Quality Assurance Plan Is Vital For Successful Business

The implementation of a quality assurance program is an essential but overwhelming task for many truck equipment companies. As competition and marketplace demands increase, so does the need for an effective quality assurance plan. Gene Kohler Jr, Kranz Automotive Body Co, Sam Teague Jr, Teague Equipment Co, and Pete Wells, Nevada Truck Equipment, will explain how they each organized quality assurance programs at their respective businesses. The session is scheduled from 11 am to 12:15 pm, Wednesday, March 11.

Kohler says that his company's plan follows the prescribed procedures to reach ISO 9000 certification. Beginning with a mission statement and goal, the plan incorporates a statement of corporate policy for the year and a letter of commitment from management.

Kohler's quality control plan mirrors the NTEA's, but it has been modified slightly to more appropriately serve his business. "Because our company doesn't provide all the services outlined in the NTEA plan, we have made some changes," says Kohler.

Included in the plan are customer satisfaction procedures. "Items such as warranty cards and manufacturer's warranties are covered," says Kohler. "We address recall procedures and follow-ups in this section as well." The last two sections cover incentive programs and safety procedures.

The second half of Kohler's program is a process plan detailing the essential elements necessary at every step to ensure quality products. Inspection procedures top the process plan list followed by detailed installation instructions. "We issue step-by-step instructions for every job from beginning to end," says Kohler. "Every step is included, even if duplication is involved between similar jobs." Kohler wants all mechanics to be able to produce the same products without variation.

Sam Teague, president of Teague Equipment, will outline costly problems experienced at his company. He will give a brief overview of the implementation of a full-time quality control inspector. Teague also will review his company's quality assurance forms as possible examples for others in the industry to follow.

"It's vital that the owner support the efforts of a quality assurance program," says Teague. He will discuss how to lay the fundamental groundwork of a quality assurance program without getting overwhelmed. Teague will illustrate specific early steps to an effective program.

Peter Wells, president of Nevada Truck Equipment, will present his company's quality assurance plan. Wells' quality assurance strategy employs elements of other programs but is scaled down to fit his smaller company. Wells will talk specifically about quality assurance programs in businesses with fewer than 25 employees. He will show a 10-point system that he says makes more sense than ISO 9000's 20-point system.

Wells will illustrate policies and procedures that can enhance the small business. He also will discuss the possibility of small businesses certifying their own mechanics. Wells says quality elements that reflect ownership responsibility include dealing with the obvious and the subtle problems as well as letting your business reflect who you are. Small business owners also need to be watchful of components of their business that need attention and are not being maintained.

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