The Results Are In: Annual Client Survey Reveals Highest Rate of Client Satisfaction Yet

Thumbs Up for High Client SatisfactionOnce a year, Platinum sends out a Client Satisfaction Survey to ensure that the quality of our services are the best that they can be for our clients.

We just got the results from our 2016 QMS Client Survey and, while we always strive for the best customer service, we have to say…they are even better than expected.

Top 10 things that are important to our clients

We have hundreds of clients from a wide variety of industries and no two clients are alike, but some of the most important things that clients said they were looking for in a certification body seem to apply across the board, according to our survey results.

And we delivered.

Here are the Top 10 must-haves our clients told us were of utmost importance to them in a certification body and why they had such a high satisfaction rate with Platinum meeting these needs:

  1. Knowledge of the Standards
  2. Assistance in understanding the Standards
  3. Cost effectiveness
  4. An understanding of clients’ business/industry
  5. Fair and honest audits – no “creative interpretation” of the Standards
  6. Clear verbal communication and concise written reports – no guesswork required
  7. Expert technical knowledge
  8. Responsiveness – never having to wait
  9. Customer service – going the extra mile
  10. Auditors are approachable and make clients feel at ease

Why we’re good at it.

We have been in business for nearly 20 years, providing cost-effective ISO certifications for a wide range of service and manufacturing industries. Platinum’s President and Audit Operations Manager sit on the national committee that helps to shape the Standards themselves, giving our clients information they need when they need it in real-time, Platinum’s management is very picky about who we hire, so all of our auditors:

  • Are certified, professional auditors.
  • Have training or experience in your industry (knowledge of common key processes, terminology and regulations).
  • Are pleasant, approachable and will put you at ease during the audit process.
  • Are trained on Platinum processes and updated appropriately.
  • Are reviewed with management involvement and oversight through:
    • Witnessed performance audits
    • Annual performance reviews
    • Consideration of client feedback (We send a survey after each audit)

We want you to succeed. If you look good, we look good. Thanks to all of our clients for the valuable feedback – we literally couldn’t do it without you!

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Deconstructing ISO 9001:2015 Part 3: Section 6.1: Evaluating Risk and Opportunities

ISO 9001:2015 Risk Management

Whether at home, on the road or at work, risk and opportunities are part of life.  Some risks have a higher probability of occurring than others, and we evaluate each of these risks either actively (planning ahead) or passively (as they come).  In business, the proactive evaluation of risk is a key component of success or failure of a project, program, invention, product design or of the business itself.  Proactive methods for looking for opportunities is a skill demonstrated by successful people and businesses as well.

Risk Prevention

Risk prevention has been a component of the ISO 9001 Standard since its inception, but was only inferred through the requirements of continual improvement activities —  most specifically, the Preventive Action Process.  The ISO 9001:2015 version now specifically brings “risk based” thinking into the forefront of your quality management system in a way that is much more representative of how businesses actually function.  In fact, risk is mentioned 50 times and is included in Sections 4 (context of the organization), 5 (Leadership), 6 (Planning), 9 (Performance Evaluation) and 10 (Improvement), so there really is a heavy focus on this activity.

Not all risks are equal in their impact on an organization, nor do they always stay the same from year to year.  Some are short term and others are long term.  Either way, successful managers, informally or formally evaluate risk every day to keep the business moving forward and to reduce unnecessary costs and inefficiencies.

Just like anything else in life, there is no “one size fits all” with risk management and, as a result, the standard has no requirement on how you define, evaluate, and manage your risks, but because successful businesses consistently evaluate and mitigate risks, it requires that you develop a process to ensure that you do it in a consistent, reliable and person-independent manner.  A good management system is process-based, not people/individual-based.

Opportunities – take them or leave them

But wait — the standard also identifies the need to have a formal process for determining, evaluating, and acting on opportunities for the business.

Opportunities are there for the taking.  Sometimes, we just need to stop, ask and listen to the stakeholders associated with our organizations to see them.  Who doesn’t want to gain the benefits from unrealized opportunities?

Some of the products and services we all consume have seen increased sales by the manufacturer or service provider simply changing their packaging or marketing – causing us to use and buy more of the product or service.  Packaging/marketing changes are great examples of opportunities to be had with a little creative thinking.

Reduce Risk and Excel through Opportunities:  Using the Organization’s Brains

It may sound overly simplistic, but following the steps below, you can put these requirements in perspective, and integrate processes in your management system to ensure that your business doesn’t get caught out or miss a money maker.

  • Brainstorm: Management systems are only as good as the knowledge and investment of the people who develop and implement them.  It’s probable that the process for identification of risks does not happen at the same time you identify opportunities.  When and how do you or will you brainstorm to determine risks and opportunities?
  • Record: Write the risks and opportunities down in a place or places defined in your business management system.
  • Advise: Tell stakeholders about the risks and opportunities that you have identified. Work with them to evaluate the likelihood of occurrence and their tolerance of risks. Consider the costs and benefits of risk prevention and the costs and advantages of opportunities not yet realized.
  • Investigate: Work with personnel to determine methods to mitigate risks and grab opportunities.
  • Negotiate: Determine what management and stakeholders feel are the best use of resources and what they want to act on. Remember, it’s okay to have a tolerance for risk.  You don’t have to, probably can’t and won’t eliminate all risks or act on all opportunities.
  • Summarize your planned actions somewhere in your management system. This doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, there are no requirements to assign levels of risk, but identify the risks and opportunities and your planned actions related to them.  Don’t forget to address how you will incorporate your actions into your management system and then how you will review your progress and the effectiveness of the actions taken.

 

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Current Certifications for ISO 13485:2003 EXPIRE February 28, 2019

The latest revision to ISO 13485 was released last February, replacing the previous 2003 version.  Current ISO 13485:2003 certificates will EXPIRE on February 28, 2019.

For the next three years until February 28, 2019, both ISO 13485:2003 and ISO 13485:2016 standards will be valid.  This 3-year window will allow organizations the necessary time to transition their systems to the new standard.  Before expiration of 9001:2008, separate certificates will be issued to clients who conform to the ISO 13485:2003 standard.

After February 28, 2019, any existing certificates issued to ISO 13485:2003 will not be valid.  On September 15, 2018, all separate ISO 9001:2008 certificates will become obsolete.

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ISO 9001:2015 Transition Time Running Out!

Best Methods for Transitioning to ISO 9001:2015

8 Steps for ISO 9001:2015 TransitionYou’ve been busy, workloads are up and you are using most of your day just keeping up with normal business activities. You know that management expects you to get your ISO system ready for ISO 9001:2015 transition, but you don’t know where to even begin so you’ve been waiting and working on things that you do know how to do. Each day, the stress and weight of the transition is beginning to grow and take up more of your mindshare.

Now – stop worrying!  You need to remember that Platinum Registration is here for you. In fact, we’ve been thinking a lot about you! We want to give you tools to help you work through the process and reduce your stress.

Here are the steps:

  1. Purchase a copy of the Standard – get it from www.asq.org. Click on Books and Standards.  Look for ASQ/ANSI/ISO 9001:2015: QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS – REQUIREMENTS. There are paper and electronic versions. The electronic version will allow you to download the copy straight away.
  2. Create a checklist using the requirements of the Standard.
  3. Compare your processes to the requirements of the Standard. Identify gaps and brainstorm on how your organization would like to change or create new processes to address the gaps.
  4. Work from the standpoint that you are a functioning business and therefore you probably naturally satisfy the requirements for ISO 9001:2015. You just need to be a detective and figure out how it occurs. Ask management how they do things…they probably can tell you how much of their activities are accomplished.
  5. Set-up systems to assure the communication and repeatability of the processes as described by management. You have a lot of flexibility in documentation for new requirements. Put what you need to have in place for control, but don’t overdo it! Many companies are doing this my modifying existing processes (i.e., management review)
  6. Check your system using your internal audit system.
  7. Perform a management review.
  8. If you are still concerned about your approach, contact us and set-up a pre-assessment. While we can’t consult, we can certainly identify areas of nonconformance and opportunities for improvement.
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Platinum Gives Back in 2017 Through the Difference Maker Movement

difference-maker-1The Difference Maker Movement that Platinum supports was started by a young boy named Kylan when he was just 9 years old, because, in his words, he wanted to change the world.  He met some very special people who believed he could. Kylan’s desire is to show others that no matter your age or income, you can make a difference to someone. It could be someone in your neighborhood, in your school, or around the world.

difference-maker-2Now Kylan is trying to spread the word and help others to become Difference Makers.

Colorado is so lucky to have this young philanthropist in our midst.  His work has been recognized by local news and by our Governor in the creation of Difference Maker Day

difference-maker-3For every new client that mentions this program, Platinum will donate $100.00 to Kylan’s Difference Maker Movement to help make positive change happen.

Did you know that anyone can be a Difference Maker? For ideas on how you can impact your community, visit the Difference Maker website.

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Tools & Resources for Clients Transitioning to ISO 9001:2015

ipadPlease go to “Just for Clients” located at the top of any of our website pages and click on the “Downloads” tab for useful documents and tools such as:

  • Client Transition Plan Application
  • ISO 9001:2015 Transition Expectations
  • Differences between ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 9001:2015
  • “Transitioning to ISO 9001:2015” Webinar and Q&A document
  • Process Analysis Tool
  • ISO 9001:2015 Conformance Matrix
  • ISO 9001:2015 Document Review Checklist

For questions about the transition process or for more information, please contact us.

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ISO 9001:2015 Pre-Assessment Audits

questions5Not sure if you are ready to transition?  You can request a Pre-Assessment Audit through your auditor or by contacting our office.  This is a “practice audit”, where you can get feedback on conformance in advance of your Assessment.  This approach maximizes your ability to independently modify your system and have confidence that you won’t be caught out during your Transition Audit. These audit dates will be available on a first come, first served basis.

A limited number of Pre-Assessment dates per month will be available at a discounted rate until June 30, 2017.

Request a Pre-Assessment Audit

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Transition to ISO 9001:2015 – New Client Requirements

050730c631854d809d2139c8470a553aIn the first year of ISO 9001:2015, we have helped numerous clients through the transition process. We truly appreciate these clients’ responsiveness to our request for an early transition. These clients did a great job of preparing and their transitions have gone smoothly.

We still have a considerable number of clients who have yet to go through transition. To best manage our remaining clients through the process in a low stress manner, we feel it is necessary to change and clarify our transition expectations for the remaining transition period. If you do not have your transition dates scheduled, we will be contacting you to get them booked between now and January 31, 2017. Please be prepared to help use get your audit scheduled. The information below is important in selecting your transition dates:

  • Clients with a Reassessment date between 1 January 2018 and 30 June 2018 will be able to wait until their Reassessment for their transition.
  • Clients who have already made arrangements with their auditor and/or Platinum Management for a 2018 Transition will be able to keep those current arranged dates for Transition.
  • All other clients are expected to transition to ISO 9001:2015 during their regularly scheduled assessments in 2017.
  • If you need to wait until 2018, please contact the office as soon as possible to discuss your specific situation and we will work the transition into 2018 on a first come, first-served basis. We will have a very limited number of dates available in 2018 for transition to the new standard other than the dates already planned. Please do not delay in setting up your transition dates if you absolutely cannot transition in 2017 and do not fit into categories 1 or 2 above.

Expedite fees will be applied to any client who does not transition by the end of June 2018 at the following rates: 1 full day assessment fees will be charged for clients waiting until July and 2 full days assessment fees will be charged for audits to be completed in August. This is to encourage our clients to plan their transitions appropriately and not wait until the last minute.

For new clients, if you are working to ISO 9001:2008, we will stop performing initial audits and certifying clients to this standard after June 1, 2017.

Schedule Your Transition Now

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Deconstructing ISO 9001:2015 Part 2: Section 5: Leadership: Involvement of Top Management

Management Responsibility has always been a part of ISO 9001, as it is intended to be a Top Management-supported and implemented Quality Management System. It’s no surprise, then, that ISO 9001:2015 has management responsibilities.  With that said, there have been changes to the standard, specifically around Top Management and Leadership.

That Was Then

In the past, management had an identified management representative to handle communication of the QMS and top management to employees.  This representative is no longer a requirement of the standard.

This is Now

ISO 9001:2015 now requires Top Management to be more engaged in the overall management and functioning of the QMS. While Section 5 of ISO 9001:2015 called “Leadership” hasn’t changed significantly, it has been expanded and includes several items that must be addressed by Top Management including:

  • Having accountability for the effectiveness of the QMS;
  • Ensuring the organization’s quality policy and quality objectives are identified and communicated;
  • Ensuring that the QMS is aligned with its business processes;
  • Promoting and communicating the QMS throughout the organization, including the process approach, risk-based thinking and effectiveness;
  • Ensuring that resources are identified and available;
  • Ensuring that the QMS achieves the intended results;
  • Engaging, directing and supporting employees to contribute to the effectiveness of the QMS.

It is ultimately the responsibility of Top Management to ensure the QMS is functioning properly and meeting the goals and expectations set by management, but the individual responsibilities listed above can be delegated.

Who’s in Charge Anyway?

Now, does this mean that Executive Management is required to “run” the QMS?

Not necessarily. 

Clearly, they need to be involved in setting the pace for the organization with the quality policy, organizational objectives, assessing risk and opportunities, and overall communication of the QMS.  They also need to understand the status of their system – how well it is meeting goals and the system’s overall effectiveness for assuring quality.

As with any organizational process, some of these items can be delegated to other personnel as necessary for the proper functioning of the system.

This involvement doesn’t mean that Executive Management functions as a manager of the QMS, but they do need to understand, drive, support and communicate the QMS for its usefulness.  Top Management must be available for at least some part of 3rd party audits to go over objectives, risk/opportunities and effectiveness of the QMS.  Level of involvement will depend on the complexity of the system developed and how it is implemented by the organization.

What Does ISO Want?

What ISO 9001:2015 really wants from Top Management is confirmation that they are accountable for answering the following:

  • How the company is performing?
  • What are risks to the organization?
  • Where are the potential opportunities for the organization?
  • Are organization goals being met?
  • How effective are the processes implemented?

To Document or Not to Document: That is the Question

While the ISO 9001:2008 required organizations to have more documentation, ISO 9001:2015 actually requires less.  It gives management the flexibility to decide what type and how much documentation the organization needs.  Management is in control.

However, just because the new standard requires you to document less, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.  There are still things to consider.

Unless you have a photographic memory, having your processes documented and available to discuss how the organization is adjusting to the system with your auditor will make running your organization a lot smoother.  Only things that are defined can be improved.  Good documentation can make your colleagues day-to-day life easier and help with problem resolution and improvement.  Also remember: defined processes can be transferred to new employees with clarity, leaving a lot less room for things to slip through the cracks.

It really is an individual decision and comes down to how confident you and employees are with your new QMS and how stable and secure your organization is.  The risk of under-documenting should be considered if that is the route you choose.

Questions from the Audience – What Do You Want to Know?

If there is a specific question or concern about ISO 9001:2015 that you’d like to see addressed in this article series, please contact us – we take requests!

For more information or to talk to a Platinum representative, email us at info@platinumregistration.com or call (303) 639-9001

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What do you want (or need) to know?

We welcome suggestions on topics about ISO 9001:2015 from you – questions, concerns or thoughts you may have.  We want to ensure we cover it all to make your certification process as smooth as possible.

Click here to submit suggestions on article topics that you’d like to see developed. or email us at info@platinumregistration.com

If you are an existing client, Click here for more information regarding ISO 9001:2015 registration expectations and tools to help evaluate your system to ISO 9001:2015.

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