How the Quality Assurance Program Works

November 1, 1991
Revised May 23, 2000

Purpose

The committee has been organized to establish a program with standards for the assessment of the quality processes of suppliers to the railroad industry. It will provide a means for the suppliers and the railroads to continuously improve the quality of products and services.

A principle aim is to establish an on-going quality systems approval process acceptable throughout the railroad industry, thus avoiding duplication that is wasteful for suppliers and railroads alike.

The quality standards are intended to achieve consistency, objectivity and efficiency in assessing the quality systems of suppliers. No standards will be formulated to exclude any supplier or affect a supplier’s business relationship with an individual railroad.

Committee Membership

The committee is made up of quality and purchasing officers of major North American railroad companies and railway suppliers.

Member List of Quality Assurance Committee

Other Committee Members
Joy Cooke
Association of American Railroads

Dan James
Canadian Pacific Railway

Robert Mathews
Railway Progress Institute

What Basic Standard Has the Committee Chosen?
The Association of American Railroads Quality Standard AAR M-1003, Chapter 2, entitled “Quality Assurance Program Requirements” will be utilized as the basis of this committee standard. Other quality systems such as QS-9000 & the ISO 9000 series standards may also be recognized.

How Does the Program Work?
A clearinghouse has been established comprised of members of the QAC. The clearinghouse will function as follows:

(I) Review audit summary reports to ensure that suppliers have developed and implemented quality systems in compliance with ISM-RIF standards.

(II) Publish a periodic list of the suppliers who have achieved compliance.

It will be the supplier’s responsibility to:

(I) Complete the Quality System Audit Summary Report:

a. Complete auditee section and provide M-1003, ISO 9000 series or QS 9000 registration certificate, or
b. Complete all sections of the Quality System Audit Summary Report.

(II) Send all information to:

Ed Hildebrand, CQE, CQP, RAB-QSLA
President
CR Quality Services, Inc.
5406 Lincoln Highway
P.O. Box 827
Gap, PA 17527-0827

It will be the supplier’s responsibility to assume any cost of the audit.

Individual railroads may request any or all of their suppliers or contractors to establish and maintain a quality system that complies with the ISM-RIF QAC standards.

Suppliers may pursue approval of their quality system in the same manner on their own initiative.

Individual railroads are encouraged to assist suppliers by providing them with information on the formulation of a quality system that meets the AAR quality standard (for information see name list).

Who Performs the Audit?
Individual railroads may perform audits with their accredited auditors or suppliers may contact 3rd party accredited auditors.

Who Are Accredited Auditors?
Auditors accredited by the Association of American Railroads (AAR), The American Society for Quality (ASQ), the Registrar Accreditation Board (RAB) or other internationally recognized certifying organizations are accepted.

What Is the Duration of Recognition?
Suppliers must maintain the integrity of their quality system and upgrade as necessary. Suppliers must be re-evaluated at least every three years from audit date. It is the supplier’s responsibility to furnish the Quality System Audit Summary Report and supporting documentation prior to the expiration date of previous acceptance.

What Will Quality System Conformance Mean to a Supplier?
Conformance will demonstrate throughout the railroad and the supplier industry that the supplier has in place a quality assurance system.

What Will Quality System Conformance Mean to the Railroad?
This program is expected to enhance the railroad’s confidence in the ability of the suppliers to provide quality goods and services on a continuing basis. Such confidence will relieve the railroads of the need for constant quality monitoring of supplier goods and services, and in the long run, will aid the railroads in providing quality service to their customers. Each railroad will continue to decide for itself which suppliers it will use.

What About Product Inspection?
Individual railroads will set their own policy in regard to product inspections.

Summary Report
Quality System Audit Summary Report [4K PDF]
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