Question and answer Below are frequently received questions about compliance and standards issues, and our responses.

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Are Your Certificates From Your Suppliers Valid?

Posted in General Questions

The IAAR (Independent Association of Accredited Registrars) database is the largest and most complete database of registered companies.

With its enhanced capability to search the name of the companies and their certificate numbers, this tool provides access to real time data on thousands of registered companies in North America. To date, industry stakeholders from over 140 countries and territories to include North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa have accessed this system.

Database traffic continues to increase as more registered companies use this database as a simple and effective way to manage their supply base and validate their accredited certifications to a management system standard. Its global reach and 24/7 availability continues to make it a very popular tool.

Jadian Enterprises, the IAAR database developers also announced the upcoming Iphone/Smartphone applications will enable users to photograph a certificate and check for database inclusion. Access to the IAAR registered company database can be found at www.iaar.org.

What Does it Cost to become Certified?

Posted in General Questions

The Certification Bodies (ASR being one) have guidelines they must follow from the Accredidation Boards.  The International Accredidation Forum (IAF), an Accredidation Body sets guidlines for the Certification Audit based on number of days.  In turn the number of days an ASR RAQ smallaudit takes is usually determined by the size of the organization.

The costs are typically broken down into Stage 1 Audit; Stage 2 Certification Audit, and Surveillance Audit.

Registrars differentiate themselves, in terms of cost, by a number of factors.  Be sure you understand these factors when choosing a Registrar.

What is Root Cause

Posted in General Questions

A convenient description for root cause would include the following three keys:
  1. It directly led to the issue, problem or failure. Taken by itself, this cause can clearly be seen as why things went wrong.
  2. If it had been eliminated or contained nothing bad would have happened. Eliminated or contained means that we should have known about it and planned for it, so something in our system needs to be identified and fixed.
  3. It can be clearly stated. Whatever we think the cause is, we can put it into words that everyone can agree with and understand.

HOW DO YOU DETERMINE ROOT CAUSE

Use these Key Questions when determining Root Cause:
  • What is the exact cause of the issue or failure?
  • What combination of process elements is involved? (Input/Process Steps/Output)
  • What system was in place that was designed to find or prevent this problem?
  • How, exactly, did that system break down?
THE 5 – WHY METHOD

This method is effective in the determination of how, exactly, the system broke down for the issue or failure being considered.
The basic methodology is as follows:
  1. Why did the specific issue or failure occur?
  2. Why would this "cause" occur?
  3. Repeat #2 three times, if possible, to arrive at the real Systemic root cause of the issue or failure.

IMPORTANT!

The Systemic cause or "system failure" is important because without changing the system we can never be sure the issue or failure will not occur again.

A SIMPLE 5 – WHY EXAMPLE:

Issue or Failure:
Joe's car won't start
  1. Why won't it start? The battery is dead.
  2. Why is the battery dead? The lights were left on.
  3. Why were the lights left on? Joe got home late and was so tired he forgot to turn them off.
  4. Why didn't they turn off by themselves? The computer chip that controls the automatic light off function in Joe's car was not working.
  5. Why was the chip not working? It failed, the check engine light came on, but Joe decided not to have the car checked.

Root Cause:

Joe did not have the car checked when the check engine light came on. This is the Systemic Failure

Who is ISO?

Posted in General Questions

ISO is a non-governmental organization (International Organization of Standards) established in 1947.

The mission of ISO is to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to develop cooperation in the field of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity.

Also - ISO is a Greek word meaning equal.

Below is a brief history of ISO.

Why are the Standards Important?

Posted in General Questions

they are speaking the same business language. Many companies require their suppliers to become registered to ISO 9001 and because of this, registered companies find that their market opportunities have increased. In addition, a company's compliance with ISO 9001 insures that it has a sound quality management system, and that's good business.

Registered companies have had dramatic reductions in customer complaints, significant reductions in operating costs and increased demand for their products and services. Many industrial companies require registration by their own suppliers.

What does it cost to become ISO 9001 certified?

Posted in ISO 9001

The cost to become ISO 9001 certified for the first time depend upon these factors:
  • Size of Organization
    • number of employees
    • number of processes (complex or simple)
    • stakeholder's time and number of people on the project
  • Scope of Certification
    • industry type - some industries may require more certifications than just the ISO 9001
    • service or product oriented
    • product design
Also, how you are preparing your Quality Management System will incur additional costs (e.g. in-house, using a consultant, hosting it on a cloud based system, etc...).

It is recommended to approach your certification efforts as a project within your organization.  Address it like you would adding a new building to your facility.  It impacts the entire organization and will last for years.

ASR provides free quotes for your ISO 9001 Certification.  Please click here to get a quote.  We take pride in our customer service and add value to your organization.  Please read our Customer Testimonials - be sure to contact any of them and ask about their audit experience and our value-added approach.



What is ISO 9001?

Posted in ISO 9001

ISO 9001 is a set of basic business principles written in a standard format for quality management systems that is accepted around the world.

Currently more than 100 countries have adopted ISO 9001 as a national standard. The standard is intended for the quality management system assessments and registrations to ISO 9001.

The standards apply uniformly to organizations of any size or description.

What is ISO/TS 16949?

Posted in ISO/TS 16949

ISO/TS 16949 is a Technical Specification not an ISO standard. The International Automotive Task Force (IATF), which consists of an international group of vehicle manufacturers, wrote ISO/TS 16949 in conjunction with the International Organization for Standards (ISO). This specification aligns existing American (QS-9000), German (VDA6.1), French (EAQF) and Italian (AVSQ) automotive quality systems standards within the global automotive industry.

What are benefits of becoming ISO 14001 certified?

Posted in ISO 14001

Some of the benefits of implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS) in accordance with the ISO 14001 standards, include:
  • discovering areas for reduction in energy usage and other resource expenditure,
  • reducing environmental liability and risk,
  • helping to maintain reliable compliance with legislative & regulatory requirements,
  • benefiting form regulatory incentives that reward companies showing environmental leadership through certified compliance with an internationally recognized EMS standard,
  • averting pollution and reducing waste,
  • responding to pressure from customers and shareholders,
  • improving community goodwill,
  • profiting in the market for "green" products,
  • respond to insurance company pressure for proof of good management before pollution-incident coverage is issued, and
  • demonstrating commitment to high-quality.


Contact ASR to learn how we can help you become ISO 14001 certified.

What are the requirements of ISO 14001?

Posted in ISO 14001

As with ISO 9001, the key to a successful ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) is having documented policies and procedures that are implemented and managed in such a way that achievement of environmental goals is appropriate with the features and size of activities is being conducted at your facility.

In addition, the EMS must include appropriate monitoring and review to ensure effective functioning of the EMS and to identify and implement corrective measures in a timely manner.

ISO14001 standards include the need for facilities to document and make available to the public an Environmental Policy.

In addition, procedures must be established for ongoing review of the environmental aspects & impacts of products, activities, & services. Based on these environmental aspects & impacts, environmental goals and objectives must be established that are consistent with the environmental policy. Documented programs must be set in place to implement these activities.

To ensure that the EMS is operating effectively and efficiently internal Audits of the EMS must be conducted routinely to ensure that non-conformances to the system are identified and addressed. In addition, the management review process must ensure top management involvement in the assessment of the EMS, and as necessary, addressing the need for changes.

The EMS policy(s) document(s) is the central document that describes the interaction of the core elements of the system, and provides a third-party auditor with the key information necessary to understand the environmental management systems in-place at the company. Consistent with the principles of ISO14001, the Environmental Policy and Environmental aspects/impacts analysis, including legal & other requirements, shape the program by influencing the selection of specific measurable environmental goals, objectives, & targets. Specific programs and/or projects must then be developed to achieve these environmental goals, objectives, & targets.

The checking & corrective action elements of the system help ensure continual improvement by addressing root causes on non-conformances. The ongoing management review of the EMS and its elements helps to ensure continuing suitability, adequacy, & effectiveness of the program.


Contact ASR to learn how we can help you become ISO 14001 certified.

What is ISO 14001?

Posted in ISO 14001

The ISO 14001 standard is primarily concerned with "environmental management". This means what the organization does to minimize harmful effects on the environment caused by its activities, and to achieve continual improvement of its environmental performance.

Most companies are familiar with the ISO9000 series of standards . The ISO-14000 series have been developed for integrating environmental aspects into operations and product standards.

Who needs to become certified to ISO 14001?

Posted in ISO 14001

For many companies, conformance to ISO 14001 may become a contractual requirement of customers in both the U.S. and the European Community (EC).

Some companies setting goals to establish environmental management systems that conform to ISO 14001 guidelines in order to remain competitive in the global marketplace. For those companies who have already obtained ISO 9001 registration, the ISO 14001 registration is a logical next step because it is very similar to ISO 9001.

In addition to the company marketing benefits of obtaining ISO 14001 registration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may provide regulatory incentives under its Common Sense Initiative (CSI) program to benefit companies certified to ISO 14001.


Contact ASR to learn how we can help you become ISO 14001 certified.

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Automotive

  • IATF 16949
  • Intl. Automotive Task Force
  • BS 25999
  • OHSAS 18001

Medical Devices

  • ISO 13485
  • Product Safety
  • Device Recalls
  • Emergency Situations

Aerospace

  • AS9100
  • AS9110
  • AS9120
  • SAE Technical Standards

Environmental

  • ISO 14001
  • EPA Regulations
  • EMS Tools
  • Emergency Preparedness