“At MULTIFIX, we have had an ISO certification for over 20 years. The processes are in place, the system does what it is supposed to do. If something goes wrong, it’s fairly easy to look back and see where it went wrong. I think we have it well in hand. ISO looks at how you are doing as an organization and therefore also at your customers: are they satisfied? Obtaining certification is not the main objective. The organization is central. After all, satisfied customers are the greatest asset you have. You want to be able to deliver good products at a good price. ISO makes sure that you control and document all the processes involved.”
Ad Kuijken is Business Controller at MULTIFIX. In this position, he has knowledge of all elements involved in certification. That is why he has been responsible for ISO certification for several years. We spoke to him about this topic and asked him the proverbial shirt off his back.
ISO certification, what is it exactly?
“ISO says a lot about you as an organization, especially about how you have your internal processes in order. As a company, you have to do what you say you will do. You have to ensure the quality of the organization and set goals for the future.”
“In 2015, new ISO guidelines came in. This makes you look at the environment a bit more. Who are your stakeholders, and not just internally, but also the local residents etc. You also have to look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.”
“I make analyses of these and communicate them to higher management. Take Corona as an example. How can we arm ourselves against this? A year ago we had large stocks because of this; now we can’t get enough of them. Do customers want shorter delivery times or other agreements? That is all very important! The ISO manual forces you to look at this as an organization. Incidentally, also to the trend in the results of the important aspects of the recent years. For example, we look at the complaints and whether there is an upward trend. Of course that is not allowed.”
“We have seen an improvement on all the KPI’s set in recent years. For example, complaints relative to the number of order lines are declining. These are positive advances!”
What do you do internally to improve processes?
“We look with a group of about four people at how we can improve things. Often this is with someone from logistics, project management or sales. Together we look at the complaints and see if we see a trend or a structural problem. This could be an error by a supplier, for example. If we discover something like that, we respond to it immediately. We used to look at this less often, which gave deviations the chance to grow. Now, if someone falls ill and someone else takes care of this, it may not go well. In this way, we respond to this very quickly.”
What does ISO management entail?
“On a regular basis I audit during the year. I check whether improvements are needed in the processes and I write an update where necessary. We want to switch to another ERP system soon. That will involve the necessary changes in processes. We hope that this will lead to greater efficiency, better insights and service for our customers. Several times a year I review the processes with people from different departments. I map out whether the processes run as described. If this is not the case, I look at whether it actually deviates or something might have been worded differently in the conversations I had.”
“Once a year Quality Masters comes. An ISO certification is valid for three years and once a year they check how the organization is doing. Randomly they test if the processes are still going as described. If they discover a small or large deviation, you are given the opportunity to improve. It’s actually a kind of ‘re-examination’. If it’s still not good during the re-examination, your certificate will be cancelled. Fortunately, we have never experienced anything like that haha!”
“They zoom in on a particular subject at each visit. This time it was the training plan and HR, for example. They are in it in a constructive way, they don’t want to shoot you. If something goed according to the procedure, they also make a recommendation. They are very nice consultations! If you show that you do something with their feedback, it creates interaction.”
How does it work during the inspection? Do they go through every department?
“They mainly look at the main points. The company is assessed over the past period. For this purpose, the minutes of the board meeting are also examined. The SWOT analysis, stakeholder analysis and important KPI’s are included. One looks at the trend that you have shown over the past five years and notes this down. Next, one takes an interview. They also inquire about various things like the training plan. Finally, he goes deeper into the process. He does this back to front. Is there a packing slip? How was the order picked? What is written on the sales order? In what was it purchased? It actually goes from shipping to invoicing to sales and purchasing. Basically all the primary processes he touched on in there. He’s basically dealing with a case.”
“Sometimes it opens your eyes. Some things are obvious to me. When I go through things with him, I sometimes think; hey, this could be different! An outsider looks at things that happen on the floor with a different perspective. That also triggers me to start thinking about it. Very good actually! This whole process fits in with my job as a Business Controller. You can pick things up with the departments. It fits me well and the processes are also in place!”
“By the way, this also evident from the last inspection. Our certificate has been extended by three years. We are very happy with that.”