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Title 49: Transportation, Part 192 – Transportation of Natural Gas and Other Gas by Pipeline, prescribes minimum safety requirements for pipeline facilities and the transportation of gas, including pipeline facilities.  Subpart N outlines Pipeline Safety: Qualification of Pipeline Personnel.

The purpose of this program is to ensure a qualified workforce, and to reduce the probability and consequence of incidents on natural gas pipeline facilities caused by human error.  At a minimum, a Pipeline Safety Qualification Program would include the following categories:

  • Scope
  • Definitions
  • Qualification Program
  • Recordkeeping
  • General

Do you have such a program?  If you want to do gas work on a utility company system, you will need to create one.  First begin by assessing your current operations; then determine what covered tasks you will need.  A covered task would be:

  • Performed on a pipeline facility
  • An operations or maintenance task as defined by [49 CFR Part 192]
  • Performed as a requirement of [49 CFR Part 192]
  • Affects the operation or integrity of the pipeline

After December 16, 2004, qualifications in part require operators to provide training, as appropriate to performing covered tasks, and to notify the utility administrator or a state agency if the operator significantly modifies the program, after the administrator or state agency has verified that it complies with this section.

Each operator shall maintain records to demonstrate compliance, and shall include:

  • Identification of qualified individual(s);
  • Identification of the covered tasks the individual is qualified to perform;
  • Date(s) of current qualification; and
  • Qualification method(s).

Operators must have a written qualification program.  The program must be available for review by the utility administrator or by a state agency participating under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 601 if the program is under the authority of that state agency.  If you do not have a written program, consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our website, www.stortiservices.com.

Is the number of units produced each day starting to drop off?  Is your available inventory coming up short?  Do priorities change?  You are not alone.  What could be dismissed previously as an isolated case may now attributed to growing pains.  If you don’t address this now, you could lose some of your valued customers.

You want to work around the problems.  Your employees say you don’t understand.  You blame the customer; the employees blame you.  Is there a problem?  How do you identify the underlying problems, and fix them?  A production schedule provides the standard work control process; which will effectively and efficiently schedule work, assign resources and support activities.

It applies to the scheduling and execution of all work, and any critical support activities that are part of the overall operations of a company.  You will first need to create and enter all work requests into a Customer Order Database Log.  Next identify and set up a work management committee to include, at a minimum, the Vice President, Operations or Production Supervisor, Purchasing Manager, Sales Consultant, and Scheduler.

The Scheduler will prepare a weekly schedule of daily activities, and submit it to all members of the Work Management Committee for review.  The committee shall meet at the end of every day to review the schedule for the next day.  Completed work will then be entered into the Customer Order Database Log, and removed from the schedule.  Emergent jobs may not appear on the schedule, and may be worked ahead of scheduled jobs, when approved in writing by the Vice President, or his designee.

Do you have a documented work control process?  If you do not have the time, consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our website, www.stortiservices.com.

You receive a work request from your customer. You assemble a job package to perform the work. You forward the job to the assigned crew to complete, as outlined. Part way into the job, you get a call that a permit or drawing is missing, or the material on hand is incorrect. Have you ever experienced this? Have you ever wondered why?

A pre-job package review process will assist in indentify shortcomings, before you start a job; which will help to preclude recurrence in the future. An up-front three-step review process will help to minimize the number of problem jobs. You probably have some form of package review; however if it is not documented, and you are not aware of the potential problems with the job, you will continue to encounter problems.

What is a Pre-Job Package Review Process? Why do I need one? If you can identify and correct problems before stating work, you will save time and money on what would have been wasted on delays of non-reimbursable labor, material and equipment.

Start with a Pre-Survey Review of the job package by your Back Office Staff. This review in part would be of the schedule, prints, permits, material, etc. Next conduct a Pre-Job Inspection by your Superintendent. Ensure that scope of work is identified and ready to begin; then review procedures, inspections and tests for understanding.

Finally turn the job package over to the Foreman for review and final sign-off. If you do not have a documented pre-job package review process, consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our website, www.stortiservices.com.

From 1950 onward, W. Edwards Deming (an American statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and consultant) taught top management how to improve design (and thus service), product quality, testing and sales through various methods, including the application of statistical methods (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Today written Quality Programs are an integral part of the Utility, Manufacturing, Automotive, Aerospace and Pharmaceutical Industries to name a few.

The overall quality of many of the products we use today can be directly attributed to Deming’s philosophy and teachings. If you are a sub-contractor, or looking to be a supplier in one of these industries, this program could help to open the door for you. At a minimum, this program would include areas such as:

  • Quality Assurance Program
  • Design Control
  • Instructions, Procedures, and Drawings
  • Document Control
  • Control of Purchased Material, Equipment, & Services
  • Control of Special Processes
  • Inspection
  • Test Control
  • Control of Measuring & Test Equipment
  • Non-Conforming Materials, Parts, & Components
  • Corrective Action Plan
  • Quality Assurance Records
  • Auditing

This program will lead the way in reducing the number of defects, increase performance and raise customer satisfaction. If you do not have one, consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our website, www.stortiservices.com.

A third-party audit is an audit of a company that is performed by an independent auditor. The auditor cannot be an employee of either the company being audited, or the customer they serve. This audit will help to determine the status and reliability of your internal controls.

Most companies are required to effectively manage their relationships with key customers. They can meet this requirement related to audit controls by:

  • Directly auditing their overall operations.
  • Employing the services of an external auditor to evaluate these operations and controls that are in place.
  • Receiving and reviewing sufficiently detailed independent audit reports from a third-party audit firm.

You will need to ensure that the independent auditor you hire is qualified by the ASQ, RAB, or equivalent agency. Next you will need to ensure the scope of this audit satisfies your own audit objectives, and finally that any significant deficiencies are reported and corrected.

Don’t try to go it alone. There are a lot of good auditors out there that can help you. If you do not currently have one, consider utilizing an independent audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our website, www.stortiservices.com.

Do you ever find yourself in a position where you are doing additional work for your customer, and then not getting paid for it? You are not alone. It is not that your customer does not want to pay you for this added scope of work. You just need to follow a basic scope change process to manage this work.

A defined scope change process will ensure your employees understand the steps that must be taken to ensure the work is reviewed and approved by your customer before the work proceeds. Yes, proceeds. Without the upfront approval of your customer, you are putting yourself in jeopardy to not be paid for the work.

At a minimum this process should include:

  1. Identifying the need to perform more work than has been documented on the work request for you to perform.
  2. Notify your supervisor of this additional scope of work, so they can contact your customer for a disposition using a Scope Change Request Form.
  3. Upon completion of this review, record status of the scope change request (approved/disapproved) into a Scope Change Log for tracking purposes.
  4. If the scope change request is approved, the additional work activities are added to the work scope to ensure the change is implemented. If it is disapproved, the additional work will not be performed.
  5. Finally, be sure to instruct your workers on how you want them to proceed.

This will help you manage expectations and show how approved scope change requests impacting your work are resolved. If you do not have one, consider utilizing a consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our website, www.stortiservices.com.

Are your work days getting longer? Going to work earlier and staying later to get everything done. Still not enough hours in the day! Don’t assume your employees know what you expect of them. Do you have a documented Back Office Process? Did things work out ok in the past? Are they ineffective today?

You will need to step back and perform an independent assessment of what you have, or do not have in place, to find out what the problems are. First start out by asking your employees. If you want to improve operations, and increase overall efficiencies, who better to ask than the people that do this work day in and day out. Some of the areas you will need to evaluate are:

  1. Accounts Receivable
  2. Accounts Payable
  3. Bid Quotation, Preparation, Review and Approval
  4. Employee Qualification
  5. Equipment Maintenance
  6. Expense Reporting
  7. Marketing and Solicitation
  8. Payroll
  9. Record Keeping
  10. Work Scheduling

This will help to identify opportunities where you can make changes that will help to reduce workload, and raise employee moral. If you do not have one, consider utilizing a consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our website, www.stortiservices.com.

A method to collect, analyze and interpret data relating to product and process performance. This will help to ensure consistent quality, and appropriate process controls. It is also used to promote continuous improvement. It also applies to data gathered from process, shipment, inspections and marketing analysis.

You will need to establish measures for determining if a sample size is truly representative of a given population with respect to the data being collected and analyzed. An adequate sample size is necessary in order to ensure compliance with the production requirements of your company’s operation.

Random Sampling is performed on a given set of activities, in order to provide a cross sectional overview of a set of activities being looked at. Answers to these, and a lot of other questions can be found in ANSI/ASQC Z1.4, Sampling Procedures and Tables for Inspection by Attributes.

Do you have such a procedure?  If not, you may want to create one.  Before getting started, you will need to consider and address the following steps:

  1. Determine the need for Random Sampling.
  2. Coordinate what needs a Sample Inspection.
  3. Define the appropriate Inspection Criteria.
  4. Develop, Approve and Implement a Statistical Technique Procedure.

Sampling Plans may be Single, Double or Multiple. Inspection Levels I, II or III would need to be determined. You will start out performing Normal Inspections. Should the number of lots accepted increase or decrease; you will change to Reduced or Tightened Inspections, as applicable. Lot or batch sizes vary, depending on the total number.

If you do not have a documented statistical technique program, consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality Consulting, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 215.657.0837, send an email to ralph.storti@storticonsulting.net, or visit our website, www.storticonsulting.net.

ANSI/ISO/ASQ 9001 states that internal audits are to be conducted at planned intervals to determine whether a company’s quality management system conforms to planned arrangements, to the quality management system requirements of your company, and is effectively implemented and maintained.

It further states that audit programs must be planned, taking into consideration areas to be audited, as well as the results of previous audits. To maintain independence, auditors must not audit their own work. You will also need to define the audit criteria, scope, frequency and methods. This is done in part as follows:

  • Conduct Pre-Audit Meeting with the Management Team, to set expectations.
  • Prepare an Audit Plan outlining the entire internal/pre-assessment audit process.
  • Prepare an Audit Schedule outlining dates, times and events.
  • Review a pre-identified number of processes in each of the functional areas of the Quality Management System Requirements for understanding.
  • Review applicable QMS Procedure and Process Documents.
  • Conduct on-site Audit Entrance Meeting with the Management Team.
  • Conduct on-site audit of a pre-identified number of processes/functional area requirements listed in the QMS.
  • Prepare Audit Checklists to determine compliance in given areas.
  • Conduct end of day meeting with Management Team, to review activities/issues.
  • Conduct on-site wrap-up meeting with the Management Team, or designee(s).
  • Review all audit notes and documents.
  • Prepare Draft Non-Conformity Report(s) of any findings.
  • Prepare Draft Corrective Action(s) of any findings.
  • Prepare a Draft Audit Report.
  • Conduct on-site Closing Meeting with the Management Team.
  • Issue Final Audit, Nonconformity and Corrective Action Reports.

The extra time you spend upfront planning for this audit will help to ensure a thorough assessment of your QMS. If you do not currently have the time or resources, consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our website, www.stortiservices.com.

The cost of doing business continues to rise. Your customer wants you to hold the line on your products and services. Your employees are asking for a raise. The economy isn’t helping, and many companies are going out of business. Something has to give! What can you do?

Don’t give up on Quality. It took you a long time to get to the level you are at, and you don’t want to lose that competitive edge. Yes, there is an added cost in maintaining a quality program; however what would the downside be of not having one. Your customer may decide to go to one of your competitors.

Raising Prices and Lowering Expenses are the only alternatives you have to improve your bottom line. Raising Prices in a downturn economy would be disastrous. You have tried to lower expenses in the past, and do not see any other options. Well, your employees may have the answer.

Put all your processes on the table, assess each of them with an open mind, and remember that no one process is so sacred that it cannot be improved upon. This will help to identify opportunities where you can make changes, and save the quality program you worked so hard to implement. If you do not have one, consider utilizing a consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our website, www.stortiservices.com.

So what is ISO? ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world’s largest developer and publisher of International Standards (Source: http://www.iso.org/iso/about.htm). ISO has several committees, and is comprised of member bodies from numerous countries around the world.

As was the case in 1994, 2000, 2008, and in September 2015 the latest version of ISO 9001:2015 was implemented. A key feature is the new standard is now more compatible with services and non-manufacturing users. Without going into each specific change, the following is a list of the new structure.

  • Scope, Clause 1.0)
  • Normative References, Clause 2.0
  • Terms and Definitions, Clause 3.0
  • Context of the organization, Clause 4.0
  • Leadership, Clause 5.0
  • Planning, Clause 6.0)
  • Support, Clause 7.0
  • Operation, Clause 8.0
  • Performance Evaluation, Clause 9.0
  • Improvement, Clause 10.0

A few of the potential benefits to the user are:

  • Focus on achieving planned results
  • Better process control leading to improved results
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • More comprehensive opportunities for improvement

Do you have an ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System (QMS) that needs to be updated to 2015? Do you need a full ISO 9001:2015 QMS? If you do not have one, consider utilizing a consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality Consulting we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits. If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 215.657.0837, send an email to ralph.storti@storticonsulting.net, or visit our website, www.storticonsulting.net.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or sometimes USEPA) is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged to regulate chemicals and protect human health by safeguarding the natural environment: air, water, and land (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). It is a method to ensure that workers, residents and surrounding communities are protected from any incident associated with physical, chemical and/or biological hazards.

This plan would provide a means of protecting the immediate and surrounding areas, through the control of soil, concrete, ground water, streams and air emissions. Preparation of an Environmental Plan, prior to beginning any physical work, will help to identify and minimize any potential environmental hazard.

Several federal and state standards address things like remediation and clean-up activities of work areas and site control such as:

  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
  • Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER)
  • Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)

Employees will need to be trained. Permits may need to be requested. Personnel Protective Equipment is necessary. Air Monitoring and Spill Prevention measures need to be in place. Do you have such a plan? If not, you may want to create one, consider utilizing a consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our website, www.stortiservices.com.

The consensus is unanimous – the Registrar is coming.  Although many companies are ISO 9000 certified, their ability to oversee all aspects of the Quality Management System is difficult at best.  No one wants to receive an unsatisfactory audit report or finding, but the situation is not hopeless!

Here are three quick tips that you may find helpful:

  1. Review your Quality System Manual Requirements and Current Internal Audit Schedule to ensure all functional areas and processes have in fact been audited. This helps guarantee that all activities have been evaluated.
  2. Your written quality, safety and operating procedures are important. Review all Non-Conformities, Corrective Actions and Enhancements to ensure that all identified issues have in fact been addressed, and properly closed.
  3. If either of these tasks has not been performed, or is incomplete, address them now before the registrar comes in. The extra time you spend up front will help save you time and money on the back end.  It is better for you to self-identify a problem, then wait for the registrar to find it.

If you don’t have the time or resources, consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers. At home we turn to roofers, plumbers or a handyman when we need assistance – so why should things be any different in business?

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our  website, www.stortiservices.com.

With stiffer laws and penalties for DUI (Driving Under The Influence), many bars and restaurants are noticing a decline in patronage. If that is not enough to get your attention, the wholesale cost of alcohol continues to increase too. Is every drink being paid and/or accounted for? Raising prices across the board is not the answer.

First start out by conducting and maintaining a weekly beverage inventory control system. If you do not have one, you need to set one up now. The cost is minimal, and it will give you a quick picture of what your overall pouring costs are. You set the level, monitor it weekly, and then hold your employees accountable to it.

A physical inventory of alcohol on hand, purchased and consumed; along with receipts for the period will prove very beneficial in determining where you establishment is at any given week. This system is easy to set up, and inexpensive to maintain. If you have implemented this system, and still have high pouring costs, there is one more step.

If the cost of your drinks range from lets say $2.00 to $7.00, and the wholesale cost of these products varies too; some pouring costs may be low, others may be ok; however there may be several that are quite high. Lumping them together will give you an average of all; however this will not help you identify the ones that are out of line.

You will need to conduct a one-time analysis of each drink price (Happy Hour, Regular and Late Night) to get a true pouring cost. With this you will see first hand which one(s) are helping or hurting your efforts. The next step is to identify those that are driving your profits down, re-calculate a fair price, and watch your profit margin increase.

Some companies will say, “We can’t afford it”. My response is, “You can’t afford to not have it” .If you don’t have the time or resources, consider utilizing an outside consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our  website, www.stortiservices.com.

With stiffer laws and penalties for DUI (Driving Under The Influence), many bars and restaurants are noticing a decline in patronage. If that is not enough to get your attention, the wholesale cost of alcohol continues to increase too. Is every drink being paid and/or accounted for? Raising prices across the board is not the answer.

First start out by conducting and maintaining a weekly beverage inventory control system. If you do not have one, you need to set one up now. The cost is minimal, and it will give you a quick picture of what your overall pouring costs are. You set the level, monitor it weekly, and then hold your employees accountable to it.

A physical inventory of alcohol on hand, purchased and consumed; along with receipts for the period will prove very beneficial in determining where you establishment is at any given week. This system is easy to set up, and inexpensive to maintain. If you have implemented this system, and still have high pouring costs, there is one more step.

If the cost of your drinks range from lets say $2.00 to $7.00, and the wholesale cost of these products varies too; some pouring costs may be low, others may be ok; however there may be several that are quite high. Lumping them together will give you an average of all; however this will not help you identify the ones that are out of line.

You will need to conduct a one-time analysis of each drink price (Happy Hour, Regular and Late Night) to get a true pouring cost. With this you will see first hand which one(s) are helping or hurting your efforts. The next step is to identify those that are driving your profits down, re-calculate a fair price, and watch your profit margin increase.

Some companies will say, “We can’t afford it”. My response is, “You can’t afford to not have it” .If you don’t have the time or resources, consider utilizing an outside consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our  website, www.stortiservices.com.

Like Safety, Quality is an integral part of a company’s day-to-day operations.  If you do not have a documented process to control these activities, the likelihood of overlooking an important task is high.  When you have a formal program, it helps to ensure that you “Do What You Plan”, “Plan What You Do”, and “Document What You Did”.

Improve Performance and Increase Customer Satisfaction when you:

  1. Do What You Plan. Review the scope of work, list the tasks at hand in the sequence they are to be conducted, and only do the work you plan.
  2. Plan What You Do. Before beginning any work, be sure to follow the applicable procedure, form or checklist you prepared in step 1.
  3. Document What You Did. Be sure to document all aspects of the work you performed.  If something was done differently, or not at all, be sure to record it.

If you didn’t plan it, didn’t do it as planned, or document your work; it will be difficult at best for you to support a position that the work was done to the requirements of your Quality Management System, Procedures, and Forms.

A Quality System Manual will help bring your company to the next level.  If you do not have one, consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our  website, www.stortiservices.com.

 

Before updating any existing program or process, you will need to compare your current practices, to those you want to implement. This will help to identify shortcomings and address new requirements, to ensure a smooth transition. Remember, you can not fix or improve a program or process without first analyzing it.

You would first start out by preparing a “Gap Analysis Checklist”. The checklist must contain a list of the requirements you want to achieve, and should be written in question format. Then use the checklist to compare the program or process that is in place with the requirements of the one you want to implement.

The checklist should also state what documents to look for, what is needed to meet the requirements and other guidance on evaluating your program or process. The checklist will also give you a specific place to document what you saw that did or did not meet these requirements.

With checklist in hand, you are now ready to get started by:

  • Scheduling the Gap Analysis
  • Conducting the Gap Analysis
  • Using Results of the Gap Analysis

If they are not familiar with this method, you will need to explain the Gap Analysis to your employees. Do you have such a system? If not, you may want to create one, consider utilizing a consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our  website, www.stortiservices.com.

With the high cost of purchasing Calibrated Measuring & Test Equipment (M&TE), it is more important now than ever that companies maintain an effective Measuring & Test Equipment Inventory Control Process. Replacing lost or damaged equipment, and sending test equipment for expedited calibration, is time consuming and cost prohibitive.

 

If you do not have a tool inventory control process, you need to develop one. Before beginning, you will need to conduct an initial meeting with your company management team to set expectations. In order to ensure the process does not linger on, a timetable with activities, assigned responsibilities and due dates must be developed.

Next you will have to review all existing company and manufacturer M&TE procedures and processes for understanding. Face to face interviews with tool technicians, and end-users will help to provide first hand information about unique identification numbers, calibration frequency, control and maintenance of each specific piece of equipment.

With this out of the way, you will need to update or prepare the 1st Draft of a Tool Inventory Control Process. Once complete, send it to all Subject Matter Experts (SME) for review and comment. Incorporate comments where applicable, notify SME and send to the responsible manager or director for concurrence and subsequent approval.

Finally, you will need to conduct a closing meeting with all involved personnel to review this new process, and answer any questions they might have. Ensure this updated process is implemented and distributed to all controlled copyholders. If you do not have one, consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our  website, www.stortiservices.com.

When you go to the shelf to get an item for issue, have you ever been surprised by what is; or is not there? Does your computer database say you have a quantity different than what is actually on hand? If that’s the case, you will need to perform a Material Reconciliation Assessment to get your inventory system back in line.

So, “What is a Material Reconciliation Process?” How do we conduct one? What do we need to do with the information once we get it? The process is fairly simple to set up and implement. The benefits you get back will far outweigh any upfront time and resources expended. With that said, let’s get started.

You will first need to conduct and document the results of a physical material inventory. Yes, count and list the actual number of widgets in the bin, warehouse and yard area. Then you will need to print out a list of material from your computer database of each widget, quantity and physical location.

With this information in hand, you will need to make a comparison between the two, and adjust the counts accordingly. This will ensure you have an accurate count of material on hand, as well as the actual cost of all material within your material inventory system.

Finally, determine the appropriate inventory levels; which will help minimize restocking delays and costs, reduce the number and value of your inventory; thus helping to increase your bottom line. If you do not have a material assessment process, consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our  website, www.stortiservices.com.

You’re reviewing the job specifications, conducting an initial pre-job briefing with your employees, and performing the work as outlined. Weeks after the work is complete, you get a call that there’s a problem with the finished product. Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever wondered why? Do you know what to do to preclude recurrence?

Although difficult to eliminate, I will tell you the total number of punch list items can be minimized with a documented inspection process. You probably have some form of inspection process; however if it is not documented, and your workers are not aware of the critical characteristics of the job, you will continue to encounter problems.

What is a Documented Inspection Process? Why do I need one? If you can identify and correct problems before backfilling the foundation, covering exterior walls, installing the roof, or putting up interior walls, floors and ceilings, you will save the extra time and money that would have been wasted on non-reimbursable labor, material and rework.

Start by reviewing your contract, all drawings and specifications. List all steps that have measurable attributes (i.e. color, size, location, finish, etc.). List any that must meet specific criteria (i.e. pressure, volume, rating, etc.). Create a written checklist with attributes and criteria of the actual task to be installed (i.e. HVAC, wiring, plumbing, etc.)

Finally review this new process with your employees so they know what is expected of them. If you do not have a documented inspection process, consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our  website, www.stortiservices.com.

An interruption or natural disaster could occur at any time.  It may impact your ability to provide products and services to your customers.  How will you resume operations the day after such an event?  Where will your employees report?  Answers to these, and a lot of other questions can be found in a Business Continuity Plan.

At a minimum, a Business Continuity Plan would include the following categories:

  1. Management Commitments, Roles and Responsibilities.
  2. Business Impact Analysis, identifying your Services or Products.
  3. Plans, Measures and Arrangements for Continuity.
  4. Readiness Procedures.
  5. Quality Assurance Techniques.

Do you have such a plan?  If not, you will need to create one.  You may already have some of these documents.  First begin by assessing your current operations; then determine what resources you will need.  Start out by identifying your management team, area(s) of responsibility, and contact information.

Next conduct a business impact analysis listing all of your services or products, rank order, and impact; both internal and external.  You will then need to develop plans and measures to assure continuity; as well as written procedures to ensure the plan is implemented, so you can maintain overall business continuity.

Lastly a documented appraisal, including a graded drill, is critical to assess the plans accuracy, relevance and effectiveness.  If you do not have a documented continuity plan, consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our  website, www.stortiservices.com.

Ever wonder why it takes your employees more time to finish tasks than expected.  The problems may not be them, it may be the process you have in place. Office Technology, Equipment and Work Practices have changed over the years. Have you?  You will not know for sure, until you conduct a thorough process assessment.

Before beginning, identify the process you want to assess.  First you will need to prepare an assessment plan.  Then prepare an assessment schedule to stay on track.  Next you will need to review all current process documents for understanding.  With these out of the way, you are now ready to prepare assessment checklists.

With checklists in hand, you can now begin your assessment. Be sure your assessment takes into consideration all relevant documents, actual work processes; and of course actual interviews with all affected personnel.  You will then need to document all results and observations, and evaluate performance against written company procedures.

Review process notes, analyze strengths, weaknesses; and recommend opportunities for improvement.  Evaluate program effectiveness and prepare a formal assessment report.  Conduct a sit-down meeting with management, and issue the report.  If you do not have the time, consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our website, www.stortiservices.com.

Are you noticing, or more importantly is your customer noticing, discrepancies between your as-built drawings and invoicing of the work.  Not sure what may be contributing to these differences.  Left unresolved, you could face potential penalties, suspension, or possible termination of your contract which; might be costly given today’s environment.

Your employees say that it’s not them.  You are blaming your customer.  Your customer is blaming you.  So where is the problem?  What do we need to do to find and fix it? If you do not have the time, consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

To begin the process, you need to interview your as-built coordinator to get a thorough understanding of your internal process from the initial sketch, to submittal and invoicing.  Next you will need to sit down with your customer’s as-built coordinator, independent of your coordinator, to find out what their expectations and deliverables are.

Next review a few completed as-built drawings and completed client invoices.  Prepare a written summary containing both positive and negative aspects.  Be sure to include recommendations detailing each area of concern. Finally conduct a follow up dialog with appropriate staff members to identify any additional issues, comments, and suggestions that may help to improve the accuracy of as-built submittals to your customer.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our website, www.stortiservices.com.

A Corrective Action (CA) is an action taken to eliminate the cause(s) of an existing non-conformity, defect or other undesirable situation, in order to prevent recurrence.  If left uncorrected, a CA could have a serious affect on safety, quality or operability.

On the other hand, a Preventive Action (PA) is an action taken to eliminate the cause(s) of a potential non-conformity, defect or other undesirable situation in order to prevent occurrence.  Another words identify and fix it before it becomes a problem.

Failures, malfunctions, deficiencies, defective items and non-conformances are but a few examples of Corrective and Preventive Actions that may need to be addressed.  A strong Corrective and Preventive Action Program will help your company get to the next level.  If you have a program, use it.  If not, you need one!

The first step is to have written Corrective and Preventive Action Procedures.  In addition to these procedures, that will outline the entire process, you will need a Corrective Action and Preventive Action Log to track them.  Corrective and Preventive Action Request Forms are required to document the issue at hand.

A Corrective and Preventive Action Request would include the following sections:

  1. Problem Identification.
  2. Evaluation and Proposed Corrective or Preventive Action, as applicable.
  3. Corrective or Preventive Action Review and Approval, as applicable.
  4. Action Taken.
  5. Verification and Closure.

An individual knowledgeable in analytical assessments, using principles of Root Cause Analysis, is essential in making a final determination.  If you do not have a documented process, consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our website, www.stortiservices.com.

Were you aware that the first crash of an Air Force B-2 Stealth Bomber was caused by moisture in its sensors?  In life moisture is a necessity; however not in the navigational system of a 1.4 billion dollar aircraft.

An Air Force Accident Investigation Board said the crash probably could have been avoided if knowledge of a technique to evaporate this moisture was disseminated to those responsible for the B-2 Program Maintenance.

Both pilots followed procedures, and were able to eject safely.  Unfortunately the aircraft was not as fortunate.  A technique that heats the sensors and evaporates any moisture before calibration was known by some for two years; however this was never formalized in a Technical Order Change or “Lessons Learned” Reports.

The report stated failure to communicate critical information was a contributing factor.  This incident was Aerospace specific; however human performance issues are not industry specific.

A formal communication and distribution program can help preclude a similar event from happening in your industry, or more importantly to your company.  Do you have such a program?  If not, you should put one in place.  Consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our website, www.stortiservices.com.

When you go to the shelf to get an item for issue, have you ever been surprised by what is; or is not there? Does your computer database say you have a quantity different than what is actually on hand? If that’s the case, you will need to perform a Material Reconciliation Assessment to get your inventory system back in line.

So, “What is a Material Reconciliation Process?” How do we conduct one? What do we need to do with the information once we get it? The process is fairly simple to set up and implement. The benefits you get back will far outweigh any upfront time and resources expended. With that said, let’s get started.

You will first need to conduct and document the results of a physical material inventory. Yes, count and list the actual number of widgets in the bin, warehouse and yard area. Then you will need to print out a list of material from your computer database of each widget, quantity and physical location.

With this information in hand, you will need to make a comparison between the two, and adjust the counts accordingly. This will ensure you have an accurate count of material on hand, as well as the actual cost of all material within your material inventory system.

Finally, determine the appropriate inventory levels; which will help minimize restocking delays and costs, reduce the number and value of your inventory; thus helping to increase your bottom line. If you do not have a material assessment process, consider utilizing an audit consultant to assist your team, or perform this for you, so that you can focus on what’s most important to you – your customers.

At Storti Quality, we take pride in helping our customers use quality management practices to enhance results and increase profits.  If you’d like to talk about Quality, please call us at 844-4-STORTI, send an email to info@stortiservices.com, or visit our website, www.stortiservices.com.

“For over 10 years, Riggs Distler & Co., Inc. has found Storti Quality Consulting, Inc. to be our go-to partner for any Quality Program related needs and services, specifically as related to our Utility Contracting activities. In addition, we have been extremely pleased with the Professional Staff Support personnel provided by Storti Quality Consulting, Inc.”

Manfred Konrath, Vice President Utilities

Riggs Distler