Auditing Is A Key Component Of Quality Management Systems

Using APACT, this supplier was able to tailor their internal audit program to meet the diversity among their focus factories, while remaining within the scope of the QS-9000 standard.

Competition is fierce in today's supplier network. As a supplier in the transportation industry, the Victor Reinz Division of Dana Corporation (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) knows that delivering quality products in a timely manner is critical to being a survivor—even a leader—in the game. According to Tom Derzon, quality assurance manager, quality is a way of life at Victor Reinz. This is evidenced by its QS9000 and ISO9001 registration.

The Victor Reinz division manufactures gaskets and sealing products for the automotive, heavy duty offroad and recreational vehicle industries. Some of the company's key customers include Caterpillar, Navistar, Mack Truck, General Motors and Harley Davidson. With the facility being structured into five customer-oriented focus factories, communication is extremely important and everyone must be reading from the same page.

A vital part of any quality system is the auditing program used to track nonconformances and corrective actions. An effective auditing strategy ensures that when a problem arises, it can be quickly addressed before it becomes a quality issue for the customer.

Some companies rely on a number of software programs to set up an auditing program, including Microsoft's Word and Excel. However, at the Victor Reinz division, each focus factory exhibits a wide range of independence within its operation. As a result, the company needed a tool to address all elements of the QS9000 standard using formal documentation within each factory. Equally important was that the information needed to be entered in one place and transferred across all relevant areas, allowing increased documentation consistency and a significant reduction in the margin of error.

Several possible solutions were reviewed, but Mr. Derzon realized the software would have to be integrated to allow the different databases to "talk" to each other. Mr. Derzon finally decided on APACT (Audit Planning And Control Tool) from Integral Solutions, Inc. (Royal Oak, Michigan) to help organize and manage the system.

The Victor Reinz division has been using the APACT software for more than two years. According to Mr. Derzon, implementation of this system has made work easier.

"With APACT we were able to tailor our internal audit program to meet the diversity among our focus factories, while remaining within the scope of the QS-9000 standard," Mr. Derzon says. "APACT provides flexibility to not only set up and track our own internal audits, but also to develop audit criteria for our suppliers."

Victor Reinz division is committed to quality. Using APACT has enabled it to improve its total quality management system. With processes under control on the plant floor, the company has effectively reduced rework, scrap and customer complaints, resulting in improved efficiency and increased return on investment.

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