registrants in meeting this requirement. There is no additional charge for accessing the data. The data are derived from all certified registrations submitting data in the year 2005. The collective inputs for the year are averaged and a single result presented for each measurement in each product category as appropriate. The QuEST Forum requires that at least three companies submit data for a measurement before an output measurement is published. In some categories, fewer than three companies submitted data in 2005 and the average data is not available.

Accessing the data is easy. Click on TL 9000 RMS then click on Maintain TL 9000 Registrations. Select a Registration then click on Profiles. Select View Private Registration Profile then click on a Product Category to see the annual data for that product category.

Also shown with the average value is the number of data points used in the calculation. The number of data points represents the number of registration-months that submitted data. A registration-month is one data point from a single registration for one month. Some registrations make multiple data submissions in the same product categories in a month. These multiple submissions are combined into one and count as one registration-month in the data points column. The number of data points does not represent the number of products in the field.
Jaime
 
P

pldey42

#4
Re: TL9000 Implmentation - Has anyone out there been through this?

jaimezepeda said:
Fortunately, this is no longer true. Many organizations registered to TL 9000 were not QuEST forum members and benchmarking their submitted data was therefore not possible. QuEST now makes data for each organization's registered product category availale upon registration. The entire benchmark data set is available for QuEST Forum members only.

My organization has been registered since January of 2005. We began receiving benchmark data for our registered product categories late in 2005.
Oh, the joys of working with a bleeding edge standard!

Thanks for the update. As you no doubt know this has been an annoyance for quite some time and I'm glad it has at last been resolved.

Your response reminds me: now that I have left Excel, I no longer have to tread the party line. (Excel are a "sanctioned" training provider which means they have to say what QuEST Forum tell them to say with regard to TL 9000 interpretation.)

So, I can reveal that ... well, jaimezepeda already revealed that ... not all companies choose to join QuEST Forum. From memory (and I'm beginning to see how reliable that isn't ;-) most of the contract manufacturers that register to TL 9000 decline to be members. Why? Because their performance is generally very, very good and the measurements are too crude to help them improve.

(Which says a lot about the performance of the rest of the telecom supply chain. For example, a year or two ago 85% of deliveries on time was regarded as good in some product categories, and some software companies have learned from the benchmark data that, yes, fixes actually _can_ be deliered in less than six months -- even if the stuff is complicated!)

There are other Registered companies that also find the measurements, erm, less than helpful. For example, the software measurements require trends on the three "dominant" releases of the software, meaning, the three versions of your program that most customers are using in the field. While that helps purchasers, some companies remark that for the purposes of improving the product, defect rates on the most recent release are most useful because statistics on the dominant releases will be skewed by bugs that are fixed in the most recent release. The measurements are being revised right now, with especial focus on the software metrics, partly for this reason.

If you _do_ choose to join the Forum, don't be naive about the influence you'll have over the standard. The discussions are good, robust sometimes, you're learning from some of the best quality professionals in the world (Making phone systems work 24/7, delivering dial tone all of the time including on Mother's Day, now that's a class act!) and I've seen networking have a significant impact on business deals.

But the Service Providers didn't get big by being nice. So sometimes, despite the fact there's a voting system for the content of the TL 9000 standard and the suppliers outnumber the service providers by a large margin (each company gets one vote), the vote sometimes goes mysteriously in the service providers' favour even though they're outnumbered. Go figure. In the bar!

Patrick
 
J

jaimezepeda

#5
Re: TL9000 Implmentation - Has anyone out there been through this?

Patrick,

Thanks for your "insider" input. TL 9000 was a total mystery to us when we went through our registration. Our registrar had only done one TL registration prior to ours. Their TL 9000 auditor pool was very limited. However, the one auditor they sent has turned out to be a great asset.

I have to say that Excel's implemention and auditing courses were most helpful. It was a bit difficult to get enough people signed up for the classes though.

Jaime
 
P

pldey42

#6
Re: TL9000 Implmentation - Has anyone out there been through this?

jaimezepeda said:
Patrick,

Thanks for your "insider" input.

Jaime
My pleasure. I just thought of another thing to mention.

TL 9000 was actually a way for American telcos to reduce their audit costs.

Prior to TL 9000 each telco had its own QMS and would audit suppliers to it. For suppliers that was a pain because each one was a bit different (they were all based on the old Bell system but diverged since the breakup), and for the telcos that was an expense.

So, they "downsized" their supplier audit teams to virtually zero, added the absolutely vital requirements and a dose of metrics from their own QMS's onto ISO 9001 and called it "TL 9000" -- and (quietly) passed the costs of audits onto their suppliers!

It's an open secret: Verizon published a paper on it (somewhere on the Q Forum website) and reported they saved millions in audit costs.

Trivia time: "TL" means "telecommunications leadership" and it's a mystery why they called it TL 9000 and not TL 9001.

Patrick
 
A

Amaterasu

#7
Re: TL9000 Implementation - Has anyone out there been through this?

As for the question regarding the highlights or critical points, it will depend on the registar's auditors.

Since your company is already ISO 9001 certified, they will assume that the QMS is mature enough and will be focusing more on the critical process related to ESD, preventive maintenance and calibration, customer communications, disaster recovery planning and advanced quality training.

Regards.


:tg:
 
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