The Quality Online Reader Forum is a place where quality professionals can network and get help with quality problems. Here are two recent exchanges from the Forum, at

From Reader Forum visitor Jon Leuty:

Q: I am currently responsible for designing and implementing a QMS (quality management system) for a small manufacturing company of 100 employees. The goal is to achieve accreditation to ISO 9000: 2000 within 18 months. There is no QMS at the moment, so I am literally starting from scratch. Where do I start and is 18 months a reasonable Arialcale?

One response came from Carol-X:

A: When you say there is no QMS, do you mean there is no documented system? A manufacturing company of 100 people must have methods to accomplish their tasks. It may not be documented. Get some examples of documented systems and find a layout that works for you. Then go about documenting how you do things. 18 months is not unreasonable.

Another response came from E Wall:

A: I would say the answer is dependent upon your resources (quantity & quality) and hard for anyone from the outside to speculate on. The steps I would proceed with are 1) Create an organizational map; 2) Outline the company's primary goals and objectives; 3) Identify your interrelated process and show how they contribute to the organization's effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its objectives; and 4) Decide upon a documentation system.

Another question came from Reader Forum visitor Bob Belden:

Q: It seems obvious what the customer gains from a dock-to-stock program. But what's in it for the supplier?

A response came from Roger Duffy:

A: Usually increased business. The typical dock-to-stock program is a partnership between the customer and the supplier. By participating, suppliers realize that they are first in line to receive orders over competitors that are not in the program. Also, it is easier to manage a dock-to-stock program with a smaller supplier base. Companies usually reduce the number of suppliers when implementing the program, thus the approved suppliers have less competition.