A Publication of WTVP

The Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center and the Professional Development Institute at Illinois Central College announce the formation of another ISO/QS 9000 Preparation Network to enable several area companies to prepare for ISO or QS 9000 registration simultaneously by using a common consultant.

Information sessions for the Network take place October 9th at Illinois Central College’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). ISO 9000 is a series of guidelines for organizing and documenting manufacturing systems and processes. Many manufacturers face competitive pressures to become registered and need to document their systems to help improve productivity, reduce reject rates, and meet the requirements of their original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers. While the ISO/QS 9000 standards are the ideal template for documented quality systems, smaller companies are often overwhelmed with the prospect of paying up to $45,000—and devoting countless hours—to go through the process of becoming registered.

To help expedite the process and make it more affordable for smaller manufacturers, IMEC and PDI developed a group approach to help companies prepare to become ISO/QS registered. The ISO/QS 9000 Preparation Networks involve up to seven companies, which share the costs of hiring a common consultant.

The concept revolves around the notion that common problems have common solutions. Participating companies learn from one another by sharing their best practices and advice. Total Quality Solutions (TQS), one of Illinois’ premier providers of network-based Quality services, will partner with IMEC and PDI to provide instruction, on-site assessments and one-on-one consultation.

"Many larger companies are requiring that their suppliers become registered," said Laurence Hornibrook, IMEC project manager for the Peoria area. "We have been able to make preparation affordable for smaller companies who otherwise would not have been able to pursue it."

Demonstrating a commitment to quality can improve a company’s marketability and customer relationships. In the long run, it will improve operational efficiency, reduce waste and make a company more competitive. The ISO/QS 9000 preparation networks have helped participants realize those benefits and more. IBI