Friday, May 22, 2015

ISO 9001 Changes: Do I Wait Until 2016 or Get Certified Now?

There have been many questions circulating from our manufacturers regarding ISO 9001
certification. One of the most prevalent questions was whether a company should register to ISO 9001:2008 now, or wait until ISO 9001:2015 is released. Although it may sound counter intuitive, the best option may be to register to ISO 9001:2008 now and then plan to transition to the 2015 version at a later time. REMEMBER: If you are certified to the current standard, ISO 9001:2008, you’ll have three years before you have to upgrade to the ISO 9001:2015 standard, which should be AFTER JANUARY 2016. 

There are several SIGNIFICANT reasons to register now for ISO 9001:2008.

Wait Out the Confusion
Anytime you have a newly revised standard, there is always an adjustment period following its rollout. There will be questions revolving around what is meant and how things will be interpreted. By delaying registration, you can miss a lot of the pain and confusion that accompanies a change in standards.

Delaying Certification is Dangerous
Maintaining an ISO 9001 certification benefits both large and small businesses. By delaying certification, your company risks losing accreditation along with customers. Certifying or recertifying to the current ISO 9001:2008 standards helps businesses avoid letting their certification lapse, maintain quality business practices, reduce waste, and improve productivity, Why compromise your reputation? Build and maintain your credibility as a quality organization now.

Become Familiar with ISO 9001:2015 at a Distance
There are quite a few requirements of ISO 9001:2008, which you are already familiar with, that can be found in ISO 9001:2015. Also, by getting certified now, you will have a “head’s up” in meeting the new standard and reducing the learning and implementation curve that comes with the 2015 revision. Once again remember: Companies will have three years before they have to upgrade to the ISO 9001:2015 standard!

Certification Costs-They’re Not What You Think
Over the long run, the cost of getting certified now versus next year is not very different. Your registration to ISO 9001:2008 will be valid for three years following the adoption of the new standard. By the time you are ready to transition, it would be time for recertification anyway. The cost to register now for ISO 9001:2008 may even be lower than what it would cost to wait to initially register to ISO 9001:2015 followed by recertification fee for 2015 three years later.

The Bottom Line
If you’re considering getting certified, it may be in your best interest to start soon and get it done before the transition begins. If you want to learn what’s involved in preparing for ISO 9001:2008 or ISO 9001:2015 contact the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center at 888.414.6682 or click here.

JOIN US FOR A FREE UPCOMING EVENT:
EXPLORE: Transition With Confidence (FREE)
July 14, 2015   |   8-10am
learn more


Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org.


Friday, May 15, 2015

What Color is Your Belt? The Importance of Six Sigma and Belt Certifications

For most companies in the business world, reducing costs is viewed upon positively. But, for those who speak of it, BEWARE! Sometimes, the idea of reducing costs becomes synonymous with cutting staff in the manufacturing world, especially in the minds of employees. Instead of focusing on just reducing costs, manufacturers should prioritize their efforts and focus on reducing excess and unnecessary costs. This is where Six Sigma comes in.

Six Sigma 101
six sigma 101
Six Sigma is a powerful set of methods and tools enabling manufacturers to reduce excess costs by maximizing efficiencies, eliminating waste and removing variations from their production cycle. The system helps companies create a culture of continuous improvement where employees contribute to positive change and growth. Six Sigma results are geared to be measurable and verifiable.

Six Sigma is applicable to an entire company. It’s not just about improving your production floor – the methodology seeks to streamline processes including delivery and customer service. Projects related to Six Sigma typically follow one of two methodologies based on an acronym:

1)     DMAIC (commonly used to improve already existing operations and businesses):
a.     Define
b.     Measure
c.     Analyze
d.     Improve
e.     Control

2)     DMADV (commonly applied to projects seeking to create new products or processes):
a.     Define
b.     Measure
c.     Analyze
d.     Design
e.     Verify

A Brief History of Six Sigma
The concept of Six Sigma originally comes from statistics and relates to the process of solving problems based on analytical data and evaluation. Six Sigma as a measurement standard can be traced back to the early 19th century. However, Motorola is known as the company to have popularized it in the manufacturing industry in the 1980’s after Motorola engineers grew unhappy with traditional quality measurements. Named by engineer, Bill Smith, Six Sigma was born as a new standard and methodology. Motorola claims to have experienced more than $16 billion in savings as a result of implementing Six Sigma. Over the years, various manufacturing giants adopted it before making rounds to the small to medium sized manufacturing community.
  
Six Sigma Training Involves “Belts”
Different levels of certifications, or “belts”, identify roles and responsibilities for Six Sigma within a company. Like in Karate class, these belts signify official certifications and are ranked from lowest to highest as yellow, green, black and master.

Belts represent individuals trained in the Six Sigma doctrine who work on improvement projects within the company. The belts work within teams of subject-matter experts and sponsors to identify the cause of manufacturing problems and solve them. Here are the commonly used belt certifications:

  • Yellow Belts: Employees who have undergone basic training in Six Sigma and participate in improvement projects. However, they play a smaller role in project implementation and evaluation in comparison to Green and Black belts.

  • Green Belts: Staff members who have been trained in Six Sigma and officially implement its projects in conjunction with their current positions. They report to Black Belts within their team structure.

  • Black Belts: Employees who are completely dedicated to Six Sigma as their full-time position. Their focus is to serve as a leader for Six Sigma project implementation. They additionally train and mentor teams on Six Sigma.

  • Master Black Belts: Individuals who serve a more strategic purpose. In addition to coaching Black and Green Belts, they focus on developing key quantifiable metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of Six Sigma projects.

Note: In addition to the certifications, there are other roles associated with Six Sigma including White Belts and Champions.

Obtain Your Belt Certification Today
If you’re looking to realize the benefits of Six Sigma and make an impact on your bottom line, MMTC can help your team members become Black Belt or Green Belt certified. For more information on our Six Sigma services, click here or contact us at 888.414.6682.



Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org.

Friday, May 8, 2015

ISO 14001:2015 REVISING THE STANDARD

As most of you have probably heard, ISO 14001 has an updated version due out in late 2015. So after 11 years of getting used to the present requirements, it’s all about to change. ISO 14001’s major revision will reflect what is called the “High Level Structure” based on ISO’s Annex SL. If you don’t understand it, don’t worry as it will all be explained soon! What you can expect to see is a different layout, as well as more clauses and requirements.

A Shift in Emphasis
So what does this revision mean to manufacturers? Basically, this new approach will increase emphasis on top management leadership. Top management will be expected to play a larger role in ensuring the organization’s environmental performance is integrated into the business operation. The expectation is that the Environmental Management System (EMS) will be taken much more seriously.

Some of the changes you are likely to experience:
  • A Greater Risk-Based Approach
  • A Required Commitment to Protecting the Environment, Not Just Preventing Pollution
  • Tangible Evidence of Improving the Environment Will Be Required
  • Greater Emphasis On the Life-Cycle Of Your Products
Starting the Transition Process
To prepare employees, it may be useful to start communicating internally that a revision to ISO 14001 is coming in 2015. You should start to look at your processes to see if they are in line with the new high level structure; but take note that your system must remain compliant with the requirements of ISO 14001:2004 until the new standard has been released.

The Life Span of ISO 14001:2004 
ISO 14001:2004 will continue to be recognized and audited until the end of the three year transition period (expected end of 2018).

The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center is already gearing up to ensure you have as smooth of a transition as possible to ISO 14001:2015. Keep watching for more information and upcoming MMTC events focused on ISO 14001. For additional information, call 888.414.6682, email inquiry@mmtc.org, or submit an online request here.


Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org.