Quality Tool - 5S Philosophy – Developed in Japan

Evolved from the Total Production System created by Toyota’s President and Chief Engineer, the 5S Philosophy is based on confidence that better organisation of the workplace creates a growth in efficiency and minimises waste.

It comprises the following five steps:

  • ·         Sort (Seiri) which involves removing superfluous tools and materials from a workspace to make more room available for the rest of the process.number five.jpg
  • ·         Set in Order (Seiton) which means to take care to arrange your materials and tools, so that the space can be used more efficiently and effectively.
  • ·         Shine (Seiso) refers to making a habit of cleaning the workspace, tools and equipment, so that they don’t deteriorate and your environment feels routinely positive.
  • ·         Standardise (Seiketsu) involves sharing any improvements with others and making sure they are repeated, so that they become second nature.
  • ·         Sustain (Shitsuke) is a reference to the importance of maintaining the 5S philosophy, by assigning responsibilities for it, evaluating its effectiveness and communicating progress on a regular basis.

Benefits of adopting this approach can include improvements in quality, health, safety and environmental performance, loss of down time, fewer accidents and increased productivity.  Why not take a look at your workspace and see whether better design and cleanliness could improve it?

Based on an article in Quality World February 2019 pp20-21

If you would like assistance to implement ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 in your organisation, why not contact us to discuss your requirements?  



External suppliers can bring a host of specialist knowledge and/or impressive buying power to your organisation.  However, they also require monitoring.  

cardboard box and Styrofoam ball 10.jpgIn addition, many of society’s critical services are now being delivered by outsourcing.  ISO 9001:2015 states that an organisation ought to ensure that externally provided services or processes stay within the control of its quality management system.  

Suitable and sufficient resources need to be available within your organisation to manage the range of supplier risks, so that the quality of the products and/or services they supply can be monitored and audited effectively.  Issues such as consistency of supply and whether they are meeting regulatory requirements will need to be addressed.

Based on an article in Quality World, by Martin Mannix, January 2019 p.13


If you would like assistance to implement ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 in your organisation, why not contact us to discuss your requirements? 


Trust and Respect in the workspace

For an employee to be willing to experiment and challenge their current working practices, they must feel safe.  This is where trust comes in.  If an employee does not trust that their input will be respected and valued, they will not be willing to suggest innovative ways to improve what they and their organisation do.

If the leader of an organisation uses power and/or fear to manage, is that likely to be sustainable?  Is it possible to command a person to trust you?  If you witness poor behaviour in a leader, then you are likely to experience an erosion of trust and respect for them.  There are many levels within which trust must exist for a successful workspace:  

colleague to colleaguebusiness handshake lr.jpg

employee to manager

worker to senior personnel

customer to employee

supplier to customer

You may not have to consider all of these levels in your daily work, but if loyalty is to be engendered, particularly necessary at a time of change, then considering the ideas, feelings and thoughts of others at all the levels within which you operate is very important.

The potential benefits of operating within a place of trust and respect include improved relationships with customers, retaining the talent of your workforce and improving their morale.

Based upon an article by Susannah Clarke of PMI in Quality World, November 2018, pp. 34- 35

If you would like assistance to implement change in your organisation, using a management system such as ISO 9001:2015 and/or ISO 14001:2015, why not talk to us about your needs?


Smart Technology and Quality

human_head_sculpture_1.jpgEmploying smart technology in factories has begun to increase efficiency, decrease human error and revolutionise on the job training.  The use of virtual reality, wireless connectivity and big data is being seen as the fourth industrial revolution.  Big data is captured from machines, so that operators can spot patterns, improve productivity, prevent problems, and innovate.

Using digital tools to engineer quality in at the start of a process and following this through from design, to building and servicing means that you are effectively creating an audit trail.  The time taken to bring new ideas to market can also be drastically reduced.  For example, the virtual layout of a factory can help identify possible safety hazards before they are constructed, because data about the people working in the factory can also be added into design.  Predicting where failures are likely to occur is another facet of digitalising the analysis of data.

From an auditing perspective, technology “gives you more to look at – not just the data that’s [already] being measured, but maybe different parameters that could be measured”, says Jordon from Bombardier.  You often have to go back to the person who put a particular process in place to find out what is going wrong. The emphasis on quality is likely to shift to before the fact, not in monitoring after the fact.

Based on an article in Quality World, July 2018, pp28 - 33

If you would like assistance to implement an ISO Management System in your organisation, such as ISO 9001:2015 and/or ISO 14001:2015, why not talk to us about your needs?


World Accreditation Day 2018

The focus of this year's Accreditation Day will be "Delivering a SaWorld Accreditation Day 2018.JPGfer World".  This worldwide enterprise takes place on 9 June.  It has been jointly set up by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).

Jon Murthy from the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) indicated to Quality World that "For this year's World Accreditation Day, UKAS is hosting an event at the House of Lords, and carrying out social media and marketing campaigns to promote the greater adoption of accreditation.  UKAS's aim is to continuously support businesses, government and regulators to find standards, conformity assessment and accreditation tools that keep people safer at work, at home, on their journeys and in all other parts of their lives."

You can find out more about the day at: https://www.iaf.nu/articles/World_Accreditation_Day_2018/547 

Based on an article in Quality World June 2018 p.7

If you would like assistance to implement an ISO Management System in your organisation, such as ISO 9001:2015 and/or ISO 14001:2015, why not talk to us about your needs?


How can a Strong Culture of Quality impact the bottom line?

A strong culture of quality starts by making sure every person in the organisation knows what quality means in relation to their job.woman_carrying_cup_and_report_files.jpg

There are four key drivers behind a culture of quality:

  1. Employees have to be comfortable speaking up and challenging managers if they have identified a quality improvement
  2. Individuals need to be communicating and collaborating with their peers in order to achieve quality improvements.
  3. Make sure that the message about quality is clear, relevant to the audience, timely and understood.  People must respect the person delivering the message.  It needs to be acknowledged that Quality is not the only priority in an organisation.
  4. The leaders and managers in an organisation need to talk about quality and demonstrate it in their behaviours.  Demonstrating that quality is something they value in their day-to-day actions, will do more than anything to promote a culture of quality.

How can you tell when a strong culture of quality exists:

  • When employees hear others talking about quality
  • When they feel or sense quality at work every single day
  • When they see others going above and beyond basic guidelines to ensure quality
  • When individuals understand that quality is important and demonstrate good quality behaviour day in, day out, which is then successfully transferred to their peers.

How, then, does a strong quality culture affect the bottom line?  It leads to:

  • Fewer mistakes
  • Less time being spent fixing mistakes
  • Greater productivity, better brand image and fewer recalls and legal fees

Based on an interview with Sarah de Liefde (Gartner) in Quality World September 2017, pp.15 - 18

If you would like assistance to implement a Quality Management System in your organisation, such as ISO 9001:2015 and/or ISO 14001:2015, why not talk to us about your needs?



How to detect ISO 9001 cowboys – Five signs that should ring warning bells

Because ISO 9001 is seen as a pre-qualification toolukas_ms_043.jpg in the public sector, businesses are often under pressure to make decisions about who they choose to help them, so that they can qualify to tender for the work.  In those circumstances, it might seem attractive to choose a certification option that looks cheaper and easier to obtain.

Despite it being set out in European law (EC Regulation 765/2008) that certification bodies must use the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to check they are working competently, consistently and impartially, some certification bodies are claiming to hold accreditation with alternatives to UKAS.  UKAS uses the ISO 17021 standard to check that certification bodies are working properly.  In the ISO 17021 standard, impartiality is protected by strictly banning certification bodies from offering management system consultancy and certification.

You only need to search on the internet to reveal non-UKAS accredited certification bodies providing consultancy in combination with certification.  There is the potential of a two-year prison sentence or a large fine being levied upon those organisations suggesting they are able to offer both services.  However, this does not seem to be deterring them.  Because of the lack of action being taken against non-UKAS accredited bodies, people are also starting to question what damage is being done to the status of ISO 9001.  Additionally, a certification body coming in and imposing ISO 9001 upon a business without integrating it into the way they function, and then certifying it themselves, will result in the business receiving very little benefit, and may even lead to their ISO Certificate not being accepted by local government.

Five signs that should ring warning bells:

  1. Make sure that the certification body does not provide both consultancy and certification
  2. Ask yourself, does the certification seem very cheap and particularly easy to obtain?
  3. Does the certificate have a non-UKAS logo?
  4. Is the certification body listed on the UKAS website with the appropriate ISO Standards and scope of activities against it? If not, then it is not UKAS verified.
  5. Does the certification body seek to commit you to a long period of maintenance of your system once installed and certified e.g. for ten years? This is not necessary.

Based upon an article in Quality World by Rob Fenn, June 2017 p22 – 24

If you would like assistance to make the transition to the new ISO 9001:2015 and/or the new ISO 14001:2015 Standard in your business, or to implement these new Standards from scratch, why not talk to us about your needs?


Strategic Planning the ISO Way


The new ISO 9001:2015 Standard is founded upon an Annex (SL) which sets forth a strategic management framework.  This framework allows more freedom to organisations, than that previously given, to formulate their quality management systems.

What this means in practice, is that organisations need to formalise an overview of the business environment in which they are operating, seek out the risks, try to find the opportunities in that environment, and develop a plan which uses available (or increased) resources.


The determination of risks and opportunities should not be delegated to those below senior management, or to those who only have knowledge of one area of the business.  This would completely miss the intention of ISO 9001:2015, which is to ensure the involvement of top leaders in the quality process.  A committed leader supported by a senior management team should formulate the strategic plan.  Only they can really set worthwhile goals, having analysed the high-level issues involved.  The quality management system can then be shaped to fulfil the organisation’s business needs.  Obviously, the high-level strategies will also need to be interpreted as operational activities involving all interested parties as the process unfolds.

Based upon an article in Quality World by Derrick Choong, May 2017 p.35

If you would like assistance to make the transition to the new ISO 9001:2015 and/or the new ISO 14001:2015 Standard in your business, or to implement these new Standards from scratch, why not talk to us about your needs?