Abstract: QS-9000 is the name given to the Quality System Requirements of the automotive industry which were developed by Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and major truck manufacturers and issued in 1994. QS-9000 is sometimes seen as being identical to ISO 9000. However, QS-9000 adds clauses to many of the ISO 9000 elements. Some of the differences in QS-9000 and ISO-9000 and the responsibilities of each employee under QS-9000 are given in this paper. This paper also describes the two types of audits, how employees should respond to audits, and the QS-9000 Quality Statement. Other terminology unique to QS-9000 is also given.
QS 9000 is the name given to the Quality System Requirements of the automotive industry which were developed by Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and major truck manufacturers and issued in late 1994. QS-9000 replaces such quality system requirements as Ford Q-101, Chrysler's Supplier Quality Assurance Manual, GM's NAO Targets for Excellence and the Truck Manufacturer's quality system manuals. The influence of QS-9000 is being seen throughout the automotive industry as it has virtually eliminated varying demands and waste associated with redundant systems. Proof of conformance to QS-9000 is certification/registration by an accredited third party such as Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) or the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). Companies that become registered under QS-9000 will be considered to have higher standards and better quality products. This paper will describe the steps a company needs to take to achieve this goal.
QS-9000 will help companies to stay ahead of their competition. It will do this by filling gaps in the business and quality systems that can cause problems. QS-9000 eliminates redundant and unnecessary work practices. QS-9000 tells current and potential customers that the product has consistent quality and is manufactured under controlled conditions. This system is globally accepted as proof of quality in the automotive industry and is also a major customer requirement.
QS-9000 is sometimes seen as being identical to ISO 9000, but this is not true. Even though each element of ISO 9000 is an element of QS-9000, QS-9000 adds clauses to the majority of the ISO 9000 elements. For example, QS-9000 adds requirements for a business plan, tracking customer satisfaction and bench marking to element 4.1 of ISO 9000, Management Responsibility. QS-9000 also uses sector-specific requirements. The following requirements are not based on ISO 9000:
In order to become QS-9000 certified, a company must first prepare its staff for the challenge that awaits them. Each employee will have responsibilities under QS-9000. Once time-studies, machine and operator layout and production rates have been set by the industrial engineer, then some of these responsibilities include:
When the employees are prepared for the responsibilities that await them, they will be randomly audited by two types of auditors:
1. Internal auditor: A team of people who are employed by your company.
2. External auditor: A customer representative of the QS-9000 certification auditor. The auditor's questions may include:
The auditor might then ask specific questions concerning the procedure. Examples include:
The auditor may also ask to see any forms you fill out or records you have about your job. In many cases an employee will get nervous when an auditor asks a question. Good advice to give an employee on answering an auditor's question would be to relax. The auditor is probably just as nervous as you are. Be honest. The auditor may already know the truth. Be polite and the audit should go quickly. Show the auditor your work instructions (methods, visual aids). Be sure the way you explain how you do your job matches with the work instructions. Point out the Quality Policy Statement to the auditor and read it from the card. Be able to tell the auditor what the Quality Policy means to you in your own words. If you do not understand the question, ask the auditor to say it again or explain. Do not try to answer a question that you do not understand. Do not argue with the auditor. If you feel he or she did not understand your answer, carefully explain the answer to the auditor. Audits will normally be scheduled and the company will be notified. Therefore each department will have time to prepare, and they will usually have a practice audit so that everyone is prepared. However, the company should always be prepared for an audit by having their proceduresand quality policy statement ready.
Procedures should not be followed only when there is an audit. The purpose of the QS-9000 system is to consistantly produce a quality product. If procedures are followed only at the time of the audit the associates will not be comfortable or knowledgeable with them when the auditors come through. Therefore receiving certification becomes much more unlikely. More importantly, the goal of consistant production of a quality product will more than likely have been defeated.
The most important thing to remember with QS-9000 and receiving certification is that it is not a productivity comparison with other companies nor even a quality comparison. It is simply a check to see if you, as a department or company, are doing what you said you have been doing everytime you produce a part or product.
The QS-9000 Quality Statement tells of your company's objectives for quality and commitment to quality, and is relevant to company goals and customer needs and expectations. The Quality Statement will be given to all associates in the form of a laminated card that they must keep with them at all times. The Quality Statement should be posted in all areas of the facility. Though it is not necessary for each associate to memorize the quality policy statement, they should be able to read it from the card or wall and tell what it means to them. All management personnel must know the quality policy statement.
QS-9000 was developed to ensure customer satisfaction beginning with conformance to fundamental quality requirements and utilizing such concepts as continuous improvement, defect prevention, and the reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain. QS-9000 is an expansion or adaption of ISO-9000 that is more comprehensive and more applicable to the automobile industry and its suppliers.
The authors would like to thank the reviewers for their helpful comments.
1. Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors,
1994, Quality System Requirements QS-9000 1st Edition, AIAG (810)
2. Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors, 1995, Quality System Requirements QS-9000 2nd Edition, AIAG (810) 358-3003