Swiss Solar QMS is now ISO 9001:2015 certified
The international expert company TÜV SÜD Management Service GmbH completed an audit of the Quality Management System (QMS) of Swiss Solar AG. Based on the results of the audit, Certificate No.: 12 100 62049/02 TMS was issued, confirming its compliance with ISO 9001:2015.
Swiss Solar considered QMS implementation as a strategic decision that should have an impact on all the processes in the company and bring them to a new quality level. The first step was to analyze the current situation, which included a full description of business processes, their analysis and verification for compliance with the requirements of the standard. The results enabled Swiss Solar to identify all the shortcomings of the existing system and develop an action plan to address them.
Using a process approach in the design phase helped with the rapid uptake of the standard and taught Swiss Solar employees to evaluate the company’s processes judging their value for the company. In the deployment phase, the use of the Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle (PDCA) helped overcome challenges and enabled smooth and effective process. Further system development became possible through continuous improvement of existing processes, taking into account the feedback based on the information on the work of the system.
The application of QMS began with the implementation of a customer-oriented approach in the company’s relations with suppliers and customers. Several factors were pinpointed as important in this aspect: constructive position of the company’s management, their willingness to implement changes and to lead the team, as well as training and explanatory work carried out by the employees – the developers of the system.
Listening to the Client
Getting closer to customers means understanding their needs, listening to their wishes, and customizing the company’s business processes to meet those needs in the best possible way. By adopting this approach, Swiss Solar has increased customer satisfaction and laid the groundwork to attract regular customers.
One important step along the way was the decision to open a company warehouse in Rotterdam. This decision was made on the basis of an analysis of the current supply chain carried out during the rollout of the quality management system.
In treating the requirements of the standard as a guide to action, Swiss Solar conducts ongoing customer monitoring, which includes:
– conducting surveys and opinion research;
– analyzing regional characteristics and demand trends;
– informing customers about the company’s new products, including evaluation of their effectiveness for each region.
Another innovation that Swiss Solar customers will no doubt appreciate is the Dealer Cabinet. Its development was also part of the QMS implementation plan and is nearing completion. The initial functionality will allow our partners:
– to view stock levels;
– to view stock prices;
– to make an order;
– to see the date of arrival of goods in stock;
– to check shipping status;
– to check payment status.
Moreover, in order to improve the quality of logistics services, a special delivery form was developed. While ordering certain products, customers can add detailed requirements and characteristics of the delivery of the batch (loading, unloading, weight of the pallet, loading order, etc.).
Although not much time passed since the introduction of the system, the first results of implementation can already visible:
– organization of deliveries reached a new level of quality;
– the speed of response to incoming requests, including those related to warranty service, increased;
– the time for processing and providing customers with the necessary documents was reduced;
– thanks to the use of modern computer technologies, the quality of services provided by the company increased.
One of the most important components of QMS is the risk management subsystem, the implementation of which proved to be the most difficult, and all the benefits of its use is yet to be assessed by Swiss Solar employees. The hardest part was to overcome the traditional view of risk as something independent of human will, although nowadays risk management is considered a scientific method of management and is synonymous with business management.
First of all, the main groups of risks were identified, which include:
– external – arising from events outside the influence and control of the company;
– internal – directly related to the activities of the company.
Among them only those relevant to our company were highlighted.
– organizational risks are caused by erroneous management and/or personnel decisions, lack of coordination and clear planning;
– operational risks are associated with possible losses due to personnel actions, loss of information due to computer system failures and hacking;
– financial risks arise usually as a result of improper planning and budget execution;
– information risks are the risks of loss of valuable company information as a result of data leakage, computer attacks, etc;
– project risks are those, which mostly occur in case of late detection of errors, lead to failure of project deadlines and require costs to correct them;
– production risks can be delays in production due to a shortage of raw materials, delays in supplies of materials and components, such as silicone, aluminum, junction boxes and others.
Examples of the internal risk management tasks performed at Swiss Solar include:
– implementation of a cybersecurity system to protect personal data, documentation, and other confidential information from loss as a result of a possible unauthorized intrusion into the company’s internal network;
– introduction of strict regulation of internal and external information exchange, including information related to the quality management system;
– usage of the system of analytical monitoring of management processes and supporting processes that affect the quality of services provided by the company, which allows to avoid the risks of situations related to incompetence and loss of controllability.
– market risks are related to changes in market and investment conditions;
– reputational risks are those connected to a decline in the value of the company’s brand and loss of reputation due to the failure of companies to fulfill their obligations to partners;
– risk of pandemic, epidemic and other force majeure events;
– political risks may arise as a result of decisions made by states to restrict activities, cancel benefits, revoke licenses and other prohibitions, default situations, or financial crises.
Since external risks cannot be prevented by the company’s actions, their management is aimed at their early identification and reduction of losses due to their occurrence. An example of such a management task is the cargo tracking system, which is being developed by the company. The program will make it possible to track the cargo location and promptly respond to any unforeseen circumstances that prevent timely delivery, which significantly reduces the risk of reputational damage.
In general, judging the results of QMS implementation, confirmed by the ISO 9001:2015 certificate, it can be said that Swiss Solar is reaching a new, more advanced level of quality and business management in general.
Further development and improvement of QMS implies: short-term and long-term planning, development of production and marketing plans both for the entire company and for each employee, conducting regular internal audits of company activities in order to control and identify deviations and to adjust plans based on analysis of audit data.