In the first portion of this two-part article, ISO 9000 – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, we gave an overview of the standard and how it came to be. Now, we’ll discuss the importance of ISO 9000 in electronics manufacturing, and how we, at NAS Electronics, apply these principles beyond the requirements for certification.
ISO-lating The Electronics Manufacturing Industry
While the electronics manufacturing industry is by no means the most complex of the manufacturing industries, it has its own unique challenges. Because the electronics manufacturing industry requires specialized information to create and manufacture products this, in turn, necessitates manufacturers hire employees with a specialized, electronics-centric skill set. Unfortunately, a dearth of qualified, high-level technicians can leave manufacturers with few hiring options.
To compound the problem, the electronics industry is continually steering toward minimization with increased capabilities. This creates more complex, denser, and difficult to assemble products. So how do companies continually combat a shortage of qualified candidates and increasingly complex work to be performed by these individuals? You got it – ISO 9000!
Skipping the more mundane details, ISO 9000 creates a standard for creating, training to, following, auditing, and updating procedures. Every staff member trained on a specific task is trained the same way and to the same depth of knowledge, allowing them to do their job properly and effectively. Due to the auditable nature of ISO, the procedures are continually checked, updated, and re-trained to, which helps ensure the success of the program and your product.
One of the most important aspects of ISO standards is developing a system that is auditable and adjustable while maintaining the proper level of training. Unlike many industries that have minimal growth or change in processes throughout the years, electronics manufacturing, specifically printed circuit boards (PCBs) and surface mount technology (SMT), evolve at an expedited pace. It wasn’t long ago that 0402 components (0.04 inches x 0.02 inches) were released. These were considered revolutionary, causing many machine manufacturers to race to create something that could place these ultra-small components rapidly. When were these “revolutionary micro-components” released? 2018. Since then, 0201 and now 01005 and 008004 components are used in assemblies, each with a new process and set of challenges.
Pride, Passion, Teamwork
So, what does this mean to the NAS Electronics team? Put simply, “pride, passion, and teamwork.”
The entire NAS team takes pride in building a product that supersedes our customer’s needs. ISO allows our team to put proven processes into place so we’re able to manufacture products with: a “customer-first” focus; evidence-based decision making; leadership; and continuous improvement through Design For Manufacturability (DFM) recommendations. Every staff member is trained to the same standard and taught that any recommendation, no matter how small, can lead to major process improvements and thousands of dollars in savings for our customer. They learn to take pride in making recommendations and seeing those improvements appear in our standard operating procedures and work instructions.
At NAS, we hire only the most passionate of people to produce the forward-looking, iconic products that our customers trust us to manufacture year in and year out. And without ISO standards to help guide that passion into actionable improvement, we may miss important performance benchmarks. We utilize our ISO system to ensure every employee who wants a say, gets one. After all, while management can do a great job creating and implementing, the staff that does the real work has the best insight on how to improve the product or process!
From beginning to end, the continuous improvement mindset the ISO standard promotes enables our team to work together collaboratively to build superior products. Management and Compliance create and define a process; Engineering defines and creates actionable instructions utilizing risk-based thinking; Production executes and identifies potential issues with the instructions or design; and our staff executes the instructions and identifies gaps throughout the process. After the build is complete, the entire team looks at each product the same way they do a procedure – by sitting down and making recommendations for improvement.
Quality Across The Board
At NAS, we are proud not only of our amazing staff, proven processes, and operational merit, but we are proud to have been certified to the most successful standard in the history of the International Organization for Standardization. The ISO 9001:2015 standards are based on seven quality management principles:
- Customer Focus
- Engagement of People
- Process Approach
- Evidence-Based Decision Making
- Relationship Management
Align organizational objectives with customer needs and expectations, meet customer requirements, measure customer satisfaction, and aim to exceed customer expectations
Establish a vision and direction for the company, set challenging goals, establish trust, equip and empower employees, and recognize employee contributions
Ensure employee’s abilities are used and valued, make people accountable, enable open discussion of problems and constraints, enable learning and knowledge sharing, and evaluate individual performance
Manage activities as processes, measure the capability of activities, prioritize improvement opportunities, and deploy resources effectively
Improve organizational performance and capabilities, empower people to make improvements, measure improvement consistently, and celebrate improvements!
Ensure the accessibility of accurate and reliable data, use appropriate methods to analyze data, make decisions based on analysis, and balance data analysis with practical experience
Collaborate on improvement and development activities, share expertise and resources with partners, and recognize supplier and partner successes
These quality management principles and our commitment to excellence drive us to constantly achieve new organizational goals and to produce high-quality, reliable, robust, and secure products for our customers in industries as disparate and diverse as aerospace and gaming. Want to see if our ISO-certified organization can make a difference for your company? Contact us and let us know a little more about your product!