18. Mar 2013

Simply Better thanks to Quality

On March 14th, Quality Austria invited people to the 19th qualityaustria Forum in Salzburg Congress. More than 600 guests followed the invitation. Konrad Scheiber, CEO of Quality Austria Training, Certification and Evaluation GmbH, opened the event by talking about the three central success factors and guarantors for the recommendation of organizations. Walter Stephan from FACC AG and Alf Netek from Kapsch AG described their views about the success driver of quality. Numerous further experts of Quality Austria reported about their experience from practice. The top sportsman Felix Gottwald rounded off the day by holding a lecture about quality and persistence.

Konrad Scheiber, CEO of Quality Austria Training, Certification and Evaluation GmbH, made one thing clear in his impulses for the Forum: Very good products, very good service and high quality are guarantors for recommendations and central success factors. Most recent studies made about the Hidden Champions at the Campus Graz impressively demonstrate that and prove the relevance of Quality Austria on the international markets. As for the interplay between Top Management and the employees, Konrad Scheiber also pointed out that it was a question of working together interactively and collaboratively.

A basic requirement for efficient cooperation always is the employees’ readiness to learn. Konrad Scheiber does not share the opinion that is quoted again and again: “As good as necessary, as simple as possible”. On the contrary: Konrad Scheiber is convinced of the following: “As simple as necessary, as good as possible”.

Quality is no option but an imperative

Walter Stephan, CEO of FACC AG, held a lecture to give insights into aeronautics industry. “In aeronautics industry, safety can only be established by quality. Therefore, quality is no option but an imperative”, he declared. The manufacturer of aeroplane components, which acts globally, focuses on investing in innovations for production. In Stephan’s opinion, quality is holistic.

The entire organization is involved. This includes the treatment of the employees just as much as guaranteeing a perfect value chain. “It is not a matter of checking quality in existing systems but of considering quality as early as in the development phase,” said Stephan.

Reducing complexity - throw off ballast and improve quality

“The number of requirements a company needs to meet regularly nowadays has increased a lot in trade and industry. Today companies need to meet six times the requirements of 1955,” quoted Anni Koubek, who is responsible for innovation and coordination at Quality Austria, statistics from the Harvard Business Manager.

In order to cope with these requirements, companies have taken on different structures. Anni Koubek continued as follows: As a consequence, the degree of structural complexity in companies - e.g. the number of different processes, interfaces, coordination loops and decisional phases - has increased 35 times. According to Koubek, there is a correlation between profitability and complexity, which can be shown as a parabolic curve. “Both low and high complexity will lead to low performance,” explained Koubek. As the number of requirements to be met is constantly growing, simplification will often be forgotten in companies. Still quality management traditionally offers many approaches for simplification, which are becoming modern again under new names. Some examples: the topic of “combination” - e.g. by integrating management systems - the topic of “listening/watching”, which is covered by conducting audits, the method of small steps, which is used as CIP (Continual Improvement Process) in companies where quality management is actually translated into action, or separating the mass from the exception, a method that Deming established as the “Pareto Principle”. “Simplicity” is a principle of quality management that had been pushed into the background and now is much more than a fashionable hype. Dr. W. Edwards Deming had already said, “Reduce Waste and Improve Quality.”

Confidence is worked at hard

Agnes Steinberger, Product Manager Social Responsibility and qualityaustria Trainer and Auditor, said, “The requirements placed on companies, above all in the food sector, are increasing rapidly and permanently.

Customers are becoming more demanding, and aspects of sustainability are becoming much more important. The companies need to fulfil more and more Certification Standards, such as ISO 9001, ISO 22000, IFS, SA 8000 or ONR 192500. Meeting the requirements placed by the customer’s (direct) customers creates confidence and is a constant challenge. The present food scandals, such as horse meat, eggs from organic framing and mould fungi in fodder, shake this confidence. Food inspections made by the public authorities and system audits conducted by Quality Austria are thus becoming even more important. Audits are like “health checks” - they show strong and weak points. However, Certificates are no “documents washing the companies free from guilt” but will rather oblige the companies to improve continually and hold their own in the new league.”

Compliance as a central motive of Top Management

Eckehard Bauer, MSc, who is responsible for Business Development at Quality Austria and is the Product Manager Quality, Risk and Safety Management, said, “ISO 9001 aims at product conformity. Customer requirements as well as legal, normative or even regulatory requirements need to be implemented. In Austrian legislation, OH&S (Occupational Health and Safety) is attached utmost importance to, different responsibilities being defined. However, well-aimed and active management is necessary.

This is shown very clearly in the example of labour protection, which is defined as “employers’ responsibility for labour protection”. According to a study made by the European Union, Austria still has opportunities for improvement in an international comparison. According to the EU Study, one essential motive for OH&S Management is that of complying with legal obligations (90%). However, it also is the employees that require this topic to be dealt with (76%). On a third position, customers demand OH&S (67%). OH&S as a topic of people retention and a tool for reducing absence from work only ranks fourth (59%). What is interesting is that the topic of legal compliance is becoming more and more important. More and more audits of Compliance Management Systems are being asked for. In February, a certifiable ON Rule (ON = Österreichisches Normungsinstitut = Austrian Standards Institute) relating to this topic newly appeared.”

Large-scale sustainability management

Illwerke AG in Vorarlberg, which are based in Bregenz, are a pioneer in several aspects. Having the Certificate Numbers U-00043 and EM-00007, Illwerke AG in Vorarlberg are a pioneer in the International Standards for Environmental Management (ISO 14001) and Energy Management (ISO 50001). Still another important basis for management and communication is the validated Sustainability Report.

Anna Maierhofer, MSc, who is responsible for environmental and energy management as well as sustainability in the Business Development Division, said, “A systematic approach in environmental management will help to analyze and show environmental states of affairs. This will lay the foundations for and guarantee improvement of the organization’s environmental performance, safety and working conditions. Processes will be optimized, business risks will be reduced, and operational bases will be saved by improving use of resources and energy.” In management of the Sustainability Report, which covers nine central fields of action, a crucial role also is played by legal compliance. On the whole, legal certainty and efficiency are promoted consistently so that competitiveness of Illwerke AG in Vorarlberg is increased.

Really impressive - printing with seven seals

The Printshop Janetschek with 50 employees is multi-certified: ISO 9001, ISO 14001, EMAS, FSC CoC, PEFC CoC, Environmental Label, CO2 compensated printing. Thus the company is a pioneer in its industry. Manfred Ergott, who is responsible for marketing and sales and is the Head of the Eco-Competence Centre of the Printshop Janetschek, said,

“These certifications are derived from our business strategy. Janetschek wants to impress the environment. Issues of social responsibility are also fed into understanding of quality. For an SME in the Waldviertel, this is both a challenge and an opportunity when it comes to being perceived as an attractive employer and partner. We still need to explain our potential customers what we mean. For this understanding of sustainability is no matter of course yet.”

3 x 5 assumptions about quality

“CIB = Costumer Is Boss” – this is how Alf Netek, Chief Marketing Officer at Kapsch, summarized the key of corporate success. For him, quality is the central sales driver, which ultimately counts most. Just like Konrad Scheiber, Netek thinks that recommendation is an important criterion for inviting customers to appreciate a product.

Netek postulated 3 x 5 quality assumptions and also illustrated implementation within the Kapsch Group.

  • 5 assumptions for extended understanding of quality
  • 5 assumptions for continual positioning of quality
  • 5 assumptions for new partnerships of quality

As for extended understanding of quality, Netek emphasized that quality needed to be understood as a holistic overall system. According to Netek, comprehensively focusing on quality every day is a valuable social capital. In his opinion, quality will be a decisive driver in collaboration marketing if it rouses enthusiasm. Netek recommends a dialogue with the customer that is intensive (keyword: analysis of customer satisfaction) and active. And he says that quality needs branding and necessitates sensitive stakeholder communication.

Energy audits as a key for increasing efficiency

Wolfgang Hackenauer, MSc, Product Manager Environment and Auditor of Quality Austria, said, “Verification of the Federal Act about Energy Efficiency has been completed. Subsequently one important part is to be formed by establishing energy management systems and conducting energy audits. In industry, at least ten to twenty per cent might be saved by 2020.

The problem: Many companies often only know overall consumption but not load distribution, leaks, etc. ... Often nobody is really responsible in the companies. This means that nobody really takes care of that. A systematic acquisition of the consumptions, the energy flows and the influencing factors would be the first important step. Relevant instructions are given in the new Standard ISO 50001 (Energy Management Systems). In addition, ONORM EN 16247-1 (Energy audits - Part 1: General requirements) can be mentioned. Let me make a marginal topical note: The British Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) estimates that British companies lose two per cent of their business profit every year because they inefficiently use such resources as water, energy or raw materials. According to an EU survey made in 2012, only one fourth of the SME’s, whose number amounts to about 21 million, had a strategy for more resource efficiency.

 

Raising awareness is the key for changes

Wolfgang Neumann, Founder of the world-spanning Platform Energy Globe: “When I established the Energy Saving Fair 30 years ago, energy efficiency and sustainability were no topics. Since then, a lot has changed for the better. A lot still needs to be done.

From my long-standing experience, I know that people will not become active until they know the personal benefits they can draw and know what they can do for this. In this respect, awareness needs to be raised. Since 1999, we have shown possible ways for achieving energy efficiency and good housekeeping with resources by giving positive examples from all around the world in the Energy Globe Award. However, our message also addresses the global decision-makers from trade and industry and politics. For it also is the right basic conditions that are needed to make it possible to make everything “better and more efficient”. Therefore, we will, in autumn, start our first International Forum for Sustainability. At this annual conference, we will get the world’s best masterminds together in order to elaborate and implement new ways for creating a future worth living. The meeting will alternately take place in Salzburg and New York – the UNO Headquarters.”

Status quo of the revision and harmonization of ISO 9001 & Co

Thomas Szabo gave a first insight into the way the world of System Standards is changing radically. What is interesting in his statements is the way he made a transition from technical quality to brand quality and described what factors determine quality - up to the non-customers’ dreams.

However, Szabo also showed a field of tension: “It is difficult to be really good. It is important to be better than the others.” As Szabo, expert for standardization, put it, “New ISO Standards, ongoing ISO projects and current revisions use the new common structure (sequence of the clauses), a common key text and now also common terminology”. ISO 9001 is copied by 40%. Until late 2012, the following ISO-MS Specification Standards were already passed according to the requirements placed by harmonization:

  • ISO 30301 Management system for records
  • ISO 22301 Business continuity management systems
  • ISO 20121 Event sustainability management systems
  • ISO 39001 Road-traffic safety management systems

 

The following projects were on the way at the turn of the year 2012/2013:

  • ISO 55001 Asset management (DIS)
  • ISO 16125 Security management system (CD)

 

The following revisions follow the requirements placed on harmonization:

  • ISO/IEC 27001 Information security management systems
  • ISO 14001 Environmental management systems
  • ISO 9001 Quality management systems

 

„Breaking up is the contrary to standstill“

By way of conclusion, Felix Gottwald talked about the bases for his impressive achievements. The former Nordic combiner and Olympic Champion won many Prizes in his sports career and knows that all accomplishments are based on quality and persistence. “Each way to success is born by single steps. Progress will be achieved if we succeed in improving the quality of what exists and allowing new things to emerge. Like this, we will continue to break up and stay on our way - this is the contrary to standstill”.

Quality Austria obtains the Certificate Green Meeting

Herbert Brugger, General Manager of Salzburg Congress, hands the Certificate Green Meeting over to Susa Mudrak, Project Manager of the 19th qualityaustria Forum, and Konrad Scheiber, CEO of Quality Austria. The basis is formed by Directive 62 relating to the Environmental Label. Herbert Brugger emphasizes that the minimum score has been exceeded by far and this has, up to now, been the biggest Green Meeting in Salzburg Congress.

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