Suggestions for ISO/TS 16949 Transition?
I thought the article "ISO/TS 16949 the Clear Choice for Automotive Suppliers" (Christian Lupo, October 2002, p. 44) was very helpful. My company is planning to make the jump from ISO 9001:1994 to ISO/TS 16949. Can the author suggest additional things for us to focus on during our transition?

Manitowoc, WI

Author's response: ISO/TS 16949:2002 and ISO/TS 16949:1999 are very different standards. I will assume you are upgrading to ISO/TS 16949:1999 since you made reference to the 1994 revision of ISO 9001. Here are some things you should remember when making the transition:

1. Know your quality levels for all your automotive customers. Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler make it easy because they put these metrics online.

2. Use the same discipline when designing processes that you use when designing a product.

3. TS 16949 requires three types of internal audits: process audits, product audits and quality system audits.

4. Employee motivation can be measured through absenteeism, lost time accidents and turnover.

5. Know what your customers' requirements are. Many customer requirements are documented on purchase orders and contracts. These are easy to miss.

Ann Arbor, MI


An Inaccuracy In ISO/TS 16949 Article?
The "Registration processes" section of "ISO/TS 16949 the Clear Choice for Automotive Suppliers" implies a review of top level documents (quality manual and procedures) and a preassessment are required for QS-9000 certification. The only requirement for QS-9000 certification is an on-site audit. It certainly makes good sense to have the documents reviewed and a preassessment performed, but both are optional.

The section "Transitioning from QS-9000 to TS" indicates no reductions are allowed for companies currently registered or certified to ISO 9001. This is not accurate. Companies registered to ISO 9001:2000 can have their ISO/TS audit days reduced to the number of days that would be required for a recertification audit providing their scope of registration or certification has not changed. This is indicated in Table 7 of Rules for Achieving IATF Recognition, and audit day reduction is indicated in the Table on p. 21 of that same book.

SmarTire Systems
Richmond, British Columbia

Author's response: You are correct. A preassessment is not required. An official survey has never been conducted on the subject; however, not conducting a preassessment before a QS-9000 registration is the exception rather than the norm.

The article focuses on the differences between the QS-9000 and ISO/TS 16949 registration processes. QS-9000 registration can be completed in two steps, while TS 16949 cannot.

Suppliers upgrading from ISO 9001:1994 to ISO/TS 16949:2002 cannot reduce the initial ISO/TS 16949 audit duration. Kudos for pointing out that suppliers with ISO 9001:2000 registration can reduce the initial ISO/TS 16949:2002 audit duration to the time required for reassessment.

The difficulty in writing an article in such a dynamic industry is that the information is constantly being updated. The article was written based on the IATF rules for certification bodies for ISO/TS 16949:1999 and did not address ISO 9001:2000. This gives me the opportunity to update readers on other recent changes:

1. DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors announced that first tier suppliers must upgrade to ISO/TS 16949:2002 by the end of 2004.

2. TS 16949 audits that last five days or more must have at least two auditors.

3. There will be a tooling and equipment supplement to TS 16949.

4. TS 16949 transfers are now possible under specific conditions.



A Few More Points About Accreditation
Larry Aft's article, "Evaluating Higher Education Programs in Quality" (October 2002, p. 30), is a really good example of a desirable article: short, interesting and informative.

Aft does justice to the concept of accreditation, but please allow me to elaborate on his information:

1. Accreditation is more than a simple evaluation of a curriculum. When the evaluation team goes to a school (just as when an accreditation body sends a team to a testing or calibration laboratory), the documentation is certainly examined, but it also includes the evaluation of technical competence.

That piece of the evaluation is what separates accreditation from registration in the quality world. Accreditation is more difficult (ask any accredited calibration laboratory), and any school that's accredited, especially if the accreditation is specific, has done its homework.

2. There is a standard being developed for accreditation on an international basis. Accreditation to ISO 17024 (once available) will ensure international acceptance for accredited institutions through the Mutual Recognition Arrangement signatory process.

International Accreditation Service
Irvine, CA


1992 Baldrige Model Is Better Than the Others
The article "A Thing of the Past?" by David A. Collier, Susan Meyer Goldstein and Darryl D. Wilson (October 2002, p. 97) discussed what system thinkers intuitively knew. The 1992 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award model is better than the other models. This model links the categories directly, which is consistent with my operations engineering perspective of having to connect the dots between system drivers and results.

I have always viewed an organizational entity as an information processing machine, with managers managing the flow of data and making decisions to resolve technical and social conflicts in the processes. The prime role of managers is to resolve the problems and improve performance to the point their job is not required; accordingly, they become leaders.

The role of leaders is to focus on setting the mission critical goals or system operating levers and foster the organizational culture to spark innovation and continuous learning as a means to create competitive advantage by building organizational agility.

This article will be a key reference in my current work to use quality principles and practices as the foundation to develop strategic leadership and managerial competencies to design, plan and improve performance in complex, nonlinear organizational systems.

Stimulus Consulting


Deming Offers Much To Healthcare Workers
It was good to read Clare Crawford-Mason's story ("Deming and Me," September 2002, p. 45) and learn again how much W. Edwards Deming had to offer to us as we work together for better health and healthcare.

Her experience reminds us patients and caregivers are members of the same system for the production of service and healthcare. Her insights into the actual experience of an "engaged, activated, empowered" patient reveal how important it is for us to build shared information and decision making into healthcare--and that it isn't as simple as some suggest.

Not noted in the story is her plan to continue to carefully monitor the situation with additional samples of the population of cells in question--as appropriate for her risk factors. Deming once observed, "Knowledge has temporal spread." Indeed.

Dartmouth Medical School


Incompetent, Lazy Nurses Aren't the Problem
Quality Progress' feature articles on healthcare were both encouraging and disappointing. As a registered nurse, I can see the flaws in the system on a near daily basis. However, the current healthcare system is so complex that suggesting and implementing change for nursing staff is usually of no consequence.

Patients are sicker, living longer and quicker to threaten lawsuits. Yet the basic system of nursing care has not changed. We are routinely asked to do more, better, faster, with less.

As a result, workplace conditions are at the crux of the current nursing shortage but are not being recognized as such. Table 4 of "Reduce Human Error" by James J. Rooney, Lee N. Vanden Huevel and Donald K. Lorenzo (September 2002, p. 27) shows most bedside hospital nurses face nine out of the 10 factors every day and night. No wonder there are errors and unhappy consumers.

The response to the shortage seems to be to pour more money into educating new nurses to fill vacancies rather than to fix the working conditions--mainly nurse-patient ratios--and retain more experienced nurses.

The opinion that "managers must recognize most patient safety factors ... are within their control" (p. 31) is what most bedside nurses have been voicing for decades. Some states are legislating safe staffing standards, which include safe and reasonable staff ratios. Those of us in other states are hoping and waiting. It was at least refreshing to read that incompetent or lazy nurses are not the problem. We are all out here waiting for a solution.

Jacksonville, FL


In "College and University Programs in Quality" (October 2002, p. 38), Southwestern College Professional Studies Centers also offers certification exam preparation courses for the following ASQ certifications: certified quality manager, CQI, CQA, CQE, CQIA, CQT, CRE and Six Sigma Black Belt.

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