Grizzly and ISO 9000. Was: Disturbing Trend

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It hasn't been than many years ago that there were lots of complaints about the inconsistent quality of Grizzly's products here in the wreck. Some arrived in fine shape, others had fit/finish problems, missing or damaged parts, etc. The only thing going for them was their good customer service.
Did anyone notice how this changed with their release of the G0555 "Ultimate Bandasaw"? Excellent design, almost no complaints, and it's been a runaway best seller.
The difference: "Made in an ISO 9000 Factory." This isn't just hype, as anyone who his been involved in the pain of an ISO 9000, now 9001, certification or the equivalent can attest. It involves closing the loop between design, manufacture, and customer wishes and complaints. It's kinda like quality control on steroids, since the loop involves improvements in both manufacture and design. Generally ISO 9000 extends to plant conditions and worker attitudes as well.
I don't pretend to know the plant and worker conditions in the plants that manufacture Grizz products, but the improvement in product quality is very evident, and Grizz is putting the "Made in an ISO 9001 factory" on more and more of their products. Contrast this with the generally declining quality of Delta, etc. that is being lamented in the "Disturbing Trend" thread.
--
Vince Heuring To email, remove the Vince.

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One can sum it up by comparing US autos against Japanese cars. GM is closing plants, Toyota is building new ones in the US. It's your mind set, they are not smarter, better workers or anything like that. We get what we accept. We have only ONE weapon, but its a big one. HOW YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY
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Do you really believe that horsecrap or do you work for ISO?

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ISO means a lot of paperwork, much of it unnecessary. In some companies it helps, but it is not all that it is touted to be. You can make crap, and you can assure it is crap because you have the paperwork to back it up.
To comply with ISO standards I had to buy an expensive 24" scale with a certificate of somethingorother to verify the accuracy. Makes a nice straightedge, but has never been used to measure anything, but I have to have it. .
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"Made in an ISO 9000 Factory." is Grizzly's codeword for "Made in Taiwan" as opposed to "Made in China". That is the main reason for the difference in quality.

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ISO certification doesn't ensure quality products. Instead, it ensures the company has the systems and processes in place to tie all the operations together as well as deal with the "out of the norm" issues. A factory that specs crap can be ISO as long as their systems are in accordance with what ISO asks for....yet still produce crap. Now in fairness, most companies that bother with ISO are quality concious but still, it doesn't dictate what quality is produced. Cheers, cc
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ISO in a nut shell:
Document what you do.
Do what you document.
If it moves train it.
If it dosen't calibrate it.
That all there is.
Chuck P.
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wrote:

You missed one:
If it exists, label or placard it [often taken to ridiculous extremes]

+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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On Thu, 11 May 2006 14:27:44 -0600, Vince Heuring

Having run a manufacturing operation, gone through the ISO certification process, and ultimately made the decision to drop the certification, I'm amazed that so many people who posted to this thread consistently hit the nail on the head.
The value in ISO is only there if you have an excellent quality system to start with are a sincere desire to develop one. ISO makes you document and integrate processes, and by doing so you can detect and correct holes in your system if you look at it objectively. I found this to be of great value.
Continuing certification is only of value if you do not have the discipline to follow your documented procedures. That is where the auditor comes in and the threat of decertification forces corrective action. What I found is that the auditors know very little about your particular processes and culture, at least the importance of their weighting and they will find things of little consequence and treat them as if they are of great importance. For this " service" you get to pay a hefty fee to them and jump through hoops to establish corrective action for insignificant issues. A waste of resource.
ISO operations can design and manufacture great products or they can make junk if the system is designed to do so.
Frank
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<snip boatloads of whining about ISO>
Ya know, I have worked as a Software Quality Engineer in the medical device industry for 14 years. Currently, my company comply both with 9001 and 13485, as well as a host of other US and foreign Quality System regulations. I have observed the work habits and attitudes of the engineers and managers I work with and I am extremely happy, and you should be too, that these medical devices development are subjected to these controls. Not that all, or even most of these people would make decisions that would threaten people's health or lives, but the presence of a quality system helps to prevent these attitudes and work habits from negatively impacting people's health and possibly lives.
When it comes to safety critical products, the suggestion to let "market forces insure quality" means nothing to me. Would YOU be willing to accept that it would take 20 extra deaths (perhaps YOU, or your loved ones?) to cause a company to fix a product that has a defect in it that they deemed unnecessary to fix because there was a sale on the line?
Klingspor can do what they want, companies whose products can kill, on the other hand......
D'ohBoy
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On 12 May 2006 06:18:55 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

If half of your engineers and technicians are tied up chasing insignificant issues, when they should be working on the significant you don't think that is going to impact the quality of your product? And do you think your ISO auditor can tell the difference?
That was my point and you are certainly entitled to your opinion.
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Hi, Frank -
Sorry, my reference to boatloads of whining wasn't specifically directed at you, but rather some of the anti-QS regulation/standard attitudes in general.
To answer your first question ("If half of your engineers and technicians are tied up chasing insignificant issues, when they should be working on the significant you don't think that is going to impact the quality of your product?"), it depends on what you deem an insignificant issue.
To answer your second question ("...do you think your ISO auditor can tell the difference?), yes. Our auditors seem sufficiently knowledgeable for the job.
I can understand your frustration. I am an internal auditor and I have attended a few auditor and lead auditor trainings and was not at all impressed with the general level of intellectual function possessed by the other attendees. Seems the old saw "those that can do ..." could be modified to be "those that can do, those that can't, audit" ;-)
D'ohBoy
T
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On 12 May 2006 08:33:10 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Having been a Quality Manager prior to an Operations Manager, I'm a believer in strong quality systems. Just not in ISO as the means to get and stay there. The OP's contention seemed to be that ISO means a quality product. I don't necessarily agree. Ironically, a lot of the product that is being cited as part of the "disturbing trend" toward poor quality comes from ISO operations in the far east.

In our world it was fairly easy to distinguish the difference. If it is an omission, a procedural inconsistency, or a basic root cause that leads to a safety problem regardless of the statistical impact, or if it is of statistical relevance with regard to product function and customer satisfaction, it is important. If it is neither, it is not. The one benefit to the audits was that the host (our Quality Manger) sometimes would discover important things that the auditor missed during the course of the audit and we could develop our own list of corrective action. However, we had to assign our resources to his list which in most cases was loaded with things of little significance.

You are fortunate. That was not our experience. The auditors assigned to our operation had no relevant manufacturing experience. While they seemed to be good, intelligent people the lack of experience was alarming given the fees we were paying for the audit service.

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On Fri, 12 May 2006 11:04:34 -0500, Frank Boettcher

... snip

Part of the issue is that with paid outside auditors (or government auditors even), they are not considered to be doing their job if they don't find *something*. A clean inspection is often not viewed favorably by their higher-ups, so they dig down into the weeds until they find even some little thing so they can say they have done their job. Most outside ISO auditors often are contracted to larger corporations where the higher ups *expect* findings. Since those outside contractors want/need future consulting contracts with those corporations, they will find things and then, regardless of how insignificant, brief upper management about how important those findings were --either how that little thing could have led to a huge (though wildly improbable) problem or how this was catching a "disturbing trend" away from tight process control. That attitude and expectation is going to carry over to the audits they do for smaller companies as well.

... snip
That's the theoretical (sales-pitch) beauty of the ISO process. The person doing the auditing doesn't *have* to be knowledgeable about the product or the business being audited. The auditor's sole purpose and knowledge is that the auditor knows how to follow process flows and procedure documentation. Whether you are making chocolate chip cookies or plutonium triggers for nuclear devices, it doesn't matter -- the auditor is a process expert and thus all that needs to be done is to trace the process and procedures, and voila!, you have quality product. Unfortunately, the real world is a bit more complicated than that.
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Ah yes, the old "we look good only by comparison" inspectors. Survived a lot of them when I was in the service.
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That says loads.
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Quoth CW:

petengail wrote:

Your comment says even bigger loads.
D'ohBoy
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On 12 May 2006 06:18:55 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I think you miss the point of some of the comments. For safety-critical items, there darn well better be strong processes in place to assure that all appropriate validations and verifications as well as configuration controls are performed properly. Those processes and methodologies existed well before ISO-9000. (IIRC, NASA and its subcontractors weren't ISO certified when we went to the moon). Those processes however, can be independent of an ISO-9000 certification.

The issue with ISO, as I and other posters have pointed out is that even with ISO certification in place, the processes in place can actually allow for the situation you cite above. ISO does *not* guarantee defect-free nor high quality products. It only assures that the process you have in place allows you to *consistently* produce whatever level of product quality from your process that you choose.
For safety-critical applications, ISO-900x process certification is certainly a *tool* to assure that appropriate processes are followed to assure that consistent product results are obtained. However, it is not a panacea and is not the *only* solution to assure that the desired results are obtained.

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True.

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Vince Heuring wrote:

I'm 99% certain that Delta is ISO 9001 certified as well. As is GM and other companies that are held up as examples of "poor quality". ISO 9001 does not mandate quality, only a documentation of processes. That's the short answer, I won't bore you with the long answer.
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