The initial certification, which has a validity period of three years, is followed by a surveillance audit and a recertification audit in the subsequent two years. The focus lies on error and risk prevention in the development and productions process, to eventually increase the customer satisfaction and the supplier chain’s trustworthiness. The scope of certification is the entirety of company processes and its interdependencies as well as its interfaces. But the challenging audit causes severe obstacles for small and medium-sized companies. According to a survey by Hanser-Verlag, small businesses are often overstrained. A major deviation would be the absence or the incompleteness of emergency plans for an uninterrupted customer supply, for example. Furthermore, there are additional hurdles when it comes to products with integrated software, because of the references to the Automotive Spice standard.
The MinebeaMitsumi subsidiary PM DM met the audit challenge in this years‘ February and March. The audit took three weeks. However, the kickoff has been much earlier. In 2016 the PM DM quality management team has already been busy with preparations. In summer 2017 the crucial phase began for all parties. The so-called Multi-Site-Certification was concerning not only PM DM, but also the sales organisation NMB-Minebea-GmbH near Frankfurt, NMB-Minebea Slovakia and Minebea Thai AGA. The combined certification required a high level of communication skills. Key to success was a central, specially programmed tool, which is part of the integrated management system. It displays the quality processes and the respective functionality of every location in a clear and structured way. Thereby a high degree of transparency for all employees has been created, even before the actual certification process started. In the event of any changes within the system, all of them are transferred to the process maps of the other locations. Thereby synergies are created and duplication of effort is avoided as far as possible. Another advantage of the tool is the possibility for all parties involved to have access to the respective data via web interface.
PM DM had a pioneering role within the European group of MinebeaMitsumi companies by developing and implementing the quality tool. With the integrated tool as interface, the foundation for an optimized European communication in the MinebeaMitsumi network was laid. The pioneering role also applies to the combined certification. The certification has been achieved with only five minor nonconformities. „Only one percent of the supplying industry succeed in receiving the certification with no major nonconformities“, explains Joerg Koenigsmark, Head of the PM DM Quality Management. „Auditors were impressed by the joint performance and the communication between the subsidiaries. The credit goes to all employees, since every staff member contributes to the quality standard.“ Worldwide only a few companies achieved the IATF certification so far. PM DM thereby stays in the top league of automotive suppliers further on.