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Status Report   

QS-9000 and
the TE Supplement:
Understanding the Difference

Tooling and equipment companies must comply with QS-9000 and its TE Supplement, but registrars can't register those companies to either. Seeking ISO 9000 registration while implementing the TE Supplement may be the solution.

by Jerry Rogers

Currently, automotive tooling and equipment suppliers aren't required or even permitted to be registered to QS-9000. But they will have to demonstrate compliance to QS-9000's Tooling and Equipment Supplement, which ensures that these suppliers understand and practice the techniques in QS-9000 that relate to tooling and equipment. In addition, Ford Motor Co. recently required 600 "key" TE suppliers to seek ISO 9001 or ISO 9002 registration.

Easier said than done. The problem is that registrars won't register tooling and equipment suppliers to either QS-9000 or the TE Supplement, a situation that has put some suppliers in a quandary. Companies seeking a solution must consider their objectives as well as their customers' requirements. Automakers soon may insist upon registration--which requires a third-party audit--from tooling and equipment suppliers, but there's nothing they can do about it now except demonstrate compliance to the TE Supplement.

However, there is a way to prepare for this possible third-party registration and demonstrate compliance to the supplement: Companies could become third-party registered to ISO 9000 but include the QS-9000 and TE Supplement requirements in their documented quality systems.

This approach creates a win-win situation because compliance to the supplement includes compliance to QS-9000. The supplement states, "QS-9000 shall be implemented in its entirety, with exceptions as defined in the TE Supplement (all ISO 9001 requirements apply; changes and deletions will be made only to the QS-9000 sections). The TE Supplement-specified requirements are in addition to QS-9000." The supplement contains some new requirements and changes and deletes some of the QS-9000 requirements. So while third-party registration is not required, in essence, compliance is.

Supplement scoop

The Tooling and Equipment Supplement to QS-9000, released in August 1996, was prepared by a subcommittee of the Supplier Quality Requirements Task Force along with representatives from Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. The supplement intends to:

  Provide an interpretation of QS-9000 requirements as they apply to tooling and equipment suppliers.

  Commonize quality system requirements from Chrysler, Ford and General Motors.

  Promote effective use of reliability and maintainability principles.


To comply with the supplement, tooling and equipment suppliers must develop and document quality systems that meet QS-9000 and/or TE Supplement requirements. These systems should include a quality policy and manual, procedures, work instructions and records. Suppliers must demonstrate not only that the documented quality systems meet all requirements, but also that they have been implemented and are effective.

A documented quality system's structure and organization should be the same for QS-9000 and the TE Supplement. Both contain 20 elements in Section I, but not all the requirements are the same. Section II contains three elements, in the standard as well as the supplement, with differing requirements. Both specify customer-specific requirements in Section III; again, they are not the same. The TE Supplement also contains appendixes and a glossary, which differ from those in QS-9000.

The TE Supplement is designed to improve quality, reliability, maintainability and durability of products supplied to Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. To accomplish this, suppliers must develop and implement quality management systems that provide for structured control and continuous improvement, utilizing defect prevention and reducing process variation and waste.

Anticipating registration

Companies that opt for third-party    registration to ISO 9000 and include      requirements from QS-9000 and the TE Supplement will benefit themselves on three counts: They will be demonstrating compliance to QS-9000 and the TE Supplement, realizing the benefits of compliance and setting up their facilities for third-party registration, should it become required.

With this approach, it is necessary to understand the differences between the TE Supplement and QS-9000 requirements. They include:

4.1--Management Responsibility. Suppliers must commit to reliability, maintainability and durability by including these in their quality objectives.

4.2--Quality System. Suppliers must use an advanced quality planning process, embracing reliability and maintainability throughout the life-cycle process. The Reliability and Maintainability Guidelines manual must be used as a reference. Feasibility reviews are required, but a different team-feasibility review form is included in Appendix II of the TE Supplement. FMEAs and control plans are required, but the requirements are customized to the tooling and equipment business.

4.4--Design Control. Design-responsible suppliers should be qualified in additional skills such as mean time to repair, mean time between failures, fault tree analysis and life-cycle cost--all of which are defined in the Reliability and Maintainability Guidelines. An analysis of test data and projections of reliability, maintainability, durability and life-cycle cost are added requirements in the design output section.

Added requirements in design verification include a focus on reliability, maintainability and durability during performance testing; using predictive reliability and maintainability techniques; and using accelerated life tests on crucial components. Suppliers are also required to maintain a design change log through each phase of the machinery build.

4.6--Purchasing. Subcontractor development must use the TE Supplement, sections I and II, as the fundamental quality system requirement.

4.8--Product Identification and Traceability. Suppliers must establish and maintain tracking systems for components and subassemblies, identifying the components to their next operation and by their job number, and cross-referencing engineering drawings and bills of materials.

4.9--Process Control. The TE Supplement changes and deletes some of the requirements added by QS-9000, including:

  4.9.1--The process monitoring and operator instructions shall be adequate to document the process, and employees shall be familiar with work instructions and the objective of their job assignments.

  4.9.2--Initial process studies are required, but these concentrate on qualifying the machinery and equipment under development.

  Requirements stipulated under 4.9.5, 4.9.6 and 4.9.7 don't apply to the TE Supplement.


4.10--Inspection and Testing. Layout and Inspection as well as Functional Testing are replaced by functional verification of equipment as described in Section II, Element I of the TE Supplement.

4.13--Control of Nonconforming Product. Requirements 4.13.3 and 4.13.4 don't apply to the TE Supplement.

4.15--Handling, Storage, Packaging, Preservation and Delivery. Supplier delivery performance is completely changed. Suppliers must establish a goal of 100-percent on-time shipments and develop timing plans to meet this goal. Critical-path scheduling is required for timing control of complex manufacturing systems. Scheduling systems must be in place to control the timing for the manufacture, test and qualification, installation and tryout of equipment.

The production scheduling and shipment notification system sections of QS-9000 don't apply to the TE Supplement.

4.18--Training. The supplier shall implement a formal training program to include reliability and maintainability.

4.19--Servicing. Suppliers providing servicing under a separate contract must establish and maintain a documented procedure for communicating information regarding machine up-time, reliability, maintenance history and service concerns to manufacturing and design activities.

4.20--Statistical Techniques. Additions to Knowledge of Statistical Concepts include mean time between failures, mean time to repair, short-run SPC, and variables and attributes data control charts.

Section II: Sector-specific requirements

1--Qualification runoff requirements. This section contains the most changes from QS-9000. The Production Part Approval Process doesn't apply to tooling and equipment suppliers; they are required instead to perform qualification tests to ensure that tooling and equipment are of acceptable quality, both in function and reliability. The purpose of these requirements is to:

  Reduce/eliminate start-up delays.

  Improve the quality of components.

  Resolve software and control problems prior to launch.

  Confirm cycle times.

  Verify reliability.

Qualification runoff requirements are:

At the supplier's location:

  50/20 dry run (50 hours for robots, 20 hours all others)

  Phase 1: Preliminary evaluation

  Phase 2: Pp evaluation

  Phase 3: Ppk evaluation

  Reliability verification

At the customer's plant:

  20-hour dry run

  Short-term process study

  Long-term process study

2--Continuous Improvement. Under Techniques for Continuous Improvement (2.3), the supplier must demonstrate knowledge of the following measures:

  Mean time between failure

  Mean time to repair

  Life-cycle cost

  Reliability growth

Section III: Customer-specific requirements

All requirements in Section III of QS-9000 apply to the TE Supplement, with these exceptions:

Chrysler-specific requirements:

  Third-party registration is not required.

  Tooling and equipment suppliers seldom will use the Lot Acceptance Sampling Table and the Product Qualification Table in QS-9000.

  A table is provided in the TE Supplement for process performance for initial tooling and equipment studies.

Ford-specific requirements:

  Third-party registration is not required.

  Reliability and maintainability program planning requirements are described with specific requirements for: definition of failure, reliability and maintainability plan; design assurance strategies; design review; failure mode and effects analysis; reliability testing and assessment; and R&M continuous improvement activity.

General Motors-specific requirements:

  Third-party registration is not required.

  Additional requirements are specified for: training, design review, failure mode and effects analysis, maintainability requirements, reliability and maintainability validation, and continuous improvement.

  Additional GM standards/specifications are required.

Although the TE Supplement contains some new requirements, most QS-9000 requirements apply to tooling and equipment suppliers. The TE Supplement emphasizes the need for tooling and equipment suppliers to understand and practice the techniques described in the Reliability and Maintainability Guidelines. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Chrysler, Ford and General Motors mandate third-party registration later this year.

About the author

Jerry Rogers, a former consultant with Management Resources International Inc., is quality systems manager at Cobra Patterns and Models Inc.


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