ROME, Italy - As the latest step in the evolution of the Ford of Europe quality management system, the Italian national sales company has been integrated into the European ISO 9001 quality certification program.
NSCs play a vital role in the sales and distribution of vehicles and parts, and the provision of customer service across Europe. They ensure that Ford has a consistent brand image in each market and represent the face of Ford to retail, fleet and local authority customers and the dealer network.
ISO 9001 certification helps national sales companies (NSCs) to generate substantial volumes of business. In 2012, for instance, 17 per cent of Ford of Italy’s total vehicles sold could be attributed to fleet customers and municipal authorities which buy only from certified manufacturers.
"Since 2001 Ford of Italy has been running its own ISO certification program in parallel to other Ford of Europe certification activities. Integrating this NSC as the third, along with Ford of Britain and Ford of Germany, into the central ISO 9001 certificate issued by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) ensures better alignment of activities with considerably less resource and cost," explained Peter Ferrow, manager Quality & Retail Excellence – Marketing, Sales & Service (MS&S), whose team has managed the integration.
"Reducing certification cost and effort helps these NSCs to stay competitive. Besides, it reduces the complexity of ISO certificates the Company is holding with different registration companies."
Adrian Craiu, the MS&S quality management specialist, who coordinated the project, commented: "We started the integration process with our Ford of Italy colleagues several months ago with a regular meeting cadence and a detailed agenda. Best practices and lessons learned from previous NSC integrations were shared with Ford of Italy, which resulted in a successful ISO 9001 assessment and an excellent appraisal of the work force by the VCA auditor. Additionally, by having now three major NSCs under one certificate, we have been able to agree with our ISO 9001 registrar to reduce the frequency of each NSC’s surveillance audits from an annual to a biennial schedule or more, on a sampling basis."
"The audit took two full days and covered the elements as defined by the ISO 9001 standard, e.g. objective setting, customer focus and continuous improvement, as well as adherence to our own Corporate
requirements. All items were found fully compliant throughout the organization and the auditor recommended granting us the certificate without conditions,” said Ninni Rosello, the Italian Quality manager. This certificate is an excellent proof to our customers that the whole Ford of Italy team is committed to quality and customer satisfaction.”
“Next steps will be to exchange further quality management best practices with Ford of Italy and reduce administration complexity through process standardization. Beyond that we will also approach other ISO-certified NSCs to assess the feasibility of joining the central certification scheme and thus potential for further savings,” concluded Gerhard Gross, Supervisor Quality & Process Improvement.