How Being ISO Certified Ensures DCL Logistics can Customize Programs and Meet Customer Needs
Customer satisfaction is a core value of all departments at DCL Logistics. Never has this value been more clear, than in speaking with DCL’s Director of Quality Management and Regulatory Compliance, Alan Nakasato, who has been at DCL for 13 years.
Alan and his Quality Assurance Department, a team of 12 people, work diligently to create systems and well-documented processes to maintain standards of quality across every aspect of DCL’s services.
We asked Alan about his work at DCL. He was quick to share that the quality standards we hold are the backbone of DCL’s operations. These standards are what allow us flexibility with clients, and are proof that our main pursuit is end-customer satisfaction. Alan says that “quality is articulated in all of our processes, our work instructions—the nuts and bolts of what we do—it controls of every aspect of the company. My role is to develop and nurture our quality management system, and ensure through internal and external audits, that standard processes are being carried out and best practices are being followed.”
What is quality? How does it affect DCL customers?
DCL has held the ISO Standard 9001 certification for 17 consecutive years. It’s a voluntary certification. “The requirements laid out by the ISO Standard 9001:2015 certification indicate that companies need to be savvy about two things: customer satisfaction and process improvements,” Alan says.
“We support our clients in supporting their customers. If we can alleviate one aspect of our client’s worries—ship error complaints—then we are enhancing their deliverables and helping them grow. And of course if our customers grow, we grow with them. I’ve seen companies who ship 20 to 30 packages a day when they start with us; they grow by leaps and bounds and in time are shipping out of all three of our facilities.”
Regulatory compliance is one area that the quality team handles. There are specific needs that many DCL clients have based on the products they sell. For example, consumer electronics are typically powered by lithium batteries. The shipping and transport of these batteries are regulated by strict guidelines that we must adhere to.
How does DCL maintain quality standards?
Generally speaking, the quality team works to create systems that allow problems to surface; those problems then receive attention and correction to ensure that errors aren’t made more than once. There are a few different ways Alan and his team work to take corrective action: external and internal audits, reviewing customer feedback, and process improvements.
The ISO Standard certificate is good for three years, however DCL elects to have an annual audit done by a third party firm. Plus the Quality Assurance Department conducts annual internal audits within each department to help uncover where practices aren’t being followed but also what processes are not working. “We do these so that if we begin to stray from our processes and procedures we can bring things back in line, before going for the official recertification,” Alan shares.
“We also have a process in place to record customer feedback—that’s one thing I do on a daily basis,” explains Alan. “We review any customer complaints weekly with the site managers, to ensure they are being addressed, that they are being understood, and that we have created a root cause analysis and corrective action plan.”
The Quality Assurance Department investigates these complaints in order to create process improvements—which is the second core requirement of the ISO Standard 9001:2015. “We must ask questions until we get to the root cause, Alan says. “‘What’s the error? Why isn’t this person following the process?’ It could be a personnel issue or it could be a process issue. If it’s a process issue, maybe the process is too complex, maybe it’s not well understood. We keep asking these questions until we get to the root cause, and then we can create a process improvement that will actually be helpful moving forward.”
How does DCL invest in quality? Now and in the future?
DCL is fastidiousness with documentation to be compliant with the ISO Standard, but what that does is benefit our clients and their growing, changing needs. “You might be thinking, how can DCL claim to have flexibility with clients if they follow such strict rules for everything?” Alan explains, “what we do well as DCL is customize our systems to meet customer needs. And we can because we have such strong standards in place. Our base systems make it very easy to add customer specific work instructions to make alterations, to create deviations from the standard generic practice. If you don’t have a standard, everything is a deviation and it’s gets hard to control.”
“I think that’s the kind of edge we over other logistics companies.” Alan continues, “Another 3PL will probably tell you what box you’re going to use, how and when it’s going to be shipped. Whereas at DCL, we work with companies and have the flexibility to adjust systems to match to our customers level of business development. We have so many value added services. I think it’s because we’re in pursuit of the ISO Standard that we can offer so much to our customers.”
One of DCL Logistics’ core values is quality, which is supported by the fact that we have held ISO 9001 certification for the past 18 years. If you want to learn more about how quality can help your business, we’d love to hear from you. Send us a note to connect about how we can help your company grow.
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