In order to compete in the competitive railway sector, it is absolutely essential to deliver products that meet and even exceed customer expectations. The entry into force of the new IRIS Certification™-program Revision 03 redoubles the call for suppliers to demonstrate their efficiency to customers. This consists of three elements: the IRIS Certification ™-rules, ISO/TS 22163, and the IRIS Assessment Sheet.
The new ISO/TS 22163 and IRIS certification play a central role here and represent the current state of the art in terms of pragmatic regulation to the satisfaction of all involved parties. To validate the new IRIS certification assessment methodology such as new performance evaluation, customer perceptions and stricter evaluation criteria, four test-runs – so-called dry runs – took place under real-world conditions.
HARTING is first IRIS-certified company
As the first IRIS-certified company worldwide and as a member of the IRIS Steering Committee, it was a matter of course for HARTING to make its contribution by participating in the dry-run audits for the new ISO/TS 22163. Shortly prior to this, the new ISO 9001:2015 and the new IATF 16949:2016 were introduced in many of the company’s organisational units via intensive training and workshops – an important and helpful measure for implementing the new requirements. The dry-run audit made it possible to identify the need for action and to implement the changes.
"The ISO/TS22163 standard follows a process-oriented approach and demands concrete, defined process descriptions. This supports the pursuit of customer orientation and continuous optimisation."
While the IRIS assessment has so far concentrated exclusively on enablers, i.e. the documented processes and procedures, a second important focus has been brought into play: the results or achievements of these efforts. It is no longer sufficient to structure the processes comprehensively and in line with quality in order to achieve an IRIS rating of over 80%. In the future, the required success must be documented: process performance evaluations must show which quality-relevant requirements have been imposed on HARTING by rail customers in contracts, orders or other agreements and how the company has monitored and improved these quality requirements with suitable key figures. This is a promising approach that has already been established at HARTING based on EFQM assessments.
With the International Railway Industry Standard (IRIS), the Brussels-based European Rail Industry Association (UNIFE), in close cooperation with leading railway system manufacturers, has developed an international requirement that is imposed on the quality management systems of railway manufacturers and in particular on their suppliers of equipment components, as well as on engineering service providers - which can also obtain their own certificates. IRIS is based on the requirements of ISO 9001 and contains additional railway-specific requirements. A new IRIS standard based on ISO 9001:2015 with the new High Level Structure was published in May 2017 as ISO/TS 22163. An extensive catalog of requirements must be fulfilled to the required extent in the course of an audit. Some 1,599 companies worldwide are IRIS-certified (as of 10/2017).