Would ISO 9001 help a small Machine Shop?

C

cbrockma

Guest
#1
Considering implementing some sort of ISO certified QMS for two reasons. #1 For the possibility that it may save us money. #2 To attract larger customers with higher volume orders.

Let me give you a vague overview of what we do. We are a machine shop that does work ranging from 1 part to 200 parts, generally. We build small parts for companies as well as large die sets. Most of our orders are for custom parts between the quantities of 1 and 10, though we do warehouse many blanket orders. We employ between 10-20 shop workers.

The limited quality program we currently have in place is as follows - some companies require inspections, so we provide inspection sheets for those companies. Our shop workers double check all of their work along way anyways, as a mistake is very costly.

My view on certified quality programs are that they are primarily for larger manufacturers running large numbers of similar parts (thousands).

Would an ISO certification help a shop like this and is it practical given the small custom order quantities?
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Administrator
#2
Re: Would ISO help?

Welcome to The Cove!

This question has been argued exhaustively. The simple answer is a maddening "Maybe."

ISO helps precisely to the extent that its structure is being profitably used, its principles are being accurately conformed with, the degree to which your customers demand it (some do, some don't) and IF you are not able to do the same thing "on your own" - without ISO.

Some people do it with Baldrige instead. The princples are the same, they just look less regimented than ISO.

ISO is a tool set. It's a management system structure, and the registration process is nothing more than offering customers some assurance that your management system supports making of satisfactory product. ISO does NOT promise quality, nor profits. That is up to the company to succeed with.

I hope this helps!
 

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Staff member
Forum Moderator
#3
Re: Would ISO help?

Considering implementing some sort of ISO certified QMS for two reasons. #1 For the possibility that it may save us money. #2 To attract larger customers with higher volume orders.

Let me give you a vague overview of what we do. We are a machine shop that does work ranging from 1 part to 200 parts, generally. We build small parts for companies as well as large die sets. Most of our orders are for custom parts between the quantities of 1 and 10, though we do warehouse many blanket orders. We employ between 10-20 shop workers.

The limited quality program we currently have in place is as follows - some companies require inspections, so we provide inspection sheets for those companies. Our shop workers double check all of their work along way anyways, as a mistake is very costly.

My view on certified quality programs are that they are primarily for larger manufacturers running large numbers of similar parts (thousands).

Would an ISO certification help a shop like this and is it practical given the small custom order quantities?
Welcome to the Cove from me to.

ISO will help any organization if it is utilized correctly. It does not matter if your organization has 10 or 10,000 employees. What it will help with is the following:

1. Structure within the Organization

2. Consistency within your processes

3. Improve efficiency (for some organizations)

4. The customer might be happier



These are just a few benefits that I have seen. There may be many more.

The most important factor for the System to work, is Top Management Support. Without this support you will fail.

Just my humble opinion.
 

Sorin

Quite Involved in Discussions
#5
Re: Would ISO help a small Machine Shop?

There are 2 sides (IMO) of ISO (or any other quality system - AST/TS/HACCP/etc).

1. Recognition and awareness
You are trumpeting that YOU have inplemented (successfuly) a recognized quality system and that the system is certified,

Did you have any customers asking if you are certified? Did you lost any contracts because you were not?
If you answered yes (especially to the 2nd question) than, maybe, you should seriously consider the implementation (and certification) of a QMS.

2.Improving your business.

Any (well) implemented QMS is a money making machine. It will lean and improve your business from any point of vue. But you must be bent on pursuing and exceeding customers expectations and drive quality from top to to bottom. Do you need to certify the implemented system? Maybe...that's up to you...and your customers o/c.
 

Wes Bucey

Consultant/Advisor
Forum Moderator
#6
Re: Would ISO help a small Machine Shop?

Let's discuss the situation from a purely pragmatic viewpoint.

Currently, your shop is a job shop. You probably have some customers who order a small number of parts for their foreseeable use. If you are still in business when the requirement comes up again, these guys ask you to quote it all over again and you may or may not treat it as a new part versus a follow-up order, depending how good your record-keeping and memories of staff may be. If you treat it as a new part, you are subjecting your organization to the extra cost of estimating production method and running time versus having old records about setup and running time to use as references.

There is a possibility you might like to land some medium to high volume parts from customers, but you have currently positioned yourself as a "small order machine shop" and customers do not consider you for larger orders.

Since you do not have a consistent system of inspection, evaluation and record-keeping for EVERY order, but are "reactive" to the customer's specific requirements, you don't have a baseline of operations to truly evaluate whether every order is profitable or if some orders result in subsidies for other orders. You most likely don't have any method for review of your processes to determine if there are opportunities for continual improvement in any and every process within your business, from the pure machining down to the marketing methods you use and even something as minor as the packing and shipping methods you use to deliver finished goods to customers.

How compliance and especially formal registration to ISO 9001:2000 (soon to be ISO 9001:2008) can benefit a small machine shop.

  1. Customers value a "known entity" in the supply chain because they can eliminate a lot of the soft costs of evaluating the entire organization for each order and they have confidence an organization will deliver consistent quality and service from one day to the next or even one year to the next. Being able to measure the attributes of a supplier against a Standard like ISO 9001 makes the initial evaluation much more efficient for a customer and may tip the scales in favor of new and additional purchases.
  2. Many of the most profitable customers have "blinders" on when evaluating new prospects for their supply chain and won't even consider a supplier who is not registered to a Standard. Having a bona fide registration opens new markets to a supplier.
  3. The intrinsic benefit of complying with or becoming registered to a Quality Management System Standard is that it imposes a "system" on a business that may have been chaotic, literally not knowing which orders returned the highest net profit and, therefore, not knowing which orders were really net losses to the organization. Usually, if the business is not chaotic, suppliers don't even begin to consider some way to "improve it." The danger of most chaotic systems is the owners and managers are so busy putting out fires, they don't have time to recognize how chaotic they are.
  4. Probably the biggest single value for any business in adopting and complying with an International Standard like ISO 9001 as the "template" for its Quality Management System is the imposition of a formal process of internal audit and management review. I can say without fear of contradiction most small businesses do NOT have a formal audit and management review process unless and until they are really complying with an International Standard for Quality Management Systems. Most companies have some variation of "management by walking around (MBWA)," but rarely is that MBWA consistent in recording observations and the management decisions made regarding those observations. Almost always, customers are impressed by smoothly working internal audit systems because it signals less potential cost for the customer in evaluating the value of a supplier to its supply chain.

The reason so many suppliers opt to register to an International Standard like ISO 9001 is that it directly relates to greater sales and greater profit. If it were really a cost burden, no supplier in his right mind would agree to pay the money for registration. The price of admission to some supply chains is formal registration to an International Standard, including, but not limited to

  • ISO 9001 (general business and manufacturing)
  • TS 16949 (automotive supply chain)
  • ISO 13485 (medical devices)
  • AS 9100 (aerospace and commercial aviation)

:topic:When I was running my own contract machining business, registration to a Standard was not as important as today, but "compliance" certainly helped us. Here are some old posts where I discuss some specifics of what made our business profitable and successful:
http://elsmar.com/Forums/showpost.php?p=105469&postcount=18
http://elsmar.com/Forums/showpost.php?p=105566&postcount=20
These on record keeping might be interesting:
http://elsmar.com/Forums/showpost.php?p=63324&postcount=7
http://elsmar.com/Forums/showpost.php?p=189005&postcount=5
 

bobdoering

Stop X-bar/R Madness!!
Trusted Information Resource
#7
Re: Would ISO help a small Machine Shop?

There are 2 sides (IMO) of ISO (or any other quality system - AST/TS/HACCP/etc).

1. Recognition and awareness
You are trumpeting that YOU have implemented (successfully) a recognized quality system and that the system is certified,

Did you have any customers asking if you are certified? Did you lost any contracts because you were not?
If you answered yes (especially to the 2nd question) than, maybe, you should seriously consider the implementation (and certification) of a QMS.

2.Improving your business.

Any (well) implemented QMS is a money making machine. It will lean and improve your business from any point of view. But you must be bent on pursuing and exceeding customers expectations and drive quality from top to to bottom. Do you need to certify the implemented system? Maybe...that's up to you...and your customers o/c.
As usual, the correct answer to any question is "It Depends".

Fact is, of the above two items, only one truly supports ISO certification, and that is the first one. Will the ISO9000 flag really get you more customers or more orders? If so, enough to pay for the "overhead" of maintaining the certification?

As far as improving your business, you are free to implement any of the ISO9000 elements on your own - without paying for a certification. Just go ahead and do it!:agree1:

Where ISO9000 becomes to most beneficial is where you are a quality professional that gets little cooperation for implementing improvements unless there is threat of a major or minor nonconformance looming. If you don't need that baseball bat to get things done, then you are lucky, and you really only need to ponder the marketing benefit.

Whoops - did I say that out loud? :cool:
 
C

cbrockma

Guest
#8
Re: Would ISO help a small Machine Shop?

I should have mentioned that we do use JobBoss. All of our records are kept electronically in there and we do have each job we have ever done printed out individually and numerically stored in binders for backup reference.

When we recieve an order for a part that we have made in the past we search for the customers part number, note what we charged, check what we paid for material, price out new material, if the material cost has not increased we make the part again no questions asked. If the material price has increased since the last time we made it we simply inform them of our price increase. We have electronically sorted inventory that we can access. All of the jobs we have done in the past have included prints from the customer or prints we have made for the customer. Those prints are attached to each of the numerically sorted jobs in binders as well as electronically sorted in folders on our computer.

Just background info. And we do use the old school time cards system for keeping track of hours spent on jobs.
 
C

cbrockma

Guest
#9
Re: Would ISO help a small Machine Shop?

Will the ISO9000 flag really get you more customers or more orders? If so, enough to pay for the "overhead" of maintaining the certification?

If you don't need that baseball bat to get things done, then you are lucky, and you really only need to ponder the marketing benefit.

Glad you understand where I am coming from. Things are going well in the shop and we do have room for expansion. We are organized and have very very minimal downtime, if any. Wondering if we will get any increased business after earning the "ISO" stamp. And also yes, if maintaining the certification is worth the additional business, if any, that it brings.
 

Randy

Quite Involved in Discussions
Involved in Discussions
#10
Re: Would ISO help a small Machine Shop?

Glad you understand where I am coming from. Things are going well in the shop and we do have room for expansion. We are organized and have very very minimal downtime, if any. Wondering if we will get any increased business after earning the "ISO" stamp. And also yes, if maintaining the certification is worth the additional business, if any, that it brings.

Then make your decision a business decision because it's not about product quality it's about process quality and it all boils down to MONEY! As I have said many times over "If money wasn't at the root of it, nobody would do ISO anything to get a warm fuzzy". If your long term return can exceed your short term investment do it. If you can't see any potential for increased profitability don't waste the time or resources. Investing in a managemnt system has to be a strategic business decision, your not purchasing a new copy machine, your betting on the future growth and financial health of your company.
 
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