ISO 9001 at SCHEMA – What Do the Colleagues Say?

In late June we posted here why we, as one of the first component content management system manufacturers, are undergoing ISO 9001 certification. The introduction is in full swing, and we were interested to hear what people from the SCHEMA team actually think about it. We asked three questions of three colleagues who are all affected in different ways by the implementation of ISO 9001. Dr. Martin Hess is computer scientist and team lead for projects. For him, anything that ISO 9001 can contribute to customer relationships is important. Alexandra Gutsche-Trimis is accountant, and in addition is responsible for quality management, so she has her finger on the pulse of the ISO 9001 implementation. Natalia Schütz first encountered quality assurance during her studies in computer science. She has been working at SCHEMA for ten years now and takes care of the ST4 Client components, e.g. the XMetaL interface and the Word productions. Three people – three points of view of the ISO 9001 implementation. We’re curious to see what they have to say.

What are your expectations regarding the introduction of ISO 9001?
Schütz: This might sound surprising, but I don’t think the certification will change much. Maybe outward-facing. It will confirm what we’ve already shown in several pharma audits: That we have a functioning QM system which the company really adheres to and that doesn’t just exist on paper.

Hess: As project manager in the Solutions department, customer satisfaction is very important to me. I think introducing ISO 9001 will help quite a bit in this area to intensify trusted relationships even more. I also work a lot with international customers (e.g. in Sweden or Japan), and here, too, ISO certification as a globally recognized sign of quality will have a positive impact.

Gutsche-Trimis: I hope that the quality management system (QMS), which for many years has been successfully put into practice in the SCHEMA Group, will now be expanded to and adopted by the entire company. The thought that “Everybody is responsible for quality (and thus also for the company’s success)” should be taken literally by all colleagues. Quality is applicable not just to our product, but to all activities of SCHEMA Group’s employees.

In what way do you think the introduction of ISO 9001 will actually change your work?
Gutsche-Trimis: As I’m responsible for quality management, I’ve been very familiar with ISO 9001 for over a year now, and QM is now my main task aside from my job as accountant. It’s a lot of fun, even if it’s often also quite tedious. That executive management supports the introduction of ISO 9001 and the certification helps and very much motivates me. In fact, my area of responsibility has grown, since I’m ultimately responsible for the entire organization of the ISO 9001 implementation.

Schütz: As mentioned, I’m not expecting too many changes, but still: There’s always something to do. Audits will take place regularly now. That means we will have an additional incentive on a regular basis to review processes in depth.

Hess: I think we already established solid, effective processes in our department in the past. But it’s very positive that these processes will be examined by experts in the course of the certification and that we’ll get confirmation that we’re on the right path. Because there’s always room for improvement. What I’m really hoping for is greater reliability when running projects, so that the three success factors quality, time, and budget are balanced.

Can you already see changes?
Hess: In the company, the awareness for the necessity for processes in our daily work has grown significantly, and these processes are actively adhered to and no longer seen as being patronizing. At the same time, there’s an open and constructive atmosphere which encourages employees to contribute with suggestions for improvement at any time, indeed, even thinking beyond the limits of their own department.

Gutsche-Trimis: I’ve noticed lately that people are thinking and talking more about quality management. More departments are taking the subject more seriously and there’s been more focus on process documentation being up to date and accurate.

Schütz: Yes, in preparing for the audit, the processes in R&D were reevaluated and reviewed as well: Are the processes like this because “it’s always been done like this” or is there potential for further improvement? We noticed a few minor things and immediately changed them.

And for weeks, of course, the certification was the topic of the day. So it happened more often – even in informal conversations, during lunch break etc. – that the word “quality” would be mentioned, and also the question would be asked “What does quality really mean for us and our customers?” For me personally, and I think also for my colleagues, the awareness of product quality was heightened even more.

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