One of our customers recently received a supplier letter from a major semiconductor manufacturer. In the letter, the Fortune 500 company states they are not satisfied with the current quality level, and that too many of their quality concerns are supplier to quality performance and the quality of supplied materials. They requested that this issue be resolved immediately as they need suppliers that are capable of delivering superior products and services that meet their quality requirements.
What is especially concerning, though, is that suppliers often serve more than one customer and the supplier letter sent by the Fortune 500 company, may not be confined to an isolated case.
International Standards Organization’s ISO 9001:2015 helps suppliers provide better quality due to its control requirements to provide the operational disciplines to achieve objective zero defects. A prerequisite for consistently reaching a zero-defect status is through the adoption of a risk-based approach in developing its product realization plan.
A risk-based approach determines the likelihood of occurrence that can impact the operations to cause non-conformances. The mitigation activities are the preventive controls that form the Plan to avoid the non-conformance. Therefore, at every step towards the final product – controls are determined at the planning stage to ensure that the required intended quality is achieved throughout the process.
The issues referenced in the Fortune 500 supplier letter are addressed in ISO 9001:2015. While only using functions selectively cannot guarantee improvements, adopting the complete ISO 90015 allows suppliers to get a full management system as the components are synergistic.
About the Author
Jeffery Lewis, FCQI, CQP, is a quality management consultant for Manex Consulting. Lewis has more than 10 years of experience in quality and safety management and founded the company Safety in Your Hand.