Can Boeing Ship a Lengthy-Time Period Approach to their 737 MAX Issues?

Dr. IJ Arora

Boeing is within the highlight once more with its 737 MAX planes, that have already had a deeply bothered historical past. Buyer center of attention (which is clause 5.1.2 of ISO 9001 and AS9100) turns out to were misplaced someplace.

I’ve learn a number of contemporary articles on those incidents in addition to Peter Robison’s ebook Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing, all of which level to a worsening scenario for Boeing. The general public belief of this nice American corporate, which has all the time been dedicated to top-class engineering and depended on merchandise, is converting from one among admire to one among warning. Vacationers are questioning, “Must I fly in a 737 MAX?”

Boeing and the aerospace {industry} normally have excessive requirements for high quality and product protection. On this article, I postulate whether or not an organization’s high quality control machine can ensure that not anything is going fallacious for patrons. Can it make certain perfection? If no longer, what are the choices—and why have one in any respect?

What took place and who’s accountable?

For the ones no longer acquainted with the 737 MAX incident in January, in a while after an Alaska Airways flight departed from Portland, Oregon, a cabin door panel blew off. As investigations are nonetheless ongoing the reasons have no longer but been totally decided. Boeing additionally had a tool factor at the 737 MAX, ensuing within the crash of a Lion Air flight in 2018 and an Ethiopian Airlines flight in 2019.

Right here in the US, the Federal Aviation Management (FAA) performs a vital function in offering laws to make sure flight protection, and likewise supplies oversight of plane producers, airports, and upkeep suppliers. On the subject of the Alaska Airways flight, it kind of feels that the FAA didn’t uphold its depended on function. The FAA’s a large number of assessments and balances, maximum of that are meant to concentrate on buyer protection, had been like aligning holes in slices of Swiss cheese. It’ll be fascinating to peer what adjustments this incident brings about on the FAA. On the other hand, can regulatory oversight ensure protection of flight?

The AS9100 same old, which is restricted to the aerospace {industry}, isn’t the brainchild of a unmarried entity, however fairly a collaborative effort pushed by means of two key gamers:

  1. The World Aerospace High quality Staff (IAQG). This global group brings in combination representatives from aviation, house, and protection firms around the Americas, Asia/Pacific, and Europe. They actively take part in growing, keeping up, and updating the AS9100 same old.
  2. Standardization organizations. Those our bodies, such because the Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE) within the Americas and the Ecu Affiliation of Aerospace Industries (now the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Affiliation of Europe), formally submit and distribute the usual.

You will need to word that AS9100 builds upon the root of the extra normal ISO 9001 high quality control machine same old. Whilst ISO 9001 lays the fundamental framework, the IAQG provides industry-specific necessities a very powerful for making sure protection and high quality within the aerospace area.

Along with the producer and the FAA, the landlord/lessor of the plane additionally performs a task in making sure the aircraft is correctly maintained. This comprises settling on a reliable upkeep supplier, hiring competent engineers, and having powerful processes in position. With such a lot of other stakeholders, can blame be attributed to only one when injuries occur? Moreover, must blame be the secret? Possibly no longer! You will need to word that the machine is applied to toughen every consumer and that each one stakeholders within the worth chain play their phase as effectively.

Audits, inspections, and control methods: Are those the answer?

In the back of each tragedy, casualty, and mishap is a series of comparable occasions. The instant suspect when these kind of vital screw ups happen are deficient inspection protocols, possibly even the feared “human error.” On the other hand, this can be the low-hanging fruit and a deeper dive would possibly establish different causal elements, akin to asking if the standard audit failed.

What’s the distinction between an audit and an inspection? Can they change every different or are inspections by myself sufficient? The straightforward resolution is not any! Each are wanted because of elementary variations in method. Audits take a look at the processes to make sure the control machine produces conforming services and products. An effective control machine should come with the next, to call a couple of:

  • It should be well-defined, beginning with the “as-is” state of the machine.
  • Dangers should be known (clause 6.1) according to the context of the group (clauses 4.1 and four.2).
  • A transparent definition of the product should be known.
  • Efficient audits and periodic evaluation should be undertaken by means of control.
  • Outsourced processes should be managed.

Inspections play the most important function by means of figuring out defects previous to unlock, thus protective no longer most effective the buyer/buyer/consumer/warfighter, and so forth., but in addition the recognition of the group itself. With that stated, inspections don’t give a contribution to power development as a result of they center of attention on fixes versus long-term answers. In impact, they don’t in reality upload worth for the reason that group has already incurred the price of generating the faulty phase or product. The creators of the Toyota Manufacturing Machine (i.e., lean) got here up with the Andon procedure to catch a defect as early within the procedure as imaginable as a way to repair it sooner than the issue went too a ways down the road.

Control methods aren’t only a choice of paperwork. To serve as correctly, they require dedication in any respect ranges of the group, together with height control offering the wanted assets. It takes time to construct a tradition of high quality wherein shortcuts are have shyed away from and there’s no worry of talking up. Buyer center of attention should no longer be compromised. As an example, unlock of conforming product must cross throughout the procedure particularly referred to as out by means of clause 8.6; any interference by means of height control to truncate this procedure would suggest the lack of buyer center of attention. Is that this an opportunity? Possibly, however the investigation should expose the reality. On this case of the Alaska Air incident each the Boeing consumers and Boeing as an organization have suffered. It’s my hope that investigators will establish all failed portions of the machine from every accountable birthday celebration. Those would possibly come with no longer most effective failed inspections, but in addition suboptimal processes. This may finally end up taking us again to an insufficient high quality control machine.

High quality control methods: Can they ship?

Given the above, can a correctly designed and well-audited control machine (supported by means of excellent inspection tactics to assist make certain conforming product) ensure that not anything is going fallacious with a company’s output? My opinion is that no person can ensure this utterly. On the other hand, possibility can indisputably be very much decreased when the entirety is applied effectively. This comprises the educational of team of workers, which correlates strongly to competence; sadly, that is ceaselessly the primary price range to get minimize when assets are scarce.

When high-visibility incidents like those happen, it can be forgotten that airplanes stay the statistically most secure mode of go back and forth on earth. That is essentially because of powerful high quality control methods, well-adopted regulatory frameworks, and common oversight. People play the most important function within the good fortune of the control machine, from the dedication on the height to the buy-in by means of the body of workers (clause 5 to clauses 7.1.3, 7.1.4, and 10.3). Taken in combination, this is helping create an atmosphere the place high quality can flourish inside the group.

Boeing could also be doing so much accurately, and but the consequences may well be unacceptable relying at the efficiency of outsourced processes (clauses 8.41/8.4.2/8.4.3). In spite of everything, the fuselages for the 737 MAX are made by means of Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. Spirit AeroSystems is positioned in Wichita, Kansas; as soon as those fuselages are manufactured, they’re shipped by means of rail to Boeing’s facility in Renton, Washington. Due to this fact, no longer most effective is a significant part of the 737 MAX outsourced, however the delivery and preservation of product (clause 8.5.4) additionally may just give a contribution to the product’s nonconformity. General, Boeing stays chargeable for all the provide chain (clause 4.3), with their legal responsibility to “make certain conformity of its services and products and the enhancement of shopper delight.”

Even with a cast high quality control machine in position, this or identical screw ups can happen. There’s no technique to guarantee the general public of 100-percent acting (i.e., highest) output. The worry within the minds of air vacationers is legitimate and can stay so till an exhaustive root motive research of this factor is carried out and the ones root reasons are resolved. The present occasions beg the query: Did Boeing make stronger their control machine after the Ethiopian Airways 737 MAX crash? If that they had bent to the oars and long gone deep into their evaluation to discover and completely repair the holes of their control machine, this tournament would possibly by no means have happened. Floor corrections, or what some organizations name “repair -it” answers, most effective take away the indications. The foundation reasons should be addressed and resolved (clause 10.2.1). There aren’t any shortcuts to high quality.

In conclusion

It has taken years for air vacationers to really feel protected and unconcerned about air protection. I go back and forth so much the world over, and ceaselessly select an airline according to their carrier and luxury, however now I (in addition to the wider public, I might consider) want to imagine which plane will delivery us. This can be a new worry about product protection that has its genesis in Boeing no longer working its control machine successfully and shedding buyer center of attention. The worst is the erosion of public self assurance in federal oversight and its intent to stay the client protected.

I’ve spent my lifestyles learning identical complicated issues and main groups in serving to organizations in finding long-term sustainable answers. This calls for daring and dynamic management (clauses 5.3 and 5.1) for leaders to plot and enforce alternate. Appreciating and accepting dangers (i.e., protecting the client in center of attention) and transferring ahead is integral to true management. Ethics continues to be no longer a clause of ISO 9001 and AS9100, however moral management is ready doing the proper factor for all stakeholders.

In seminars at which I provide, I ceaselessly ask senior managers: “When you have a decision between following the process and/or doing the proper factor, what would you do as a pace-setter?” The solution—I’m hoping—is to do the proper factor always. However then, hope isn’t a plan. Air protection can’t be according to hope and religion. Boeing wishes the management to revamp their machine if they’re to carry the general public consider again for this nice American corporate.

Concerning the writer

Dr. IJ Arora, Ph.D., is the President and CEO of QMII. He serves as a workforce chief for consulting, advising, auditing, and coaching relating to control methods. He has carried out many lessons for the US Coast Guard and is a well-liked speaker at a number of universities and boards on control methods. Arora is a Grasp Mariner who holds a Ph.D., a grasp’s level, an MBA, and has a 34-year file of accomplishment within the army, mercantile marine, and civilian {industry}.

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Controlling Sub-Sea Infrastructure


The recent implosion of the 
Titan, a sub-sea submersible used for taking elite, high-paying tourists to see the wreck of the Titanic, brought the safety protocols of both vessels into focus. There were no statutory requirements for regulating the Titan and neither were there any when the Titanic sank in 1912! As a reactive measure, the maritime community came up with the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention soon after the sinking of the Titanic. Ironically, after the Titan submersible imploded, we have come to realize there are no requirements covering this vessel. Perhaps with time, the involved counties will react.

The question is, why was nothing done proactively? Tourists go up in hot air balloons all the time. Is there any statutory requirement that these tourist companies must meet? Is there even a requirement to have a management system in place so that these companies work systematically, appreciate the risks in the context of the organization, and plan their operations keeping risks in mind? It is true that entrepreneurs do not like regulations and consider requirements a hindrance in a free business environment. And yet the Titanic, which was declared to be “unsinkable,” did, in fact, sink! In the United States, the domestic towing vessel industry functioned without statutory requirements until recently. The industry avoided regulation, but tragedies occurred, and now the industry is regulated under the U.S. regulatory framework. A process-based management system is the best systematic structure to produce conforming products and services, ensure continual improvement, and implement the statutory requirements if available.

The intent of this article is to proactively start a discussion on the need for regulating sub-sea infrastructure to reduce its affect on the marine transportation system. The phrase “sub-sea infrastructure” refers to equipment and technology placed on or anchored to the ocean floor. This infrastructure may include, but is not limited to, cables for telecommunication, cables for power transmission, pipelines for transmission of fluids, and other stationary equipment for scientific research.

The growth of sub-sea infrastructure is a global phenomenon. As an example, is in the interest of all nations, and particularly here in United States, to promote wind farms, which are a source of renewable energy. When these wind farms are placed in selected geographical locations along the continental shelf, they need sub-sea cables. But are there any laws controlling the systematic development of the industry to enable an effective marine transportation system and its protection of maritime community interests and environmental interests? Is there a central agency responsible for this coordination to allow for a balanced approach to risks? The amount of cabling piling up needs management and oversight.

Sub-sea infrastructure, the definition of the problem

Numerous industries have a stake in sub-sea infrastructure. Examples include oil and gas, telecommunications, fishing, scientific research, and perhaps military/defense applications such as sonar and other arrays and obstacles. This infrastructure is a requirement, but it also faces various challenges including those that can lead to accidents, environmental damage, and possible breaches in national security. All these bring out very significant concerns related to sub-sea infrastructure and the lack of comprehensive and globally accepted standards, requirements, obligations, and assurance mechanisms. It is not that organizations such as the United States Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal and state agencies do not look at these issues.

Nevertheless, it remains a concern that there is no single agency or overarching requirement to provide a framework to the industry on harmonized implementation of requirements. This lack of harmonization can mean inconsistencies in design, installation, and maintenance practices which may not address risks uniformly. This can generate consequential risks, leading to increased accidents, mechanical failures, and costs to the industry and the nation.

Recent tragedies and accidents

Recent tragedies and accidents involving sub-sea infrastructure have been limited, and yet must not lead to complacency by the agencies involved. The few that have occurred indicate the challenges and trends pointing to the need for proactive requirements. The recent tragedies include:

  • Deepwater Horizon. The potential consequences and challenges inherent in deep-water oil drilling were brought out by the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in 2010. The oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico caused a massive oil spill and resulted in the loss of 11 lives. Although not technically a sub-sea incident, it highlighted a series of failures in design, maintenance, and company oversight—all factors pointing to the importance of robust safety standards and requirements, and the implementation thereof. The Deepwater Horizon incident was not directly related to sub-sea infrastructure; however, it heightened the risks associated with offshore oil and gas production and the potential for catastrophic environmental damage.
  • Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2. Occurring in September 2022, the damage to these gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea highlighted concerns around sub-sea infrastructure. These pipelines transport natural gas from Russia to Europe; in this incident, they sustained multiple leaks. The exact cause of the damage is unclear, though deliberate sabotage was suspected and is still under investigation. Regardless of the ultimate findings, this incident exposed the vulnerabilities of sub-sea infrastructure to sabotage, and the potential for significant environmental and economic consequences are real. Intentional attacks to the sub-sea infrastructure have the potential for widespread disruption of energy supplies. Apart from the Nord Stream, there have been other sub-sea incidents affecting the gas and oil industry. In 2021 a fire broke out on a sub-sea production control umbilical off the coast of Brazil, causing significant damage to the underwater equipment and resulting in a major oil spill.
  • English Channel Internet Disruption. In 2021, a ship dragging its anchor on the seabed in the English Channel cut the three main internet cables to the Channel Islands. Although this only resulted in slower broadband speeds in this instance, there remains the possibility that it could have resulted in a complete outage.

Looking ahead

These incidents represent leading indicators of a tragedy in the making should proactive action not be taken. The critical importance of safety for sub-sea infrastructure underscores the need for a more comprehensive and rigorous approach to standards and assurance. Industry stakeholders together with regulatory bodies within the United States and global organizations such as the International Maritime Organization must work together to establish a harmonized set of safety standards, implement robust assurance mechanisms, and foster a culture of safety throughout the sub-sea industry.

The increasing reliance on sub-sea infrastructure for various industries (including wind farms) necessitates a proactive approach to safety and risk management. There is definitely a need to invest in research and development to enhance the resilience and monitoring capability of sub-sea infrastructure. The various companies in the sub-sea industry are holding their proprietary information close to the vest. This is understandable. However, these organizations are in competition with totalitarian governments, in which control of business practices is the exclusive dominion of the state. It is necessary to enhance transparency and information-sharing among industry stakeholders to facilitate better risk assessment and incident prevention.

Conclusion

Promoting a culture of safety that prioritizes risk identification, risk mitigation, and continual improvement is essential. There is no common ISO standard for sub-sea management systems. Of course, ISO 9001 is interpretable and can be used as the basis for now. Environmental protection is a challenge for a developing industry, and as such, even greater urgency is needed for statutory requirements encompassing all aspects of stakeholder interests, the marine industry in general, and the protection of the environment for generations to come.

Marine transportation remains the most important way for goods to be shipped across the world, as approximately 80 percent of the world’s goods are transported by ships. Vessels need a place to anchor in normal operating conditions as also in emergencies. A crowded seabed in harbors makes this a challenge for the entire maritime industry.

Without adequate and effective regulatory oversight, it may be too late to take action once cables and other sub-sea equipment have already been laid. Further, multiple agencies regulating the same aspects of the industry can potentially lead to bureaucratic delays.  There is therefore an urgent need to create a single statutory body to regulate the sub-sea infrastructure industry, which will greatly benefit all parties invested in the maritime transportation system.

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Looking Ahead at ISO 9001

ISO 9001 has proactively kept up with various industry expectations, over the years, to allow

application by a broad spectrum of industry including the defense forces. The 2015 revision was

a thoughtfully planned giant step. It defined risk (ISO 9001 Clause 6.1) in the context of the

organization (ISO 9001 Clause 4.1 & 4.2) and removed exclusions provision from certification by

redefining what an organization does not do or outsources in the scope (ISO 9001 Clause 4.3). It

also removed preventive action, a reactive concept, and introduced proactive risk appreciation

(Clause 6.1 of ISO 9001 & Clause 8.1 in industry specific standards as AS9100).

This took preventive action from the delayed “Act” stage of the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) stage

to the more logical sensible “Plan” stage. After all, “look before you leap”, as the historical

fundamental, could not be left as a preventive action decision. It had to be at the look – plan

stage! Risk also needed not just mitigation, but also acted as an input, to be used to bring in

innovation in terms of OFI (opportunity for improvement).

These were all positive steps in keeping with technical advancements and computerization and

AI (artificial intelligence) tools. The HLS (high level structure), later updated to HS (harmonized

structure), recognized the need to enable ease of implementation of integrated management

systems. This in turn leading to efficiency, ROI (return on investment) and where applicable

environmental protection, security of the global supply chain, business continuity, cyber

security and health and safety.

The differentiating of knowledge (ISO 9001 Clause 7.6) from competence (ISO 9001 Clause 7.2)

was also a clever needed change. Organizations needed to define their corporate knowledge

aspects and differentiate it from the individual knowledge of personnel. Knowledge and

competence needed merging and a healthy marriage but needed recognition that they were

different. Removal of the reference to Quality Manager (QM) and Quality Manual from the

standard, took away the narrowness of thinking in quality, and brought the clarity to leadership

to remain accountable and to differentiate authority delegation from retaining the

accountability.

I am a member of the TAG-176 group, and yet have not really contributed much to the next

expected changes to ISO 9001. I am sure the TC-176 is working on this. Nevertheless, it is time

to debate and consider updating the standard.

Since the 2015 version was a major fundamental change, I doubt there would be a significant

departure from this 2015 version in the next major update. Unlikely that the next version may

have revolutionary updates. The emphasis, I think would be to clarify and strengthen the

present thoughts in the 2015 version. I would consider the following:

1. Two Standard Concept: I have over the years thought about the two prongs:

manufacturing and service, approach. Both the service and the manufacturing industry

have been using the standard. Some may consider the need for a separate

manufacturing and a service standard as the next step. However, over the years I have

feared too much bureaucracy which the two standards approach brings. I think the two

standard approaches may actually cause more issues than to resolve them. Might I

opine that Clauses under 8.3 for D&D can, if needed, be strengthened, clarified or more

useful notes as applicable to service version incorporated to assist implementers,

consultants and auditors?

2. Risk be better defined and OFI be clarified, to avoid auditors using it as a tool to sneak in

recommendations. OFI is the outcome of considering risk as an input for innovation. It is

not a recommendation.

3. The knowledge clause needs meat to strengthen it, and to better make it inclusive to

systematizing the requirements for organizations to systematize lessons learnt.

4. An annex added to bring clarity and ease to designing and implementing a combined

management system for an organization.

5. Clause 4.3 Scope, in defining scope requires consideration of the context of the

organization, which is based on Clauses 4.1 and 4.2. However, while the scope has to be

available as documented, 4.1 and 4.2 do not require documentation. I would suggest

both clauses 4.1 & 4.2 to have context as a documented requirement.

In conclusion, I think, updating the standard ground up is not a wise idea at this stage. Perhaps

slight tweaking to include some minor changes would give stability in implementation of an

already robust standard.

P-D-C-A with a Christmas Tree

As a QMII employee, I can sit and observe classes whenever I want, more so since they are virtual instructor led these days. It allows me to get a refresher on the clauses, even though it is so hard to get them. It gets me every time. When the time comes to interview auditees, I smile like a Cheshire cat; not a confident grin but one that hopefully does not betray my nervousness.  Often, I am nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. However, my QMII ISO lead auditor training has prepared me well. I am nervous as the auditee too, even though I know audits are not about pass or fail.  While I call myself a writer and researcher my greatest struggle perhaps lies with Audit Report writing. Oh, man! QMII lead auditor training, however, well prepared me to gather all notes during an audit to present a valuable report to the auditee. Smile.

The aspect of Lead Auditor training I like is the P-D-C-A cycle because I can use that analogy anywhere in my life. I have the responsibility of putting up the tree, however, currently, my application of the P-D-C-A is not going so well. Perhaps a re-plan is needed?

So from the Lead Auditor classes that I have attended, P-D-C-A stands for the following and the task next to it is what I have to do:-

P – Planning: We have to put the tree. Also, the objective of my mission. Considerations include where are the decorations kept, do we have enough, do we need a ladder, what should be the first step, then the next (like testing the lights before we put them on the tree), and more. Most important plan the time to do it in my busy schedule!

D – Do: Now to put my plan into action! Locate the boxes, get them out, unpack, and, get my team to help me even if they don’t want to (just to cheer me on perhaps). Yay! Thanks guys, for your help! Thumbs up for that. Basically, everything else that needs to be completed before the tree is finally up and lit up and everyone is happy. The DO stage can be extremely exhausting. How about that drink to cool me down?

Note – From my Lead Auditor training and also when I am auditing my clients, I know that the ‘DO’ section of the process is where a lot of the “action” happens. Just because “you gotta do it, man, get on with it!” I feel the pain of the “Do’s” as it is easy sometimes to plan but more taxing to put the plan into action. Now getting back to my tree.

C – Check: Once the tree is up and you think the job is over, it is not. You have to wait for the others to “check” the tree out and give their opinions. Pass comments, critique your effort while you are bickering away that they didn’t do anything, but they get to analyze it. What was that? Oh yes, I agree it is just an opportunity for improvement and we love our non-conformities.

A – Act: The verdict is out. The tree looks great. Beautiful decorations. However, the lights seem to flicker at some places, we need better lights for next time. Get more decorations. Good job!

VERDICT

Plan it better next time. Stop bickering when you are doing the job. Be patient and stop being

grumpy when they are “checking” and analyzing your work. Continually Improve this process till you get your Act together – words of a wise Yoda who is enjoying the view of the Christmas tree and listening to the Christmas songs.

Can I get that drink now? Long Island, please. Merry Christmas!

ISO 9001:2015 – Exclusions

Exclusions to what an organization does were integral to the ISO 9001 standard prior to the 2015 version update. After all an organization cannot do all the work. Clause 7.1.1 lays the foundation on this thought by accepting that an organization must determine and provide resources. In doing so it determines the constraints and capabilities of the existing resources and what needs to be obtained from external providers. As such in previous standards, the organization, when seeking certification, requested exclusion on those processes that it did not perform.

The drawback of this was a major flaw. Over the period of time, some of these organizations, sheltered under the exclusion provision even lost the ability to pick the correct outsourced party! For example, if the organization builds highways, but outsources bridges and tunnels, then it must have the ability to be able to pick the correct vendor/ contractor who will not let the customer down. The revised 2015 version of the standard therefore in the wisdom of TC-176, removed this exclusion provision. It does not imply now the organization cannot outsource what it does not do. All that it means that the organization can review the applicability of the requirements based on its size, complexity and decide on the activities it needs to outsource.

With the exclusion provision removed, the organization would need to do due diligence in appreciating the range of its activities and the risks and opportunities it encounters as also the effect if any of the outsourced vendors not performing to accepted requirements. The organization then remains accountable for the outcome of the outsourced processes and products and services externally obtained. To ensure their consistency and levels of acceptance, it would need to take measures as required by clauses 8.4.1, 8.4.2, and 8.4.3 of the ISO 9001 in enforcing monitoring and measuring to protect its customer and clients.

This assurance that an organization can not and will not outsource those activities which by its decision will not result in failure to achieve conformity of products and services. Clause 4.3 of ISO9001 in determining the scope of the quality management system clearly requires that conformity to the ISO 9001 can only be claimed if the requirements determined as not being applicable do not have an adverse impact on the promises made by the organization. The products it provides, based on externally obtained subproducts or services must not affect customer satisfaction.

In terms of auditing, it is incumbent upon auditors that they carefully seek conformity to this requirement when auditing. Internal audits to ISO 9001 must provide the objective inputs to top management to make better decisions and appreciate the risks of outsourcing to nonperforming and or underperforming outside organizations, remembering they remain accountable and answerable for the final product or service. Ensuring the organization’s accountability for the conforming products and services whether outsourced or not is the responsibility of the organization.

QMII’s ISO 9001 EG (Exemplar Global) certified lead auditor training designed carefully to meet the objectives as envisaged in the standard.

Integrated Management Systems AKA ‘A balanced lifestyle’

Integrated Management Systems (IMS) when well implemented enable improvement across various facets of the system. Management system implementation reminds me of the orientation that my gym instructor gave me when I first enrolled at my local health club:- “Losing weight doesn’t happen just in one day and with crash diets: you gotta workout, gotta sleep the right amount, have a little fun in life and yes, food is the most important factor, but everything is in moderation. A combination of all that will give you a satisfying result and you’ll be a happier person. No shortcuts.”

When I look at the anatomy of an organization, I remember these words and know they are applicable to those looking to implement management systems, especially Integrated Management System (IMS). With IMS, they are looking to address multiple concern areas such as quality, environmental protection, safety, security, and overall happier stakeholders.

What is an Integrated Management System?

These days search engines like Google are the go-to source for all the answers, angles, interpretations and everything else. As I thought about the IMS and its benefits, I too turned to the ‘Google’ for insights! This is what I understood: “A management system is a set of policies, processes and procedures used by an organization to ensure that it can fulfill the tasks required to achieve its objectives. These objectives cover many aspects of the organization’s operations including financial success, safe operation, product quality, client relationships, legislative and regulatory conformance, and worker management.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Another applicable example that I can give is how a country runs? There is politics, religion, economics, business all in a blender with a spoonful of “science” and “logic” to it, which is rarely used (winking). A successful balance is needed and the country well-managed for it to be successful and have happy citizens.

There has been an increased demand for integrated management systems in recent years. Organizations are beginning to recognize how these systems enable improvement across various facets of the business. For organizations looking for continual improvement and efficiency as also ensuring the security of information, the question is: why to implement two different systems when one can meet both requirements. Think of a cocktail – If you want Vodka and Tequila together, why not order a Long Island Iced Tea instead of two separate drinks.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has, since 2013, been aligning its standards to the new High-Level Structure in which all ISO requirement standards are published with 10 clauses and identical sub-clauses. The High- Level Structure allows for easier integration of management systems into our existing system and ensures that the policies and objectives for each standard do not conflict with those of another. ISO standards use the basic Plan-do-check-act cycle to achieve continual improvement through vigorous use of the system.

Benefits of Integrated Management System

Integrated management systems allow organizations to identify and address various and different kinds of risks to their system: financial, strategic, competitor, security, safety environmental and others. All this while ensuring continual improvement of the organization. This approach enables organizations to meet the needs of its stakeholders and to adjust to the changing needs through systematic and planned changes.

Back in the good ol’ days, we did not have to worry about computer hackers, though there were other means by which our security was threatened. An information security breach can be a large liability for many organizations these days. How do we ensure that our organization is prepared for such potential breaches? We do not want a cyber-security system operating outside of our business system. We want it integrated into it.

Integrated management systems also are more cost-effective in the long run. There are cost savings in implementation, training, and auditing. Why spend on two/three different system audits in order to meet with the requirements of each Standard, when an integrated audit can assess the common requirements of each standard at the same time. These include competence, control of documented information, system measurement and analysis, etc. For the users of the system, benefits include objectives that align with the integrated policy, reduced duplication of effort and no conflict in the expectations of the management with respect to each policy. This makes the system more efficient, effective and very progressive. It also makes the system more flexible and adaptive in nature to the changing context of the organizations and needs of the relevant interested parties.

Conclusion

Integrated Management Systems can help the organization align its existing system to the requirements of multiple international standards using a single common factor in lieu of discrete systems. Hence, reducing duplication or redundancies. This includes its scope, policies, objectives, programs, processes, protocols and many more. In the maritime field ISO 9001:2015 can easily be merged with ISM Code or in the aviation industry, aerospace requirements along with requirements for occupational health and safety. To meet the growing demand of stakeholders for environmental sustainability, you can also add on the requirements of ISO 14001. Add Security to it, and you got your self a perfect Long Island Iced Tea, I mean your perfectly integrated system.

A lot of time and money is saved in implementing integrated management systems. It also helps in maintaining accountability and consistency for one perfect integrated system. Once your management system is integrated, you will notice reduced bureaucracy along with a reduction in duplication of efforts, redundancy, and expense. It will optimize resources and streamline the process. Integrated management systems will also help with the following: –

  • Curbing conflicting objectives
  • Eliminates conflicting responsibilities and relationships
  • Improves Internal and External communication
  • Harmonizes practice for each Standard in one
  • Business focus is unified to maintain its objective/goal
  • Customer focus is one and not for various tasks

Oh and continuing my health analogy, a well-integrated management system will give you the desired outputs and satisfaction as does those number reducing on the weighing scale! Lastly, remember that there are no shortcuts. Templates come with many promises but do not enable the long-term gains that a well-implemented system will afford. Refer QMII’s time tested approach here.

AUDITING RISK-BASED THINKING

 

As we work with clients, we find increasing examples of certification bodies requiring risk to be documented within an organization. This despite ISO 9001 specifically not requiring so!

This then brings up the question, “How should we audit the requirements of risk-based thinking within an organization when the same has not been documented using a formal risks management system or methodologies such as FMEA?”.

Let us start with the intent of including ‘risk-based thinking’ in the standard, replacing the previous requirement for ‘preventive action’. Risk-based thinking has been included as a preventive measure with the intent of making an organization more proactive to identifying and addressing potential non-conformities (NCs) than to be reactive to NCs. Additionally, rather than limit preventive action to the end of the PDCA cycle it is now addressed throughout the standard with the concept of risk-based thinking. To therefore answer the question posed above auditors need to evidence risk-based thinking throughout the system starting with the management down through the operator/service provider.

Before we begin to discuss the process for doing this let us for recall how many times a preventive action has been raised within our organization when the requirement did exist under ISO 9001:2008. In my auditing experience the answer is rarely! This in essence defeats the purpose of what the standard was trying to achieve.

Before we begin to audit risk based thinking the auditor should get an understanding from management of the context of the organization and the needs of the interested parties relevant to the organization as identified by them. Keep in mind the requirement of Clause 4.1 and 4.2 also need not be documented. Further what are the risks that management has associated with the organization achieving its strategic direction. We can also evidence the records of the management review to assess the inputs provided to management per Clause 9.3.2 e.

Once we have the above understanding from leadership, we then look for evidence on how the organization has addressed the risks as identified by leadership. These may include as an example risks to meeting business/process objectives, risks from loss of personnel, risks from new legislation that may impact the organization etc. As we audit the organization, we are looking to assess how the processes have been resourced and controlled in order to manage the risk of not meeting the process objective or customer/regulatory requirements. Risk based thinking is inherent in the clauses for design where organizations are asked to consider the potential causes of failure, in the purchasing process where the organization is asked to select external providers based on their ability to provide products/services meeting requirements, in the planning of audits, in the determination of customer requirements (intended use & unstated requirements), in the resourcing of the system, in the fitness for purpose of monitoring and measuring equipment and in the determination of potential similar non-conformities when taking corrective action.

The above is but a sample of where the application of risk-based thinking can be evidenced. Further information from analysis of data per clause 9.1.3 is further sued as a source for improvement as per clause 10.1 and all of this can be evidenced in the system.

So then why are certification body auditors seeking a documented risk-management system? Auditees too often do not push back when such a “requirement” is brought up. It does make the audit easier if everything is documented including risk but then are, we really ensuring the effective application of the standard. The organization could meet this “requirement” for documentation of risk by just documenting two or three risks and monitoring the effectiveness of actions taken to address them. This would meet the auditors requirement but then what about other applicable risks? These would then do unaddressed as the organization will tend to focus on the documented ones, killing the system!

Let us determine the need to document the risks within our system or NOT and not be pressured into documenting our system to meet the needs of auditors.

Eight Steps for a Successful Audit

ISO standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 provide the framework for management systems to function using a process-based approach, to achieve customer and other stakeholder’s requirements. Organizations, certified to ISO standards, strive to be compliant, efficient and remain certified. Successful systems have Top Management (TM) / Leadership that are committed to and engaged with the system. They ensure regular audits and conduct management reviews (MR) to assess the continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness of the system. They further ensure that their decision-making process uses the inputs from the MR to ensure objective resourcing and support for efficiency.

External third-party audits too add value to this system provided the auditors remain objective throughout the audit. Over the years QMII has come across instances where Non-Conformities (NC) were issued without the requirement being clearly stated or yet the evidence may not substantiate the requirement not met. However, these NCs are rarely challenged by organizations for “fear” of upsetting the auditors. Changes are further implemented to the system as a part of corrective action based on these findings. At times when the management is disconnected from the working system they often are surprised by the NCs presented at the jng the organization in the art of getting audited? In well-functioning systems the organization should never have to prepare for an audit. The systems are designed to drive success and not for auditors or to get through audits without any NCs. NCs are, after all, an opportunity for continual improvement of the system and should be embraced, provided they are objective and not subjective to an auditor’s experience or opinion. An organization can and must respect a good NC and use it to drive correction and corrective action (CA). After all CA is NC driven . The organization/ auditee should be happy to receive a NC for risk(s) not appreciated.

I do however think that there are steps an organization can take to build employee confidence in the system, including the confidence to challenge the auditor when a NC is not clear or incorrectly given.

 

Here are eight steps an organization can do to have its employees get that confidence:

  1. Conduct orientation on the process-based management system (PBMS) approach in general, and introduction to the highlights of the specific standard (e.g. ISO 9001:2015). This ensures that the basics of system approach and the internal management system are clear to all personnel.
  2. All TM must do a short training to be aware of the standard, the main clauses and the benefits of the management system. This awareness leaders workshop (ALW) brings the confidence in the system, its implementation and continual improvement. This leadership awareness further encourages engagement of all personnel to use the system and increases buy-in.
  3. On regular basis, in day to day work and meetings refer to the management system. Ensure Quality, environment, safety, security, social responsibility and compliance are topics of discussion at periodic intervals. Even the middle and lower management e.g. supervisors should be encouraged to use the system and engage others to do so. Management may have to support others in their roles of leadership at relevant levels.
  4. More than just following processes, all personnel must feel free and confident to challenge the process, make suggestions, raise NCs and submit innovative ideas. A participatory approach to system implementation is very cost effective. Let employees voice their concerns. Once they confident of their process and their system (with the fundamentals of the ISO Standard/other requirements built-in) the fear of audits will reduce.
  5. Put in place an aggressive internal audit program. When an outside (third party) auditor raises a NC, the organization does RCA (Root Cause Analysis) of the NC, but rarely does it challenge its Internal system and ask how the internal audit program missed the NC raised by the third party? Internal audits must be objective and strict and must raise all NCs.
  6. NCs must be tracked diligently and addressed within the time frame the organization has set for itself. TMs must stay involved by asking on the progress to the CA process. Overdue NCs must be investigated and TM must ask during the MR why the concerned department did not address it in time. Encourage PSW (Problem Solving Workshops) so teams can look at complex, inter-departmental NCs. Encourage use of tools as Causal Analysis and FMEA (Failure Mode Effect and Analysis).
  7. Creating a lesson learned data base has many advantages. It acts as a historic record for new joiners to learn of past occurrences. Additionally, it has great participatory value connecting each future task as a driver of improvement based on the past. The collective intelligence of the organization is available to the organization and does not vanish when individuals leave the organization.
  8. Some additional points for audit preparation:
  • Answer audit questions to the point. Do not volunteer information not sought.
  • Do not be reluctant to ask for your manager/ supervisor to support you if you are not clear on the question.
  • Have the confidence in your professionalism to ask the auditor for the requirement based on which the auditor is planning to raise a NC.
  • Be aware of risks associated with their process and actions taken to address them.
  • Explain the risks in the context of the organization and the context of what the employee does to them.

 

By CEO and President, Captain Inderjit Arora