About Graham Freeman

Graham Freeman is a content writer and editor at Intelex Technologies in Toronto, where he writes on topics relating to quality management. You can follow Graham on LinkedIn by clicking here: www.linkedin.com/in/graham-freeman-aa5a575b/

Protect the Future with ISO 14001:2015

In December 2019, world leaders gathered for the Madrid Climate Change Conference (COP25) to discuss ways to implement the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is a part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and is intended to find ways to prevent the world’s temperature from rising more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. It also promotes ways to help countries create the financial and technological frameworks to meet these responsibilities while continuing to encourage innovation and economic growth. Despite the overwhelming public support for determined action to combat climate change, COP25, like many other climate change conferences, descended into a rancorous series of confrontations and accusations between rich nations, developing nations, and climate change activists. 

The international marketplace has spoken loudly that economic growth and prosperity cannot be achieved at the expense of pollution, inefficient use of resources, and degradation of ecosystems. We cannot continue to pursue unsustainable growth … Read more...

Are You Ready to Improve Energy Performance and Reduce Costs with ISO 50001?

ISO 50001 is the ISO management system standard that sets out the requirements for organizations that wish to manage energy performance. It includes energy consumption such as gas use, electricity or fuel.  

Expert Gary Cornell, in the Intelex Insight Report “Achieving Energy Efficiency with ISO 50001,” notes that ISO 50001—the ISO management system standard related to energy performance—exists for two reasons: to help organizations reduce energy costs and to reduce the emissions of CO2 resulting from energy consumption. Cornell works with businesses to improve environmental management through training, auditing and advice and has 25 years of experience working with some of the world’s leading businesses.  

“There are very few organizations in the world that would choose to waste money paying for energy that they don’t need,” writes Cornell. “At the same time, more and more organizations are becoming increasingly aware of the impact they have on the environment and the expectation that they contribute to sustainability. Yet far too many of these same organizations do not … Read more...

Documentation and Disaster: The Importance of Documented Procedures for Any Organization

In October 2018, a Boeing 737 MAX flying with Lion Air from Jakarta crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 people on board. In March 2019, another Boeing 737 MAX, this time with Ethiopian Airlines, crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board. Each plane had been delivered to the airlines only a few months earlier, making them the latest and most technology advanced aircraft in the world. At first glance, there should be no reason that these aircraft crashed under such similar circumstances.  

During the investigation, the root cause of these disasters began to become clear. In 2010, Boeing had begun a redesign of the 737 aircraft to remain competitive with Airbus, which had recently announced the introduction of the upgraded A320 to compete with the 737. To ensure timely delivery of the 737 MAX and avoid losing competitive advantage to Airbus, Boeing presented the 737 MAX as being similar enough to the … Read more...

Yes, You Should Argue with Success: Why You’re Luckier Than You Think You Are

Many organizations operate according to the maxim “you can’t argue with success.” In other words, if it works, it’s worth doing. You might have heard this in another guise when someone says, “I don’t care how you do it, just get it done.” 

But what if you should argue with success? What if what you think is success is simply sheer luck that the small failures that take place unnoticed every day simply haven’t yet aggregated into an inevitable cataclysm that results in injury, financial damage, or loss of life? 

Humans are not particularly good at extrapolating possible negative future outcomes from the information they learn from past events. We’re prone to assuming that if something has gone well when we performed the task on a previous occasion, that it will always go well. As a consequence, we get an inflated sense of our abilities and our skills at handling other similar situations, and the level … Read more...

How the Elliott Review Can Help You Protect Your Food Supply Chain

Most people have heard about the EU horsemeat scandal in 2013, in which supermarkets in the UK were found to be selling beef products adulterated with horse meat. While this is perhaps the most high-profile example of food crime in recent years, its visibility also serves to overshadow many other disturbing, and more common, examples of food crime. For example, in July 2013, North Yorkshire Trading Standards sampled lamb curries from 10 takeaways and discovered that seven contained lamb and chicken, one contained lamb and beef, and only one contained just lamb as advertised. In December 2013, West Yorkshire Joint Services conducted tests on 873 food samples from restaurants and takeaways. 38% of these samples failed the test for food authenticity and showed that they were adulterated by unlisted ingredients and substitutes, including the use of cheese analogue instead of real cheese and chicken substituted for beef. In an earlier sample, they tested 16 lamb … Read more...

Being a safe employer pays off: Ontario announces program to reward excellence in health and safety

The Government of Ontario has announced that it will provide $140 million in WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board) rebates over three years for employers who successfully implement occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS) in the workplace. The program is open to any employer regardless of sector or size, and while it will recognize existing safety management systems, it will also encourage organizations that don’t have safety management systems to create them. 

This program is the first of its kind in Canada. The incentive is part of Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers, a voluntary program that recognizes employers who are working towards lowering the accident and injury rate among Ontario workers. The program is accredited by Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) under the authority of the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development with the goal of promoting health and safety in the workplace and encouraging continuous improvement in existing safety management systems. The program has … Read more...

The Voice of the Customer—Part 4: Turning Silence into Golden Opportunities

Silent needs are those that the customer cannot always express or imply, perhaps because they are not even aware of them. While customers can’t articulate them, researchers still need to uncover them, as they can mean the difference between success and failure over the full lifecycle of the product or service. In this blog, we’ll look at a few approaches that can be used to articulate and uncover the silent Voice of the Customer requirements.  

Voice of the Customer Table (VoCT) 

The premise of the Voice of the Customer Table (VoCT) is that while customers can articulate what they want, those wants don’t always represent what they really need. For example, if the customer says “the brakes on this car are terrible,” this could be restated as “I need to reduce the vehicle’s momentum easily at any time.” An example using this scenario is presented in Table 1. Organizations can use the VoCT to discover and respond to the customer’s … Read more...

Use Software to Meet Your ISO 9001:2015 Requirements

ISO 9001 is the most popular certification standard in the world. It outlines a framework for improving quality and a vocabulary of understanding for any organization looking to provide products and services that consistently meet the requirements and expectations of customers and other relevant parties in the most efficient manner possible. First published in 1987, the latest iteration, ISO 9001:2015, incorporates risk-based thinking, increased responsibilities for leadership, and a high-level structure that allows for easier certification of integrated management systems that include other standards like ISO 45001:2018 and ISO 14001:2015. 

ISO 9001:2015 can help organizations in many industries improve their processes, enhance customer satisfaction, and improve business results. In some industries, such as automotive, health sciences, and construction, certification is considered essential, if not mandatory, to compete effectively in the marketplace and to meet applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. In other areas, such as education, organizations have taken innovative approaches to using the guidance of ISO … Read more...

Canadian Honey Producers Stung by Sophisticated Food Fraud

Food fraud is big business. Criminal organizations around the world earn millions of dollars annually by cutting high-quality food products with cheaper substitutes to increase profits. The practice is so ubiquitous throughout the food industry that food protection agencies refer to it as economically motivated adulteration (EMA) The consequences of this practice can include reputational damage to respected food brands, public health crises resulting from adulteration using hazardous elements designed to avoid standard integrity testing, and financial damage to legitimate producers who can’t compete with cheaper adulterated products.  

According to a recent news story, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has been conducting targeted surveillance on international producers of adulterated honey entering the Canadian market since 2018. By analyzing 240 samples of imported honey, CFIA determined that one-fifth of the samples advertised as pure honey are adulterated with corn syrup, rice syrup, and cane sugar syrup. As a result of the inspection, … Read more...

Protecting the food supply chain from fraud and malicious attack

Every few years, an intentional adulteration of the food supply grabs headlines around the world. In 2008, Chinese dairy manufacturers added the chemical melamine, a plasticizing agent, to milk and infant formula to boost the detectable protein levels, resulting in the hospitalization of 54,000 children and six deaths. The 2013 EU horse meat scandal, in which horse meat was substituted for beef in products sold across the EU, severely damaged consumer confidence in traceability and testing standards for meat products. Perhaps even more disturbing is the possibility of intentional contamination of the food supply to cause harm, a possibility that has gained more attention in the age of global terrorism. 

With the complexity of today’s international food supply chain, it is vital that the food industry move beyond food safety and quality approaches to incorporate food fraud—to protect against intentional contamination for economic gain—and food defence—to protect against intentional contamination to cause harm. … Read more...