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A Recently Overheard Conversation Between a Plater and ISO 9000 Auditor

Auditor: Mr. Management Representative, I've just completed my audit.
Plater: That's good.
Auditor: No, that's bad. I found nonconformances in every single clause of the quality model. Let's take the first clause, §4.1 Management Responsibility. Under this clause is §4.1.1 Quality Policy. Now, you are supposed to ensure that this quality policy is understood, implemented, and maintained at all levels of the organization. When I asked one your operators where I could find a copy of this policy, he pointed to the controlled copy of your quality manual, which you maintain on the shop floor.
Plater: That's good.
Auditor: No that's bad, because I noticed out of the corner of my eye that someone was jumping up and down behind me and wildly pointing to the manual. I found out that this guy in the fireman's boots, rubber apron, and Deerstalker cap is your consultant, so I asked him to leave the plant. When I went over your quality manual, under clause §4.1.2 Organization, and then § Responsibility and authority, I observed that your procedure does not include an inspection of finished parts by the Plating Foreman.
Plater: That's bad.
Auditor: No, that's good. Because that is consistent with the way you control quality in your plant. It is fine that you don't have a separate quality control department and that you don't have inspection by a foreman for your rack plated nickel chromium line. You don't have to create any fictitious organization charts where the same person reports to herself in 5 different places. It is no disgrace to say you don't have a separate quality department. And you don't have to add analysis or inspection to anything unless it affects quality.
Look at what §4.10.2 Receiving inspection and testing says: "The supplier shall ensure that incoming product is not used or processed...until it has been inspected or otherwise verified as conforming to specifications.."
You receive cleaner from a vendor, does this mean that you have to test the cleaner somehow before you can use it? The answer is 'most likely not'. Nonconforming product from your operation is almost never associated with a bad batch of cleaner from your vendor, so there is no advantage to doing any testing of incoming cleaner. If an audit by any party (internal or external) of nonconforming product found that a bad batch of cleaner caused rejects on your plating line, your company would have to decide what to do about it. It is conceivable, although unlikely, that you might add an incoming inspection to that cleaner at that time.
Getting back to your audit, here is what really happens in your manual chrome plating line: Each plater is responsible for inspecting his own work. He picks up new work from the Shipping/Receiving department with a shop order that has the following instruction:

Nickel and Chrome per WI-125 
Certification Required for nickel thickness.

The plater looks up the part number and finds:
Rack #245, 4 pieces/rack. Clean per cycle #1, Nickel plate 40 amps, 30 minutes, Chromium plate, 200 amps, 3 minutes.
He has plated this part before, so he knows how to rack the parts, but he can verify the proper racking arrangement by looking at the Work Instruction. The Management Representative maintains a control chart on the nickel thickness on this part, and the process is in control, so the plater just plates and takes the proper sample for nickel thickness. In this case, it was two pieces. So the plater separated two pieces out of the lot, so you could get a plating thickness for your control chart.
Plater: That's good.
Auditor: No, that's bad. Because some of the parts had a burn in the high current density area. Your plater is supposed to inspect the parts, which he did, but your procedure does not say what he is supposed to do after that. If the plater is inspecting his own work, you need a mechanism to find out why the process didn't work when it doesn't so you can start §4.14 Corrective and preventive action. You need to have a procedure for §4.13 Control of nonconforming product, which includes §4.13.2 Review and disposition of nonconforming product. Now what should have happened is that when a part is rejected internally (by your inspector who happens to be the plater), it should
1. Be recorded somewhere.
2. A procedure should be available for how to rework the product, in this case it would be a procedure for stripping chrome and nickel for that part.
3. A record of the rework should be made for §4.17 Internal Quality Audits, §4.1.3 Management Review, possibly§4.2.3 Quality Planning, and whatever clause you may find needs attention based on the corrective action and management review. Right now, your plater is stripping and replating the work without doing any of these things.
Plater: That's bad.
Auditor: No, that's good. How are you supposed to make any money to pay for this audit if you don't keep getting work out the door? You can bring your quality system into compliance with ISO 9002 without going bankrupt. Also, as long as you don't have any major nonconformities with the ISO standard, you sometimes will get a few months to change the system without having to go through a complete audit. The auditor will come back and only check on the progress you made on the things which were wrong.
By the way, ISO9002 is the same as Q9002 if you are from the United States, we just had to be different, didn't we?.
Plater: Well, let me go find my consultant, If he knows how to handle a lawnmower, I'll let him do some landscaping.
Auditor: That's good.

-- Tom Pullizzi,

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