Understanding ISO 9001 Workshop

ISO 9001 Certification Comes At A High Price. Small companies just don’t have the money to get certified.

In This Tough Economy – COMPLIANCE Is The Way To Go.

The ISO 9001 Standard is loaded with quality guidelines that promote process efficiency and cost reduction. When implemented properly, your business will improve.

Question: What good is a great quality system if you spend all of your money on certification? You’ll have no business to certify if you do that.

The intent of ISO Standards is to insure that you and your management team make good decisions that allow you to grow and improve your business. Spending $10,000 – $15,000 on online implementation tools and little to no face-to-face support is not a good decision for small business owners at this time. Depending on the size of your organization, this bill could reach up to and beyond $100,000. Then you still have to spend money on the actual certification. That will be another $5,000 – $15,000 commitment and could reach or exceed $120,000 , depending on the size of your organization and the complexity of your systems.

The OPAL Plan:

Learn the standard – The Understanding ISO 9001:2008 Workshop is a special forum that will provide you with detailed information about the standard.

This is not just an overview and sales pitch! This is an engaging session where you will learn the standard and walk away with information that you can put to use right away.

Register for Understanding ISO 9001 Workshop - San Leandro in San Leandro, CA  on Eventbrite

The Black Economic Council, headquartered in Northern California, is a national 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization established to further the economic platform of Black Americans by facilitating business formation, job creation, access to capital, financial fitness and equal opportunity for employment in the workforce.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak at their Quality Workshop in April, 2010.  The event was very productive and informative.  Wells Fargo, Verizon and PG&E executives were present and provided a wealth of information and support.  I commend the BEC on their efforts and look forward to doing good work with them in the near future.

OPAL Quality Systems Management

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OPAL offers systems management and strategic planning services that promote operational excellence and continual improvement.

Opal is dedicated to helping our customers reach their highest goals and position themselves to be competitive in their respective markets.

With experience in an extensive variety of industries and international compliance systems, we offer professional services that assist businesses in reaching their full potential.

We advise, train, encourage, empower and motivate customers to plan and implement business systems that mature and expand their business.

How Can We Help You?

Opal’s consulting and coaching services include, but are not limited to:

  • Change Management
  • Quality Planning
  • Supplier Evaluation & Control
  • ISO 9001 Systems Implementation
  • Personal Branding
  • Commercial Branding
  • Internet Marketing

Opal has over 15 years experience building partnerships in a number of disciplines and industries including medical, semiconductor, global logistics, manufacturing, retail, chemical and pharmaceutical, construction and many more.

We look forward to making you and your organization part of our history. Look towards your future – – You’ll find OPAL quality systems management right there with you.

Contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you.


Where Are the Quality Experts?

Not in Toyota’s North American Quality Advisory Panel

Quality Digest Daily recently ran “Safety and Quality Experts Named to Toyota Quality Advisory Panel” as one of their top-read articles.

Good. I had missed it, so I read the article. I noticed was that it wasn’t an article, but a press release describing what Toyota was doing to remediate its damaged quality cachet.

OK, but I was really interested to see who Toyota had selected to be on its Quality Advisory Panel. I know it wasn’t me, since I hadn’t gotten the call, but, I was interested to know which of my quality expert colleagues got to be on the Toyota’s Quality Advisory Panel. With astonishment I read it was none of them! This was a shocker and may identify a major problem for the quality profession, which I’ll discuss later in this article.

First, who’s on the panel? The full panel includes:

  • Rodney E. Slater, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation
  • Norman Augustine, former chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corp.
  • Patricia Goldman, former vice chairman, National Transportation Safety Board
  • Mary Good, dean of engineering and information technology of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Roger Martin, dean at Rotman School of Management
  • Brian O’Neill, former president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  • Sheila Widnall, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and former Secretary of the U.S. Air Force

The scope of work of the Quality Advisory Panel is:

“This independent group of experts will advise Toyota’s North American affiliates on quality and safety issues, working closely with the company’s leadership team and the newly formed North American Quality Task Force, led by chief quality officer, Steve St. Angelo. Panel members will have unfettered access to information concerning Toyota’s quality and safety procedures, and direct communication with Toyota Motor Corp.’s president, Akio Toyoda, as well as with the newly formed Special Committee for Global Quality, led by Toyoda.”

The list of members is illustrious and accomplished. Their charge to reinfuse Toyota’s quality image is noble. Their scope of work is broad and their access to senior Toyota management is unfettered. So, these folks can do a lot of good.

Yes. However, are they accomplished in quality or in public policy issues? I would say “yes” to the latter but not so much to the former.

What strikes me is that there’s not one quality expert or guru on Toyota’s Quality Advisory Panel. Transportation, design, and safety experts are well represented on the panel, but again, no quality experts. This says a lot about the state of the quality profession, where the world’s top quality company deploys a safety-related public relations strategy, instead of a quality-focused strategy.

In many ways, we can’t blame Toyota, because the company is in crisis mode, having to repair its lost brand equity. This is why management retained this high-powered safety and political team. To me, it seems that Toyota sees its problems in North America through a political enterprise-risk-management prism.

A number of critical (and frankly troubling) issues come up from Toyota’s press release:

  1. Why didn’t Toyota select several quality experts to be on the Quality Advisory Panel?
  2. Where are and who are today’s quality’s leaders in North America?
  3. Who speaks for quality today?
  4. Who will be leading the quality profession in the future?
  5. Where is quality going in the near future and throughout the longer term?

Until we can answer these questions, quality will be viewed as a product or plant-level transactional issue, not a bet-the-enterprise, board-level issue. It’s sad, but true.

by Greg Hutchins
Posted in Quality Digest | May 12, 2010

There is a dangerous trend in the ISO consulting arena. Executives are spending their entire quality budget on inadequate quality systems implemented by unscrupulous or inexperienced ISO consultants. When it’s too late, the executives figure out that what they actually exhausted time, money and resources on is not a quality system. They spent it on a stamp that reads “ISO Certified” and a consultant who didn’t do much past making himself a cup of coffee every time he came to visit.

Some time ago, I met with the owner of a company and discussed his desire to be ISO 9001 certified. Ultimately, he went with the other guy and I wished him well. About a year later he called me in to talk about his current situation:

He received his ISO “Stamp”. (Ok… good)

The “consultant” was also his ISO surveillance auditor. (Yikes…conflict of interest)

After the consultant bestowed the “stamp” upon the company he convinced the owner that he needed to come to visit once or twice a month to audit & review the processes. The owner was so proud of his accomplishment that he called the FDA in to approve his system. The FDA Auditor quickly informed the owner that he found no evidence of a quality management system. (…Woops)

These consultants not only give professional service providers a bad name, they also give ISO 9001 a bad reputation. There are people out there who are desperate. They’ll waste your money and your time and they will cause a lot of confusion within your organization. Consider the following when hiring any consultant:

  • Start by getting a good understanding of what you actually need. Many consumers start the process by paying for a consultant to tell them what they need because they’ve done zero research. It’s worth a few hours of searching the internet and benchmarking to establish an initial list of objectives before you start spending the big dollars.
  • Document a plan in coordination with your consultant. Don’t let the consultant define goals for you because he/she might be redefining your (established) budget in the process. Ensure that the consultant’s proposed deliverables are aligned with your goals. This is very important!
  • Set a budget and stick to it. Inform the consultant that you will not exceed the budget. This is where the monthly goals come in handy.

Every consultant/customer relationship should be a partnership. Unfortunately, these days, it takes extra steps to ensure that you are getting the most “bang” for your buck. Protect yourself. Protect your business. Protect your future.

By Deirdre Mercedes