Avoiding Supply Chain Interruption – The Power of ISO 9000
Successfully Implementing ISO 9000 in a Global Organization
A Case Study
Company: Aventis Animal Nutrition, Atlanta
Industry: Feed Additives
Project Summary: Implementation of ISO 9001 in North America
As a global organization serving customers around the world, the company decided to embark on an ISO 9001 quality system implementation across all of its operations. The company understood the value in providing consistent, quality products and services as a strategic tool for growth. The North American team was charged with implementation of ISO 9001, ensuring that it was fully coordinated with the ISO implementation efforts in all locations.
As Vice President of Operations and Finance, I was asked to lead the effort. At the time, I had not been involved with ISO. So, I started on a learning journey. After researching ISO and various company implementation efforts, I realized the potential power of ISO if understood and implemented with the right approach.
Part of my research included meeting with other companies who had implemented ISO. I wanted to understand their challenges, what went well and what did not. What could I learn from their experiences. I also attended a series of workshops and brought in a management consultant to help guide me and the organization.
Along with all of the traditional project planning efforts, the biggest challenge with such a change in company culture was the educational/training process needed to bring the entire organizations along toward a successful implementation and the necessary ongoing “buy-in’ by employees across the continent. The key was taking the time to explain what quality really means when adopted and embraced. In some cases, it took until the system was in place and individuals saw the positive impact in their own jobs on a day-to-day basis.
Within a year, the organization was successfully certified to ISO 9001. Having taken the time to understand, teach and train the employees, the system took hold and gained ground with each passing month. When a significant problem arose and was addressed effectively within the quality system, communicating the resolution became a customer retention tool. Operational excellence and business process improvement became part of day-to-day activities.
When a safety-related transportation issue arose between continents, the infrastructure and understanding were already in place to identify the problem and resolve it. This avoided interruption in the supply chain, the shutting down of production facilities, loss of customers and the potential financial costs to the organization.
More on: Business Process Improvement
David Shavzin, CMC