When Chuck Weygand first joined
Donaldson Co. Inc. as the Minneapolis firm's U.S. quality
systems manager in 1988, it was almost impossible to walk
through a Donaldson plant without encountering some type
In those years, Donaldson, a global manufacturer of filtration
systems such as mufflers and air cleaners for trucks and
heavy equipment vehicles, was running what Weygand describes
as "the Audit of the Month Club to meet the requirements
of 50 customers a year in 10 [U.S.] locations."
Do the math and it quickly becomes clear why Weygand and
Donaldson officials chose ISO 9000 as a means of "eliminating
redundant audits." Once they embarked on the ISO 9000
process using BSI Management Systems as their registrar,
however, Donaldson was able to cut audits to two a year
in all locations, or to less than half of the previous audit
Nine years and numerous audits later, many Donaldson plants
have earned registration to either ISO 9000 or the QS-9000
automotive variant mandated by the Big Three automakers.
Today, Weygand is preparing plants to become registered
to ISO/TS 16949, the international standard replacing QS-9000.
Donaldson plans to work closely with BSI to ease the transition.
Donaldson overcame various challenges in nearly a decade
of meeting ISO 9000-based quality management requirements
at multiple sites. Weygand believes both the earlier ISO
9000 and QS-9000 efforts paved the way to the more process-oriented
approach that ISO/TS 16949 supports.
As a tier-one automotive supplier, Donaldson has long
maintained two core divisions in the United States, the
Industrial/Commercial Group and the Engine Systems/Parts
Group. The business units are headquartered in Minneapolis,
where sales, engineering, research and development, and
corporate administration are carried out. Currently, 18
plants in the United States and Mexico serve these two divisions,
along with 21 other global sites. "At the time we started
ISO 9000, the engine business was organized into market
business units: transportation (e.g., truck, bus and light
vehicle), off-road (e.g., construction, agriculture and
mining) and aftermarket," recalls Weygand. "Each
of these units had its own sales and engineering organizations.
ISO 9000 and QS-9000 caused Donaldson to define the systems
these groups use, including product complexity, which led
to more consistency across businesses. The ISO 9000 and
QS-9000 processes forced us to define the ownership of various
Of Donaldson's 18 North American plants, 13 are now registered
to QS-9000, two are ISO 9000-registered, and a new plant
in Monterrey, Mexico, is just beginning its ISO 9000 registration
process. Nearly all overseas Donaldson plants--at least
17 locations on four continents--are also ISO 9000-registered.
The challenges of meeting ISO 9000 and QS-9000 registration
requirements for multiple sites were "pretty typical,"
according to Weygand. "We had to write procedures,
of course, and it's always a challenge not to go overboard
and write thousands of pages."
He also found that involving management in the process
was critical. "Just understanding their role, which
is now a requirement of specific pieces of ISO 9001 and
QS-9000, was problematic because our matrix system didn't
match the ISO 9000 or QS-9000 chart," he explains.
"Each business unit, whether off-road, transportation
or the defense group, had its own engineering and sales
people, which meant several different functions all doing
things in a slightly different fashion. It was hard for
us, for example, to find someone with the title of 'design
control' when you have four or five managers with the same
responsibility. Then it's difficult to get them all to function
in a consistent manner," which the standard requires.
To address these concerns, Donaldson management formed
a leadership team, a group of director-level and upper management
people. Guided by Engine Business Senior Vice President
Nick Priadka and Operations Senior Vice President Lowell
Schwab, the team was assigned the responsibility of translating
the ISO 9000/QS-9000 systems to cover all company functions.
"Management didn't change the overall matrix system
but found a way to communicate and work within it,"
No sooner had Donaldson plants earned ISO 9000 registration
when some had to begin tackling the specific requirements
of QS-9000. Registration to QS-9000 was eventually completed
in 1997. The main challenge of that process was advanced
product quality planning, which Weygand says forced Donaldson
into defining the planning process across several functions
such as sales, engineering and manufacturing. "Until
then, we'd done a fair share of throwing it over the wall:
Sales would finish with a customer, send the order onto
engineering and then hand it to manufacturing and say, 'Build
it,'" he recalls. "QS-9000 forced us to talk collectively
and do so in a more structured fashion."
Never underestimate communication issues inherent in a
corporation, especially one as far-flung as Donaldson. "In
a sense, various departments spoke different languages,"
notes Weygand. "QS-9000 has a lot to do with defining
roles--who's supposed to do what and do it consistently.
It forced us to define what we do with our many customers
and then do that consistently."
Eventually, the leadership team developed an internal
system based on the APQP requirements customized to the
issues facing the corporation. There's since been a decrease
in product introduction problems, which has resulted in
faster time to market.
Although other companies have struggled with the customer
satisfaction elements of QS-9000, Weygand says that it wasn't
much of a problem because Donaldson had some well-defined
customer satisfaction processes already in place. For example,
sales and customer service personnel meet quarterly to discuss
customer needs and concerns. Follow-up communication is
emphasized so customers' demands--whether for on-time delivery
or product specifics--are met.
The work of involving upper management, documenting procedures,
developing communication channels between departments, defining
standardized processes across market groups and emphasizing
continuous improvement--a major facet of both QS-9000 and
ISO 9000:2000--has supported an easy transition to ISO/TS
16949 for the company's U.S. engine sector. This group,
which is responsible for approximately 50 percent of Donaldson
sales, has been the first to work on becoming registered
to the new standard. A final audit is expected in late May.
Officially rolled out about a year ago, ISO/TS 16949:2002
is fully aligned with ISO 9001:2000. Besides the focus on
continuous improvement--the hallmark of both ISO 9001:2000
and QS-9000--the new standard also emphasizes defect prevention
and reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain,
and spells out automotive sector-specific requirements for
its suppliers in:
Awareness and training
Design and development
Production and service provision
Control of monitoring and measuring devices
Measurement, analysis and improvement
Donaldson will eventually register most of its plants
to the new standard, notes Weygand. A major reason is that
ISO/TS 16949 has become the standard of choice for the Big
Three automakers, which are requiring suppliers to earn
registration as soon as possible. "DaimlerChrysler
will no longer accept QS-9000 after 2004, and Ford and GM
after 2006," he says. "Some of our truck customers
also require the new standard."
There are other practical reasons to switch as well. The
1994 version of ISO 9000 is set to expire in about a year,
and QS-9000 won't be updated to include the year 2000 ISO
9000 revisions. "By switching to ISO/TS 16949, Donaldson
doesn't have to carry dual registrations or update the old
ISO 9000 or QS-9000 registrations," he explains.
As Weygand and his quality team dove into the ISO/TS 16949
process, they learned once again how much their ISO 9000
and QS-9000 experiences have set the stage for the new standard.
They've found the ISO 9001:2000 process a strong steppingstone
to the international automotive standard.
After reviewing the new standard and assessing the gaps
between the company's current quality system and the requirements
of ISO/TS 16949, Weygand says they've mainly focused on
creating a system for process design control. Under ISO
9000 and QS-9000, they looked at product design control,
which defines the input and output of the product itself.
Process design control takes a step back and examines the
manufacturing process that produces the product, he explains.
Like its antecedents, ISO/TS 16949 registration is a very
people-oriented experience. "It's not just looking
at the product and figuring out how to design and manufacture
filters," he observes. "It's about communication.
To go from ISO to QS to TS, you have to look at how your
people interact, and you have to remove barriers so they
can interact earlier and better. Sometimes it's frustrating
to deal with the structure this imposes, but we realize
it's good for us."
ISO/TS 16949 presented Donaldson with a number of challenges.
The following are examples that, once overcome, proved particularly
Widening customer communication. ISO/TS 16949 forces
Donaldson into clear specification communication. "For
example, much of the emphasis on QS-9000 was with the Big
Three automakers and a few of the truck manufacturers,"
explains Weygand. "ISO/TS 16949 is causing us to broaden
and define specification communication with all customers."
Improving product performance. "We have systems
in place to define the groups that must review and sign
off on customer statements of requirements for product performance,"
explains Weygand. "In one case, it caused a full-team
review of a temperature-specific material requirement, which
in the past might have only involved engineering."
Involving sales and manufacturing. The standard
also helps sales to ask better questions, and all routes
to market are involved, not just the OEMs. Including process
design control has led to earlier involvement by manufacturing
operations and other departments such as plant engineering
Refining the project approval process. Project
approval has been refined beyond QS-9000 to include a multipart
procedure and checklist and to speed allocation of resources.
This is especially helpful on more complex programs that
might involve new technologies or new applications of existing
technologies. All new programs are reviewed by a project
approval committee, which has helped departments allocate
their resources based on program complexity. Donaldson is
designing a Web-based application to allow departments access
to timelines and other project-specific information.
Supplier requirements. ISO/TS 16949 requires that
Donaldson's 1,300 suppliers be ISO/TS 16949-compliant and
ISO 9001:2000-registered. Recognizing that this might be
difficult for some suppliers with small or limited resources,
Donaldson has offered guidance to those that choose to earn
registration to either standard. However, the company has
made it clear that ISO 9000 registration is a condition
of doing business and has stopped adding new suppliers that
aren't registered or don't have detailed plans to be so.
Weygand's advice to others pursuing the ISO/TS 16949 path
is to forgo outside consultants and develop a homegrown
approach to registration. Unless a company actually does
the hard work of developing processes and procedures and
making its own assessments, it won't reap the benefits of
the work or take ownership of the process.
And though he can quote the hard costs of auditing, he's
never tallied the soft costs such as internal quality management
meetings. "We decided early on that this was something
we had to do," he remarks. "We've since reorganized
into product-oriented groups, and these defined systems--along
with the customer focus of ISO/TS 16949--have allowed us
to maintain our consistency regardless of the customer or
Amy Zuckerman is an expert in standards, technology and
global trends. She's the author of eight books and numerous
articles relating to standards, technology and global trade.
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