There is no reason the financial sector should be without quality standards, especially after this bailout ("In Crisis, Give Credit to Quality," December 2008). It is obvious to the most casual observer that this problem was rampant and will, in fact, occur again without fail. The question is when.
The roadblock to that would be a good quality plan. These guys don’t care and, like most businesses, don’t want to care. They only do what they are forced to do. Now is the time to force them. But our glorious political sectors are also in opposition to anything but status quo. That is the root cause.
The public should demand a quality system be put in place, but unfortunately not enough people know what that really is. The politicians know this and are using that to just drop the cash and keep going so their bank accounts, stocks and bonds that have been primed by the offenders can prosper, while we—the taxpayers—pay the freight.
Secret to success
I had never thought of the financial industry in the same light as manufacturing, but quality standards, reporting and assessment tools seem like a great fit. Although demanding that a quality system be put in place is not necessarily a bad thing, I’d like to suggest that one of the most effective motivations within any industry is success.
Quality systems provide a framework that ensures companies can provide predictable outputs. This is in their best interests, as well as their customers’, and ultimately rewards the best practitioners. All it will take is one or two financial firms to figure out how to use this to their advantage, and the rest will follow suit.
I agree with the individual who wrote the "Value in auditing?" letter (Inbox, December 2008). I work for a company certified to ISO/TS 14001 and 18001. We have had different registrars throughout the 10 years of certification. We are a tier one and two supplier, and our customers include Detroit’s Big Three, Toyota, Mercedes and Honda. Our scorecards are all green, and very seldom do we go into the red.
Auditors from each registrar are similar in auditing techniques, with low to no value added to the company. I could go as far to say the internal auditor will write something up, and the third party just rewrites the same nonconformance.
I would challenge the certification bodies to develop a management system that takes into consideration the scorecards and the number of audit days a company is in "green" status, putting them into a category that would require third-party audits once every three years.
I also challenge the registrars to employ persons who have been active in the work force in recent years and who understand the applicable processes. It would almost behoove organizations in a particular area to develop their own registrars or qualified auditors, and exchange auditors (audit each other’s sites) without this third-party cost.