Many Quality Managers and business owners agree that managing ISO for small business is a nightmare!. Why? For the simple reason, most ISO management is performed manually; therefore, time-consuming.
Moreover, managing ISO’s corrective actions, preventative actions, quality assurance checklists, and countless other related documentation, is done the old fashioned way, using Word and Excel.
Using a manual method for ISO management is extremely tedious, due to the amount of paperwork.
How do we know?
When we first started systematizing our business, Microsoft Word or Excel was our go-to software for creating, updating and tracking documents in our Operations Manual. However, initially using this manual method for systematizing our company, caused our on-time delivery and quality to be unmatched in our area. In short, it worked!
For this reason, the opportunity presented itself to be a preferred vendor for Nintendo, an ISO-certified company. Due to our systematization, we were ready to go.
With our new opportunity, we were required to pass an extensive Nintendo audit for how we guaranteed quality. In other words, we had to show Nintendo Quality Auditors a detailed Quality Manual, a DOCUMENTED SYSTEM for how we assured quality product, equipment maintenance, shipping, on-boarding of jobs and data backup, etc.
In fact, our Quality Manual demonstrated, with step-by-step procedures, how our production facility operated, focusing on QUALITY. Nothing left to chance!
To be sure, it was a memorable day, passing the Nintendo audit and being awarded certified and preferred vendor status. Still, it took a while to successfully get a handle on managing our ISO documentation.
Light Bulb Went Off for Better ISO Management
One day, being extremely frustrated managing ISO documentation, a light bulb went off—we need A SYSTEM TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM!
In short, we needed a CHECKLIST for managing new documents and document changes to keep our Operations Manual current.
We discovered, if just ONE prompt on our new-found checklist was NOT performed, it caused more setbacks later. For this reason, checklist compliance is critical in ISO management.
Although tedious, at times, performing this Document Change/Update Checklist WORKED!
However, as a small business dealing with the complexities, the nightmare of ISO management, we knew this checklist was an ANSWER for sustaining ISO documentation.
Truth is, this is where the continual improvement process happens!
Ending the Nightmare
Long before we became a preferred vendor for Nintendo, we were in the process of developing an online software for automating the process of document development and management. This involved pulling reports for any given period, on root causes, cost of errors per employee, list of documents updated to reduce errors, etc.
Subsequently, this saved countless labor hours. In addition, these reports were especially helpful when doing employee reviews.
Our automated system for document management, corrective actions, preventive actions, made the ISO nightmare vanish, along with countless other business frustrations.
To be sure, after development was completed, we proudly demonstrated our online management software to an ISO auditor for Nintendo. To our surprise, at the end of the demo, he said, “You guys are beyond ISO. This should be in the hands of every business!”
By the way, this new automation process for ISO management of documents led to a new career and a second business. Gratefully, our software is now being used around the world.
Did I mention? GREAT SYSTEMS WORK!