09. Jan 2017

The revision and its feasability – an experience report by ADVA

ADVA Optical Networking SE, legally established in Meiningen, Austria and with its administrative headquarters in Martinsried in Bavaria is a multinational supplier of telecommunication equipment. The company focusses on optical fiber based transmitting techniques and has been a long-standing qualityaustria client.

Bernhard Wiehler, Vice President Quality Management, ADVA and his take on the practicability of the revision:

After many years of controversial discussions about what needs to be changed and how to adopt the structure and requirements of such a standard to recent developments and future expectations, the new revision of the Quality Management Standard ISO 9001:2015 has finally been released in November 2015.

In line with the overall update of the ISO family, a new revision of ISO 14001:2015 on environmental management has been published too. As a consequence, and only 10 months later the TL 9000 R6.1 followed likewise, being fully based on ISO 9001 but defining adjusted and extended requirements for the telecom industry.

So, what has changed? Why did we need a new standard? And how does this impact ADVA Optical Networking with our well-established integrated management system?

Well, let´s have a look at the ISO mission first:  ISO develops high quality voluntary international standards which facilitate international exchange of goods and services, support sustainable and equitable economic growth, promote innovation and protect health, safety and the environment.

In fact, there are fundamental structural changes one might only recognize when looking closer into the details of it. Changing the orientation towards a less formalistic quality management system, the new approach rather asks what you have to achieve not what you have to implement – "output matters".

One small word makes such a big difference, as understanding how to build a quality management system and how to integrate all other system aspects into an integrated management system is now key to making a company successful.

It simply means changing from a compliance approach (“I have to do this because it’s a requirement of ISO 9001”) to a conformity/value-add approach (“I want do this because it makes good sense to me, and it will help me to improve my business”).

And in this context the main changes in these standard documents make a lot more sense, such as:

  • 'Context of the organization' – be aware of your market environment and all relevant stakeholders (customers, business partners and shareholders, etc.) and understand their motivations and expectations
  • 'E2E Business Process Management' (BPM) - define a framework with strong customer focus. We did this based on the EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) model and by using PDCA (the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle)
  • 'Risk-based thinking' –  to be implemented across all business areas and processes – this requires systematic integration of risk management (assessment and mitigation) into our business processes as well as products and services (i.e. FMEA)

These new developments give companies much more freedom and ask for less bureaucracy. Instead, they will help us implement measurable indicators that prove our system and processes are effective and efficient. The changes address developments in modern industries that today need a more result-oriented concept and regulations for quality management that help companies to be successful. Nevertheless, it will be more challenging for external auditors and will increases the need for qualification far beyond the rules about how to perform an audit and knowing the relevant standards. The new standard moves us towards also understanding the intention and business strategy of an organization.

Our actual external audit results clearly show that ADVA Optical Networking is well prepared to fulfil these new requirements. However, there are some action items to be worked on in order to adjust our integrated management system and make all employees across all hierarchy levels aware of the new conceptual orientation.

There´s a three years qualifying period to update our certifications (ISO 9001/TL 9000 and ISO 14001) accordingly (until November 2018). We have already decided to do this upgrade in our upcoming October 2017 audit round. So we need to get prepared and work hard on the action items identified. Our QM team will drive and coordinate this, but your friendly contribution definitely is needed to achieve this.


So, what do we need to do? What are these action items to concentrate on in the next few months?

The QM department will initiate and drive (1) an analysis of the “context of the organization” for ADVA Optical Networking. Together and based on this analysis we need (2) to review and update our risk management process, evaluating whether all critical risks and corresponding stakeholders are identified and sufficiently covered. And, as a consequence, we also have (3) to review and implement risk management within our business processes and respective business process management (BPM) model and templates.

There´s a saying that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”.

The same is valid for quality management meaning that not living and acting in accordance with those values will impact quality. Our ADVA Culture is one essential and integral factor of our integrated management system. It clearly shall be (and is) well aligned with those regulations and requirements from ISO standards, and thus is a strong driver for realization.

So, be aware and get prepared, We need your contribution and support – now … always!



Bernhard Wiehler
Vice President Quality Management
ADVA Optical Networking SE

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