Quality defined by audit

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 December, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 December, 1995, 12:00am

MOBIL has always been at the forefront of quality but, in an unusual twist, Total Quality Management (TQM) practices were introduced well before an attempt was made for ISO 9000.

Director of marketing operations John Riley said: 'The Mobil corporation was heavily involved in TQM for its affiliates in 1990. TQM is a process of checking and ISO 9000 is another tool to be used.

'It involves a major change within the organisation. We have our own perception of quality but, with ISO, we start looking at things within the company: Are our oils blended to specification; do the scales weigh accurately? Our quality is no longer just self-acclaimed, it is audited.' Marketing director Tim Glath said: 'We always said we sold high-quality products but we were not sure until we were tested by an outside agency.

'The Mobil corporation initiated a world-wide drive for TQM but, because TQM does not give certification, we ask ourselves if we are doing things correctly.' Working with three teams, Mobil achieved ISO 9000 accreditation one year ahead of schedule. It was separated into three groups - lubricants, service stations and Mobil's fuel terminal on Tsing Yi.

'A benefit of the sub-division was that it had the advantage of spreading ISO knowledge and experience to a higher degree,' Mr Glath said.

Seeking accreditation separately for each of the three products and services, helped to avoid disruption to business.

Now, Mobil intends to seek ISO 14000 certification for its environmental practices.