NORDX/CDT Inc. (www.nordx.com), a wholly owned subsidiary of Cable Design Technologies (CDT) Corp., has successfully completed the audit to the 2000 version of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO-www.iso.ch) 9001 system quality standard, making it the first end-to-end structured cabling system manufacturer to obtain this official recognition.
"This gives us a validation that the changes we have been making in the past few years are on the right track," says Dr. Marek Kapuscinski, quality and customer satisfaction director. The 2000 version requirements revolve around customer satisfaction, continual improvement, and training and awareness.
This resulting certification recommendation by Quality Management Institute (QMI) and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL-www.ul.com) is based on a rigorous auditing process. For this upgrade, a company must meet these requirements. "The joint QMI/UL audit proved that we have the right focus-our customer. It also proved that we have the right tools to drive improvement, and demonstrated that these tools have made some measurable improvements in the satisfaction of our customers," explains Normand Bourque, president and CEO of NORDX/CDT. Marketing, sales, and customer service operations must work together to implement these requirements. It involves reviewing procedures and/or developing new procedures for the identification of customer requirements. NORDX/CDT developed measures to ensure that customer needs and expectations are determined and converted into specific requirements. A written procedure is not explicitly required, but they had to be able to demonstrate conformance.
This process followed by NORDX/CDT takes a measurement of the output and compares it to current practices.
Conformance and continual improvement are displayed through quantitative measurements of inputs and outputs (see figure, above). The standard requires that opportunities and priorities for improvement of the quality system identified by comparing the actual quality performance meet objectives set by management. "A process has been put in place to ask customers about their satisfaction with all aspects of our business such as products, service, marketing, sales, shipping, etc.," said Kapuscinski. The input is the starting point of the process and represents the level of customer satisfaction.
Man agement uses available resources, such as details about past consumer concerns with this input to evaluate improvement. This combination of new information creates an updated measurement of improvement (output) where current practices may then be adjusted by management. Corrective and preventive actions and special management programs are means for implementing these improvements.
"With this 2000 version of ISO 9001, the upper management has to demonstrate its active involvement in the process. This new standard is more focused on prevention rather than reaction; therefore, all the company processes must be developed accordingly," says Bourque. In addition to the 1994 version's requirements for identifying training needs, providing training, assigning qualified personnel, and maintaining records, the 2000 standard requires organizations to evaluate the effectiveness of training and establish employee awareness programs. Nordx/CDT's upper management took an active role to meet this requirement.
NORDX/CDT views this recognition as a competitive edge and says it continues to work towards improved customer service.