All you wanted to know but were afraid to ask
THE ISO 9001 quality standard is new in the U.S. coatings industry and, like most new things, must be given time before it is understood by manufacturing management. Quality nerds can spout clause requirements, but what does it really mean to your company?
This article explains how the 20 clauses of ISO 9001 will actually affect your business. You may find that you already fulfill many of the requirements and documentation is all that is required. Alternatively, implementing ISO 9001 may mean major changes in working practices of many departments. Either way, this article is designed to help you assess the demands ISO 9001 would make on your company.
The ISO 9001 clauses cover many aspects of a company and for ease of explanation, they have been grouped into eight sections. The first two sections, management responsibility and document control, relate to all areas of your company. The next five sections start at design control and go through contract review, purchasing, manufacturing (including material handling and storage) and inspection.
The final section on corrective action and auditing are vital parts of the ISO 9001 quality system. They are powerful tools that can be used for continuous improvement and to ensure the quality system is operating effectively.
One word of caution: to make this article more meaningful to the coatings industry, I have included examples and specific comments on how to interpret and apply the ISO 9001 standard. Please be aware that your company is probably different from "normal" and that these are general points. In your specific organization or in your specific application, they may have to be modified to suit you.
* Define and document the policy and commitment to quality.
* Ensure that the policy is understood, implemented and maintained everywhere in the company. This could be by induction courses, training, notices and handouts.
* Ensure that all personnel involved with quality have the authority, responsibility and resources to carry out their tasks effectively.
* Ensure that the …