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ISO Standards By Mary McDonald

Who Implements an ISO Standard? W

hat sort of yard owner implements an ISO standard? In keeping with the theme of this edition, I stopped to ponder what are the common charac- teristics of the folks that I have the privi- lege and honor of working with, and serving. With hardly any effort at all, I realized that they all have some common characteristics – ones that make them more likely to be successful: • They’re open to new ideas. Every yard owner I’ve consulted with was open to hearing about what standardization could do for them. Whether they decid- ed to do something about it right away, or put it in future plans, they were all interested in hearing what standardiza- tion was, and how it may be able to ben- efit them and their yards. • They surround themselves with oth- ers who embrace change. Oftentimes, it was someone who reports to the owner who was most excited about the changes we were making – changes in layout of the warehouse, or the disassembly area, or how orders were processed to elimi- nate errors, etc.

These folks often became the “boots on the ground” facilitator to what was going on, as well as the cheerleader for the changes and how they would benefit the hourly employees. And, since it was an hourly employee who was open to learning this, they acted as the de facto leader of their area in embracing the change and making it work for them. • They want to serve their customer base well. Implementing the standard means that you keep metrics on how happy your customers are and take action if that metric falls below the target that you yourself have set. Owners I work with are all about eliminating errors that cause customer dissatisfaction – from mistakes on invoices, to shipping the wrong part, to delivering the part past the promised due date – all of my owners want to make sure that the customer gets

20 Automotive Recycling | September-October 2016

By standardizing processes, identifying ways to eliminate waste, and complying with regulations, they know that they will save money, while also saving time.

what he paid for, on time, correct. It makes it so easy to work with them when they already have the right mindset! • They want to save money, time, and

effort. By standardizing their processes, identifying ways to eliminate waste, and complying with regulations, they know that they will save money by working more efficiently, while also saving time, and not having to pay fines when break- ing regulations. They will also save time by implementing processes to eliminate errors and doing tasks in the most effi- cient manner. There is also a savings resulting from eliminating efforts for fix- ing errors, handling customer com- plaints and returns, and re-training folks over and over. • They want to support their employ- ees.Much of the work I do is to make the

workplace safer for employees – whether it’s part of a formal standard or not. As a trained Occupational Health/Safety pro- fessional, I’ll often suggest changes that are to keep the employee safe and free from harm while doing their job. I’ve never once had a yard owner push back on these suggestions – they want to take care of the folks who work for them. • They don’t mind having a little fun while we work. I like to kid around while we’re working together – anyone who’s worked for me knows that if I call some- one “Sparky,” it means that I’ve “caught” them doing something they shouldn’t do – and I’m going to suggest that they start doing it “right.” “Hey Sparky, want to put those safety glass-

es off your forehead and over your eyes? Thanks!”

“Hey Sparky, let’s make sure that the drain hose is firmly attached so we don’t get this big spill next time, ok? Thanks!”

One company has picked this up and has the “Hey Sparky” award – they give incentives to folks who have not received a “Hey Sparky” notification that week. I’ve got to tell you, I’m sort of honored that they are taking my catch phrase and turning it into something personal to them… way to go! The fact that they’re having fun with it, while reinforcing a safety mentality, is where the payoff comes into play.


All in all, if you are interested in sup- porting your employees and customers, want to save time, money, and effort, and want to improve your efficiencies, then standardization is for you.

Mary McDonald is the CEO/CTO of The Mc- Donald Consulting Group since 1995, working to help clients improve processes to positively affect the bottom line. She is a Certified Qual-

ity Auditor and a RABQSA Certified Lead Auditor in several standards, as well as an author and speaker on systems integration and strategic business planning.

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