Profiting From the Changing ISO 9001 for Moldmaking, Molding and OEM/End Users

ISO 9001:2000 is here - are you ready?

Last Autumn, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) released the new ISO 9001:2000. The revision included: The merging of ISO 9001:1994, ISO 9002:1994 and ISO 9003:1994 into a single ISO 9001:2000 standard - creating new challenges for moldmakers to meet.

The changes involved with ISO 9001:2000 will require users to approach quality management systems as a series of processes, and not merely follow the elements and structure given to ISO 9001:1994. This process management approach is widely used in today's business world and has led to the development of a process-based structure for the new standard. This new process-based structure is consistent with the Shewhart/Deming continuous quality improvement cycle - Plan-Do-Study-Act.

For the plastics industry, the process-based system starts with the OEM/end users' product design carried out by the suppliers participating - toolmaker, manufacturing equipment, plastic materials, warranties and product life cycle expectations.

Supply Chain Integration

The achievement of business systems aligning with strategic business objectives is imperative. Management systems must enable the business to accomplish its goals. The use of multiple management systems is increasingly popular, and common system elements should be aligned accordingly. The senior management must support the program in order to be successful in ISO 9001 compliance and in achieving desired performance results. The system must be transparent to the way in which the various supply chain contributors operate. ISO 9001:2000 provides an emphasis on arranging procedures that enable the successful deployment of your business strategy in a practical manner.

If you think about it, moldmakers provide the molds to injection molders that mold components, an assembly company that assembles the product and an end user who started the whole thing in design. Another quality link to the supply chain includes connecting resin selection and the resin/compound-supply site to plant molding machines. ISO 9001 calls for the product cycle to be shortened throughout the integration chain by a more active leadership role. Connectivity really starts with relationships. Some large resin producers are talking to some strategic customers about helping to finance tooling. That is the first step.

Once resin suppliers enter into tooling, they will have physical, hard assets. Resin suppliers have small customers growing at 20 to 25 percent - they cannot always afford the tooling required to sustain growth. Resin suppliers certainly can. Those with the deepest pockets are the end users and resin suppliers.

Moldmakers have attempted to form tighter partnerships with their customers, especially during product development. That allows them to make suggestions that might simplify the tooling and to reserve time in their schedule to coincide with the customer.

ISO 9001 changes mean original equipment manufacturers need to form alliances with their plastics molders, resin suppliers and tool builders - to the point where OEMs review the supplier's cost to ensure they get a reasonable profit and suppliers get long-term commitments. Many OEMs are anxious to shed manufacturing and focus on their core strengths of product development and marketing. OEMs simply cannot afford to maintain experts on design for manufacturability in plastic; that is the gap that successful companies are bridging with resin suppliers, moldmakers and molder.

Making Connections

Medical and automotive customers want closer ties with suppliers. To achieve this, they are asking suppliers to take the following steps:

  • Cut product development time. Five years ago, it took 24 to 36 months; it now takes 12 to 14 months.
  • Reduce tooling costs as much as 60 percent.
  • Take 35 percent off tool-qualification time, mainly by using pressure transducers in the mold to provide real-time feedback during processing. Molders need to explore more automation process technology.
  • Chrysler plans to build a disciplined supplier network and Supplier Cost Reduction Effort (SCORE). The company expects suppliers to deliver over $2 billion in cost savings over the next few months.
  • Ford is asking suppliers to double to six percent their cost-saving goals for 2001 over 2000 levels.

The upcoming MoldMaking 2001 expo - taking place April 3-5 in Rosemont, IL - will provide the most up-to-date training solutions, tools and methods for the moldmaking industry. Addressing these issues, a panel moderated by this author will help moldmakers succeed with implementing the ISO 9001 standard successfully. The seminar will provide ISO 9001 quality manual direction, quality policy, process mapping, samples of procedures and forms. In clear, non-technical terms you will learn how to interpret the standard for your business; determine the cost and length of time you need to invest in the certification process; focus on the areas of quality assurance that are subject to a rigorous audit during certification and determine your company's readiness.

This event is the first conference dedicated to explaining the total advanced quality planning process with clarity and detail, especially as it pertains to the Big Three's standardized approach (QS-9000). The seminar will clarify and itemize the requirements of Chrysler, GM and Ford, as well as the majority of the Tier 1 suppliers. It will provide a list of exactly what they would like to see implemented in their supplier's processes, enhancing the ability to develop and produce products and systems that will satisfy their customers. The Plastics ISO 9000 Model covers moldmaking, molding and plastic selection, and serves other markets as well - appliances, computers, telecommunications, aerospace and all industrial products requiring tool building.

Quality Recognition for Marketing Communications

Many suppliers choose to demonstrate conformance to ISO 9001 through third-party registration. Some customers may require this. However, the standard itself considers a company's self-declaration of conformance as an acceptable alternative. Further, some companies simply use the ISO 9001 model for internal purposes as a means to boost their quality performance. But now, experts have written a how-to guide to make the system profitable for your business by increasing efficiency and market share, improving customer satisfaction and creating a sound business strategy for quality systems.

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