A Culture for Continuous Improvement

Airbus DS Communications is ISO 9001:2008 certified - but what does that mean for our customers, employees and the products and services we create together?

To learn more about this globally recognized standard and its influence on a company, we spoke with Michelle Martin, the Director of Quality and Procurement at Airbus DS Communications. Michelle saw the company through its first ISO certification in 2000. Today, her responsibilities are to ensure that the integrity of the Airbus DS Communications Quality System are never compromised and are always in a state of continuous improvement.

What exactly is the ISO 9001:2008 standard?
First, ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). By electing to adhere to an ISO standard, a company says to the world, “You know what you’re getting.”

The ISO standard addresses a quality management system to ensure a company can consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. A company that is ISO-certified has demonstrated its ability to enhance customer satisfaction through its business processes, including processes focused on continual improvement.

The “2008” at the end refers to the year the standard was introduced.

Are all manufacturers and developers required to be ISO 9001 certified?
ISO 9001 is not a requirement for manufacturers, developers or service providers. However, many contracts require particular ISO certifications and ISO 9001 can be among them—this is particularly true with government contracts.

While quality is something every company strives for, it’s difficult to achieve. Making the financial and time commitment to ISO 9001 certification provides internal and external validation of a company’s systems that ensure quality. Our ISO certification encompasses every aspect of our business. It includes manufacturing, services, development, contracts, customer commitments/satisfaction, and management commitment.

Does that mean all ISO 9001-certified companies offer similar quality?
No. ISO provides a template for a quality system based on consistent methods and procedures. The level of commitment a company choses to implement, maintain and manage their operations makes a world of difference.

Companies that live and breathe the ISO standard and then look for ways to build on it are the ones that see spectacular results. But a company also must have a culture of continuous improvement that is imbedded from top to bottom.

This is what I see in Airbus DS Communications and what I see us work to make happen every day.

With consistency in our processes we are able to quickly respond to customer needs in the areas of technical support, managed services, training, product development and many others.

But we have also broadened the basic requirements for ISO certification. For example, we have a best in class Voice of Customer Program where we conduct customer surveys, calculate Net Promoter Scores, and have mechanisms for customer feedback loops. Our teams take each of these efforts very seriously. We take special care to ensure our quality and business systems create the best customer experience, going all the way back to our recruitment process.

Our services and products, and the positive feedback we get from customers every day, speak volumes about what we’ve achieved and where we’re headed.

For more information the Culture of Continuous Improvement, contact us at VESTAMaketing@airbus-dscomm.com.