ISO 9001:2015: The never-ending quality journey at C.A. Lawton

By Steve Perks | June 8, 2018

When you make a commitment to LEAN and organizational excellence, your work is never “done.” To satisfy customer needs, the C.A. Lawton team must continually improve our processes. That’s why we decided to transition from ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015 in 2017. We achieved compliance on February 5, 2018.

What does this mean? Why is C.A. Lawton pursuing this new certification? Here’s a brief Q&A that explains what it is, why it’s important to our business and our customers, and what we’re doing to achieve certification.

Why transition to the ISO 9001:2015 quality standard?

  • To consistently meet our customers’ expectations,
  • To differentiate our company and win more business,
  • To improve our company performance by translating our increased efficiency to the bottom line,
  • To help us continually monitor and manage our level of quality, and
  • To outline and benchmark achievements in performance and service consistent with the world’s most recognized Quality Management System (QMS).

How do our customers benefit from our adoption and implementation of the ISO 9001:2015 quality system?

  • We will become a more competitive source for castings in our customers’ marketplace,
  • We will meet their quality needs continuously,
  • We will work more efficiently to save time, money and resources,
  • We will improve our operational performance by reducing errors and increasing profits (a stronger C.A. Lawton is better able to meet and exceed our customer expectations),
  • We will motivate and engage our staff with proficient internal processes,
  • We believe we will win more high-value customers by providing superior customer service, and
  • We will broaden our new business opportunities through our demonstrated compliance with the latest version of the ISO 9001 standard.

What are the differences between the ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 9001:2015 quality standards?

There were a number of enhancements in scope between the ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 9001:2015 standards. They include:

  • Context of the organization: The new standard is no longer “one size fits all.” It takes into account internal and external factors that can affect an organization’s approach to its products, services and investments.
  • Interested parties: The new version of the standard enables companies to define their “interested parties” – people and organizations that may be affected by the organization and its actions. Examples of interested parties include suppliers, customers and competitors.
  • Leadership: The new standard reaches beyond the factory floor; it also contains requirements for the organization’s leadership.
  • Risk associated with threats and opportunities: While the earlier version of the standard emphasized preventative action, the 2015 update contains a more refined planning process.
  • Communication: ISO 9001:2015 now includes explicit and detailed requirements for both internal and external communications.
  • Documented information: The ISO 9001:2015 standard no longer uses the terms “documents” and “records.” Both are now called “documented information.” This implies that you must maintain the proper ISO 9001 documents in a format and medium that is readily available, protected and properly versioned.
  • Performance evaluation: ISO 9001:2015 requires organizations to have a consistent method of measuring quality performance and effectiveness of the QMS.
  • Nonconforming and corrective action: We are now required to review the effectiveness of any corrective actions we’ve taken and, if necessary, update risks and opportunities determined during planning. .
  • Management review: While ISO 9001:2008 was primarily focused on internal issues, the 2015 update states that both internal and external issues must be considered in our planning process. These external influences may include technology, suppliers, customers or changes in regulatory requirements.

How has C.A. Lawton adopted these changes?

During the last year, we have reviewed and updated our existing procedures, restructured our management system to be more robust, and combined safety and environmental controls into one integrated management system. Specifically, we incorporated the new requirements of ISO 9001:2015 by:

  • Internal and external parties: We created a new document that encompasses all stakeholders and evaluated risks that affect the business.
  • Documented information: We identified the inputs and outputs that impact the business, both internal and external, using turtle diagrams and process maps.
  • Communication: We generated new procedures, documents, and management controls to address the communication elements for internal and external risks and impacts to the business.
  • Performance evaluation: We updated and reviewed the current Potential Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (PFMEA) and Master Control Plan document and established new procedures to bridge any remaining gaps in system assessment effectiveness. .
  • Management review: The management review process now includes an evaluation of the inputs and outputs of the business’ performance.
  • Leadership: The leadership change to the 2015 standard caused C.A. Lawton leadership to focus on defining a strategic direction to implement specific procedures and to focus on the main process. Internal and external strengths and weaknesses were evaluated along with any risks associated with them.
  • Performance evaluation: ISO 9001:2015 requires organizations to incorporate the risk element of the business into our planning. We’re focused on driving continual updates to the PFMEA and are focused on minimizing potential non-conformities. This new concept helps us structure the corrective action process and makes it easier to “future proof” the business with the lessons we’ve learned.

How has the adoption of ISO 9001:2015 standards impacted C.A. Lawton’s business results?

The full evaluation of existing procedures and processes to transition to the new ISO 9001:2015 standard has produced a better integrated management system.

One major example of its impact is this: We identified a significant reduction in our internal and external scrap and returns, which in turn, created better sales and productivity throughout the organization.