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We often talk about the quality and consistency of our products. This is because we believe in our process, and we have the credentials to prove it. OE Attachments, along with our sister company, Arrow Material Handling Products, is an ISO 9001:2015 Certified company. This certification requires us to uphold high quality process standards that lead to better products and more customer satisfaction.
As a bonus for this blog, we were able to get some thoughts and insights from Clyde Pearch, owner of Eagle Group. Pearch and Eagle Group have prepared hundreds of companies for initial ISO Certification and recertification audits. He is here to make sure we uphold standards and prepares us for recertification. Hopefully his perspective can provide further understanding of ISO in general, the certification process and what it means for OE Attachments and other ISO certified companies.
What is ISO?
On their website, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) describes themselves as an independent, non-governmental international organization that brings experts together to develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.
According to Reciprocity, ISO has developed around 22,000 standards across many industries, but there are four main categories that standards can fall under:
- ISO 9000 – Quality Management
- ISO 22000 – Food Safety Management
- ISO/IEC 27000 – Information Security Management Systems
- ISO 31000 – Risk Management
ISO standards are an internationally accepted way of optimizing your business process with a focus on improved quality and consistency. For the sake of this blog, we will focus on the certification held by OE Attachments: ISO 9001:2015.
What is ISO 9001 Certification?
ASQ breaks down ISO 9001 perfectly:
“ISO 9001 is defined as the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system (QMS). Organizations use the standard to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. It is the most popular standard in the ISO 9000 series and the only standard in the series to which organizations can certify.”
ISO 9001 is based on seven Quality Management Principles (from QMP Book):
- Customer Focus
- Engagement of People
- Process Approach
- Evidence-based Decision Making
- Relationship Management
These QMPs are a set of fundamental beliefs, norms, rules and values that are widely accepted for use as a basis for quality management. ISO suggests that these QMPs be used as a foundation to guide an organization’s performance improvement.
ISO 9001:2015 refers to the most current version that was released in September of 2015.
Pearch believes ISO 9001 certification can be a powerful asset for many businesses. When asked why, he said, “ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) can be used as a tool within an organization whether it is privately held or a public company, NGO, etc. The QMS requires a company to clearly define, document and monitor key business processes. By doing so the leadership of the company establishes key performance indicators or KPIs to set goals, objectives with targets to support operating the business in an effective and efficient manner.”
Why is ISO Important for us?
OE Attachments is part of over 1 million companies worldwide (Jill Jusko, Industry Week 2010) that are ISO 9001 certified. According to Statista in 2020, OE Attachments was one of only 20,900 companies in the United States with an active ISO 9001 certification.
Even though many companies adopt the ISO standards, many will execute and implement things differently. OE Attachments uses the PDCA model. As further explained by Pearch:
“The PDCA model is the key principle that company leadership applies to ensure the QMS is being maintained. Principles and phases are applied as follows:
- Plan – company leadership works with employees and other interested parties establishing the framework of the QMS to align with the ISO 9001 requirements, establishing methodology and objectives to monitor and measure QMS performance.
- Do – company leadership and employees apply the documented QMS policies, procedures and work requirements within the business.
- Check – Leadership and employees report on the performance of the QMS with company established KPIs, QMS audits, Management Review of QMS with updates to QMS, KPIs, overall system performance including Risk and Opportunities all with assigned actions to support Continual Improvements.
- Act – is taking the results of the Check phase to adjust the products, procedures and processes by rolling out changes needed to support the customer!”
Pearch adds, “Big picture – using ISO 9001 (QMS) as a tool in the leadership tool bag that helps keep employees, suppliers, contractors and distributors focused on keeping customers happy, being more productive, fostering team commitment, promoting the use of best practices (5S, Lean, safety in workplace, etc.) and lastly will help a company to improve business success with increased revenue and profits.”
Not only does ISO 9001 certification place us in exclusive company, but it also represents a commitment to excellence. ISO 9001 certification requires passing performance audits as well as a 3-year recertification process. This means that in addition to optimizing our process for the initial certification we also subject ourselves to regular audits to maintain our certification and ensure the continuous improvement of our processes. This commitment to a superior quality management system has led to many quality improvements for OE Attachments and we strongly believe this commitment contributes to the consistent production of quality products.
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