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 April 1997 Article

Rockwell Leverages ISO 14000 and ISO 9000 Management Systems

by Annette Dennis McCully

Rockwell Automation has effectively integrated ISO 14001 with ISO 9001, despite the complications of multiple sites and internationally and locally disparate regulatory requirements.

Rockwell International companies are leveraging management systems in two creative, resourceful ways. Because Rockwell Automation has ISO 9001 in place, the company is building its ISO 14000 management system on top of the systems put in place through certification to ISO 9001. In addition, Rockwell's Collins Avionics and Communications is using Rockwell Automation as a model to integrate ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 management systems. They will draw heavily on the other company's experience as they pursue certification. Both companies feel that quality and environmental issues are inextricably entwined.

"The environment and workplace safety are really quality issues,"  explains Roger Hartel, vice president for quality assurance, environmental management and safety at Rockwell Automation in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. "In all these cases, we are assuring that things go the way we want them to go. Failure to do so is a quality problem. The disciplines and methodologies that apply to quality apply perfectly to these other areas."  With all major Rockwell Automation sites certified to ISO 9001 and six sites certified to ISO 14001, Hartel can speak knowledgeably about the meshing of these systems.

Quality Digest spoke with Hartel about integrating ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 at Rockwell Automation. We also spoke with Darrell Kula, director of environmental affairs, and Primus Ridgeway, director of quality assurance, at Rockwell's Collins Avionics and Communications Division, where they are just beginning to leverage ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 systems, using Hartel's integrated management systems as a model.

Rockwell International, which has nearly 60,000 employees at 150 sites worldwide, is composed of four divisions: Rockwell Automation, Rockwell Avionics & Communications, Rockwell Semiconductor Systems and Rockwell Automotive. The combined companies had 1996 annual sales of $10.4 billion. Rockwell Automation, which represents 42 percent of the parent corporation's annual sales, develops industrial automation used in manufacturing, mining, food production, waste-water treatment and mass transit. Products include control logic, sensors, human-machine interface, motors, power transmission devices and software. Rockwell Automation has 25,000 employees and 71 plants, and is active in 74 countries.

The company developed and implemented a total quality management system in the late 1970s. "TQMS was a very ISO 9000-like system,"  explains Hartel. "We saw it as a means to help us achieve quality leadership, which has been a key element of our success in the marketplace."

Because the company already had several sites registered to BS 5750, and the European Union was preparing to institute ISO 9000, they saw becoming certified to ISO 9000 as a way to facilitate international business, says Hartel. The first third-party audit for several facilities took place in December 1990.

Internal and external drivers

Hartel begins by explaining the logic of ISO 9000 certification: "In talking about ISO 9000, we don't refer to it as a quality standard, but rather as a management system. ISO 9000 is a methodology that allows you to take anything that you feel is important and do it well, consistently, and with continuous improvement. This helps everyone understand what is being done and how it is being done. The management system instills a discipline and a process that allows us to take a rather large organization and bring it up to speed fairly quickly."

Rockwell has built upon TQMS in the past 20 years to formalize its procedures and has now increased the speed with which it can implement change, adds Hartel. ISO 9000 has become a tool for accomplishing goals. Another advantage is that they consistently practice their methodologies, which forces them to become skilled and to be more responsive. "It's a living system, with a huge amount of work force involvement and significant internal networks for training, deployment and knowledge,"  declares Hartel.

Using ISO 9000 certification as a model, Hartel explains that external drivers include the competition and the customers. "We viewed ISO 9000 as a customer-satisfaction tool because it causes international customers to have fewer questions about who or what we are,"  he says. "They also spend less money to do business with us. Many companies that embark upon doing business with us perform site visits and quality audits to examine our systems. When a majority of company sites are ISO 9000-certified, that company has already had a third-party audit, so it may not be necessary for the customer to conduct audits."  It's easier to deal with an ISO 9000-certified company than one that isn't, adds Hartel.


" In talking about ISO 9000, we don't refer to it as a quality standard, but rather as a management system. It allows you to take anything that you feel is important and do it well, consistently, and with continuous improvement."

Applying ISO 14000

"Rockwell's vision has to do with how we want to be perceived by our communities, shareowners, customers and employees,"  emphasizes Hartel. "ISO 14000 and the environment in general is about how we influence the world around us. The people around us judge us critically as a company, so we have very little choice but to pay very, very close attention to what kind of environmental citizen we are."

ISO 14000 is consistent with the company's goals and principles, and the environment is of personal importance to most employees, observes Hartel. Pointing out that this is good environmental citizenship, he explains that it is also good business. ISO 14000 is about managing in a proactive, engineered, disciplined way so as not to cause environmental problems or to waste energy, he says.

Primus Ridgeway explains that all four Rockwell Avionics and Communications' major divisions are ISO 9001-certified. Rockwell's Collins Avionics & Communications Division has 10,000 employees and represents 14 percent of Rockwell International's annual sales. CACD is headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with offices, manufacturing plants and service centers worldwide. Its customers include the Department of Defense, NASA, FAA and all major airframers, such as Boeing.

Darrell Kula serves on the Corporate Environmental Council for Rockwell International. When this team discussed implementing ISO 14001 into the corporation, they realized that the environmental process is compliance-driven while ISO 14001 is procedure-driven.

"We wondered if the end results of a compliance-based system were what we really wanted to have,"  explains Kula. "It looked as though the procedure-based process would be a stretch. However, we already had the procedure-based ISO 9001 for the corporation. In talking to the auditors for ISO 9001, it became apparent that it was more cost-beneficial to us to do ISO 14001 in conjunction with ISO 9001." 

Kula adds that the quality group needs two things from their environmental counterparts: what environmental systems they already have in place from a compliance perspective, and how these components can be applied to the procedural format; and how the procedures are written because this can be crucial when the EPA performs outside audits. If procedures are tightly written, a deviation from achieving desired results can result in civil and criminal penalties. "Procedures need to be written to adequately identify and validate environmental management systems,"  advises Kula.

Leveraging the two systems

Regarding their planning stages for ISO 14000, Ridgeway says: "Darrell Kula and I have decided to use the ISO 9001 management system model for ISO 14000 implementation. We intend to leverage ISO 9001 completely. We feel that the environmental management system can leverage directly into the ISO 9001 framework. We can use the same approach and apply the same methodologies to get what we need, then promulgate it throughout the company."

They are assessing their current environmental management system through the ISO 14000 format. Then they will look at the infrastructure surrounding ISO 9001 implementation and maintenance, and will use a best-fit methodology to try to piggyback ISO 14000 onto existing systems. "There is a definite overlap of the two systems, but there has been no attempt until now to evaluate them from a management systems integration perspective,"  says Ridgeway.

In applying the disciplines of ISO 9000 to ISO 14000, Hartel explains: "We leverage the management system we developed as part of the quality system to achieve the same kinds of environmental principles across the company. Commercially, we're seeing a very rapid worldwide interest in ISO 14000."

    When the company does business in Japan and Europe, they notice a tremendous push to become green. "The worldwide awareness of environment is accelerating rapidly,"  finds Hartel. "During the week that we went through our ISO 14001 audit, we had requests for bids from European customers with extensive questions about our environmental management processes. Based on what we are seeing, we feel that ISO 14000 could be a bigger commercial issue than ISO 9000 -- and it may happen faster. When ISO 9000 cranked up, it was quite a time before we had inquiries about certification."


" Based on what we are seeing, we feel that ISO 14000 could be a bigger commercial issue than ISO 9000 -- and it may happen faster."

Integrating the systems

In terms of what can transfer from ISO 9000 to ISO 14000, the entire management process can be carried over, such as the  environmental management policy that drives the procedures and defines how   issues outlined in the policy will be managed, says Hartel. Statements of responsibility for the work force, training, the audit process, the closed-loop improvement process and results measurement are elements of both systems.

" When you think of these as management systems, the management processes apply 100 percent,"  observes Hartel. "The technologies are different, but, as a business dealing with some environmental issues, it is necessary to have staff who technically understand these issues. When the two are merged together, it is necessary to apply the management system, discipline, audit process and the closed-loop process of the quality system with the technical process of the environmental management activity. This is why we were able to do it as quickly as we did, although there was some very hard work on the part of the team."

Leveraging audit team skills

Because the company has a large cadre of internal auditors, they can do peer auditing, that is, auditors from one area going to audit another area. The lead auditors also train other auditors. The first facility to be certified to ISO 14001 was the electronics manufacturing and assembly facility at Twinsburg, Ohio.

" We put a model together based on merging the two systems and our policy,"  explains Hartel. "They turned the Rockwell Automation Cares environmental handbook created by environmental staff at the Milwaukee headquarters into environmental policy. After doing research and reading, they put an implementation team together made up of two employees with environmental responsibilities and three quality system auditors."

They also benchmarked a company that was certified to the draft ISO 140001 standard. The team then mapped out a strategy using the existing environmental guidelines within the company and converting these into the necessary documents to drive the process. The 1993 environmental guidelines contained many of the appropriate components but lacked the level of discipline the team wanted for ISO 14001, so they fine-tuned them.

" We had a comprehensive environmental program, so we had to turn the Cares guidelines into very specific policy that explained not only what should be done but precisely how it would be done and how it would be verified,"  recalls Hartel. "A pervasive training was required, more disciplined than we had had. ISO 14001 required increased levels of discipline and structure to ensure reliability. The whole process, including training across the work force, took 10 days."

But don't think it's easy

Hartel points out that they were able to accomplish their ISO 14001 process quickly because they had a strongly disciplined quality system that was embraced by their work force, and because they had environmental management system elements that were effectively deployed. Their Cares guidelines were more stringent than compliance in terms of recycling and energy conservation; plus, when the team turned it into policy, they added components beyond the scope of ISO 14001 conformance. In addition, the fast-paced certification was an asset in itself because employees became deeply involved in the process, reports Hartel.

" The employees are absolutely delighted with the certification and program,"  says Hartel. "They love it. They are proud of what they do. ISO 14001 is more personal to employees than ISO 9000 because it deals with the working environment, home environment, drinking water, perhaps brownouts in the summer because energy has been wasted. They see ISO 14001 not just as a good thing for the business but a good thing for them personally."

Ridgeway emphasizes that the ISO 9001 model is an excellent way to draw employees in. "We used ISO 9001 to raise awareness of quality assurance so that employees understood that they had a personal responsibility, and we were successful,"  he says.

Related issues

Hartel laments the tabling of a potential ISO standard for safety and health, which he says could have been a good standard. However, Rockwell is considering inventing their own management system for safety and health. At present, the company uses the quality people as a network to control and deploy documents, and may incorporate safety and health issues into this network as well as into their internal audits.

The environmental management system does, of course, incorporate some safety and health-related issues. They recently utilized the emergency response system that is a part of ISO 14001 and were pleased to discover that it functioned flawlessly. Although it was determined that no serious hazard existed, the employees were pleased that they were able to respond to a potential danger rapidly and effectively.

Contractors on-site undergo training to conform to a wide range of rules that apply on-site, including ISO 9000 and ISO 14001 components. Suppliers must comply with the most stringent rules worldwide regarding hazardous materials contained in their products because there are prohibitions on some items in some parts of the world. "Because we operate worldwide, the most stringent requirements -- whether local or overseas -- become the standard for all suppliers,"  explains Hartel.

Successful integration

Rockwell Automation has effectively integrated ISO 14001 with ISO 9001, despite the complications of multiple sites and internationally and locally disparate regulatory requirements. The additional integration of health and safety management systems of their own design will make Rockwell Automation procedures a comprehensive model of ISO system integration for other large companies.


About the author

Annette Dennis McCully, owner of McCully Technical Services in Kirkland, Washington, is a technical writer and science journalist who develops corporate policies, technical handbooks, marketing communications and newsletters. In addition to her articles on ISO 14000 issues that appear regularly in International Environmental Systems Update newsletter, published by CEEM Information Services, McCully developed several sections of CEEM's ISO 14000 Handbook and ISO 14000 Case Studies.

For more information, contact Annette McCully at McCully Technical Services, 14351-109th Ave. N.E., Kirkland, WA  98034. Telephone (206) 488-3480, fax (206) 485-9232 or e-mail amccully @aol.com.

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