Tag: QMS

Are you a manufacturer in Africa or buyer of African goods?

Are you an African manufacturer or potential buyer of African goods?

Over the past few years, business leaders and investors have become increasingly aware of the vast potential in Africa’s burgeoning consumer market. In addition, most exporters in this emerging continent are salivating at the opportunity to sell their goods to developed countries. According to the WTO, Africa’s exports to the European Union topped €116 billion in 2016. Europe is by far Africa’s largest export market, capturing 35% of its exports, followed by Intra-African trade, China, the USA, and India. With this in mind, the question for African manufacturers and buyers of African goods remains:

How do you ensure the factory management system and product quality align with global standards?

 African countries are rich in resources and capabilities, but a factory’s output is only as good as the factory itself. Where a rising industrial country often struggles is increasing production while at the same time meeting or maintaining global quality standards. Besides, manufacturers often fall short of quality expectations simply because they don’t have the internal knowhow to improve on their own. Other times it’s a lack of capability or understanding of the relevant quality standards, social responsibility expectations, and security systems that apply to their products.

Developed markets such as USA or Europe demand higher quality standards, sustainable and consistent performance, as well as continuous improvement of processes. Being a reliable supplier consists of much more than offering the lowest price in the market, and a sophisticated buyer is not only looking for a suitable range of products on offer. It’s equally essential to deliver a product that meets global quality standards and ensures that production capacity is sufficient or can be quickly and efficiently increased to meet future demand.

Is ISO 9001:2015 enough to fulfill the ever-changing demands of the international market?

 Organizations that invest in meeting global market standards tend to enjoy long-term cooperation with their partners. An investment in this regard could be interpreted as:

  • Providing transparency and data related to your quality management processes
  • Allowing a thorough evaluation (audit) to identify a corrective action plan, and
  • Executing the plan which will result in better products and services for all customers.

Moreover, it will align processes, standards and quality to developed countries or experienced producers like China and ensure the ability to compete with overseas products on quality and production efficiency.

If you are an African manufacturer and looking to enter into international markets, your first step is to ensure compliance. A good litmus test is to ask yourself the following questions:

– Do we have a quality management system in place, such as ISO 9001:2015, in order to enter the international market?

– Do you have sufficient manufacturing capability and capacity required to be a reliable partner?

– Have your manufacturing process and control system been delivering high-quality products consistently over a long period of time?

If you are a buyer looking to purchase or work with an African supplier, your first step is also to ensure that your supplier can comply with all the necessary local compliance. Here are a couple initial questions to ask yourself:

– Does your manufacturing partner use a responsible and ethical supply chain?

– Are there any security issues that may raise alarms to you or your potential customers?

– When was the last time your supplier was audited by a reputable third-party quality assurance company?

Whether you are on the supply side or on the buying side, these questions should be carefully considered. If you need help answering any of the questions above, we, at Pro QC, are always will to have a detailed initial discussion to determine how we can assist.

Pro QC not only supports manufacturers to meet International Quality standards (ISO, IATF, FDA GMP…) but we ensure suppliers establish, maintain or improve their QMS. Our Supplier Development Services team help resolve these challenges for clients and suppliers around the world.

If you are interested in a detailed discussion about any of the quality assurance offerings mentioned in this article, please contact us directly at info@proqc.com or visit our Supplier Management page for more details.

(Article written by John A. Belinga, Business Development Manager) 

Top 5 Best Practice Tips: Implementing or Transitioning to ISO 9001:2015

–Guest blog post by Robert Jasper–

The well known magazine manufacturingnews.com and the Dallas Business Journal indicate that 85% of ISO registered firms report external benefits like higher perceived quality, greater customer demand, better market differentiation, greater employee awareness, increased operational efficiency, and reduced scrap expense. Results like 30% reduction in customer claims, 95% improvement in delivery time, reduced defects from 3% to 0.5%, 40% reduction in product cycle time, 20% increase in on-time delivery are achievable after correct implementation of an ISO 9001 based quality management system.

For those considering implementing ISO 9001:2015, or for those in the 2008 transition process, here are five best practice tips:

Tip 1: Conduct a Gap Analysis Audit

It is important to consider everything can be implemented quickly, with not many resources involved and of course ending in an successful ISO 9001 certification within reasonable cost and time frames. The best tip is to plan out your implementation/transition project right from the start in effective and efficient ways by conducting a 100% compliance Internal Gap Analysis Baseline Audit against all the existing requirements of the international quality management standard in relation to your existing quality management system. And, it does not matter whether you are an ISO 9001:2008 certified company or organization, as this approach will always provide you with the exact planning requirements for your implementation or transition project. A clear implementation structure based on how to close gaps in your existing quality management system with clear responsibilities and due dates for gap closure and ISO certification readiness always helps to keep projects of this importance on track and on time.  These findings and “gaps” will also give you project opportunities to reduce costs and improve your bottom line profitability. This way, you start to make your QMS work for you right from the start!

ISO 9001:2015 – What You Should Know

A myriad of industries are buzzing about the newly released ISO 9001 revision. With a greater focus on stakeholders and a risk-based thinking approach, the anticipated revision is said to have greatly improved the scope and ultimately the benefits associated. A more detailed comparison and additional useful resources are found here.

With the revision so widely discussed, we have received several inquiries from organizations wanting to know about the standard and asking for advice regarding the benefits of certification. While Pro QC is not a certifying body, we do work with organizations to prepare them for final audits.  We also work with many organizations that are not seeking certification, but rather are looking for a standard to apply in order to better manage their business.  The ISO 9000 family of standards provides “guidance and tools for companies and organizations who want to ensure that their products and services consistently meet customer’s requirements, and that quality is consistently improved.”

Standards in the ISO 9000 family include:

ISO 14001:2015 – Who Needs Environmental Management?

aa6efe67-5c6a-4d07-862e-1cb1ab7145a4-largeThe quality industry is buzzing this week as the International Organization for Standardization released the latest revision of the ISO 14001 environmental management standard.

“ISO 14001:2015 is an internationally agreed standard that sets out the requirements for an environmental management system. It helps organizations improve their environmental performance through more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste, gaining a competitive advantage and the trust of stakeholders”

Notable revisions per the news release include:

  • A greater commitment from leadership
  • An increased alignment with strategic direction
  • Greater protection for the environment, with a focus on proactive initiatives
  • More effective communication, driven through a communications strategy
  • Life-cycle thinking, considering each stage of a product or service, from development to end-of-life

With the latest release, ISO discussed the benefits of incorporating the standard.  Described as a way of helping organizations identify, manage, monitor and control their environmental issues in a holistic manner, issues considered include: