Q. Could you brief us on the training given to the selected SMEs?
A. These 10 identified SMEs deputed their team members whom we trained with our experts from US and Taiwan, transferred our know-how and developed them as Internal Auditors to implement QCO 80000. Moreover, we provided adequate documents for putting tools and consulting all the activities that were carried out with their team members and conducted GAP assessment audit at all these 10 SMEs. In addition, we identified the gaps and supported them on how they can fill these gaps, and gave them a long enough time line and the project went on for almost 14 months.
During these 14 months, these industries completely transferred themselves from existing level to a HSPM Compliance Level. We conducted the final assessment audit and out of these 10 companies, 7 companies were completely qualified with HSPM and we are going to certify these companies in our final forum called Best Practice Exchange Forum. We are going to invite all these 10 companies and issue a TUV Rheinland Specific Certificate which clearly talks about their HSPM Compliance and whatever the best practices done at their level. At the moment this project is India-specific project but once these industries have implemented and transferred completely in a long run, they can even go for an integrated management system type of approach. The IECQ is still working as a very new concept in India but many industries are facing a problem to switch over from existing lead technology to lead-free technology. This is the reason I told you that out of 10 companies, only 7 companies completely were qualified out of this project. To ensure the sustainability we will also support this industry with all the know-hows and if necessary we will also do the future assessment and audit. At this moment this project is purely part of our Corporate Social Responsibility.
Q. Is HSPM compulsory in India yet?
A. HSPM, even across the globe, is not compulsory but it will help you to meet some compulsory regulation in Europe.
Q. So does that mean that if you don’t have HSPM in Europe, you probably would not be able to operate?
A. That’s very correct. In China, 1500 companies have already gotten a certification. It is very active in Taiwan, the whole of Europe and the US because all these countries already have their restriction of hazardous substances related regulations. In India, it started in May 2012. Of course, there is a 2 year transition period but by May 2014, certain electronic component manufacturing industries will have a specific obligation to control these hazardous substances. So this standard in a long or short run will help the Indian Electronic Component Manufacturing Industry to control the hazardous substances.
Q. What would companies do who already have an ISO 9001?
A. The idea is that, at the moment, most of these companies are either ISO 9000 certified or 14000 certified or may be even 27000 certified, but this particular standard will help them to control the hazardous substances. So their quality, policy, management, objectives, communications and management representatives will also have a specific method to control the hazardous substances. They even have to plan the hazardous substance assessment and control it at a regular interval. So the entire activity of the organisation will ensure the HSPM is implemented thoroughly. That is the reason this standard works on top of ISO 9001. So most of the clauses in ISO 9001 are common here in QCO 80000. But this will be a very new approach in India.
It is not practically possible to analyse every product or sample. It is time consuming and a lot of capital is needed. Instead, a system level approach where the system will not allow to process or procure any of the hazardous substance material is the ideal situation. So this standard will help the industries to transfer from the existing level to that of a particular hazardous substance-free level.
Q. Could you tell us about what kind of clients do you have?
A. Basically we do not use the term ‘clients’. They are either participants or a beneficiary industry. I can name some of the beneficiary industries like EXA Thermometrics, TTK Prestige, Optocircuits, Magnatech, KHMDL and so on.
Q. Does TUV also test equipment?
A. Yes. We test the instruments for its safety and Quality. We also test the raw materials and Bill of materials (BOM) for their compliance. We have a material testing laboratory in Bengaluru where we test the ROHS and we also have NABL accreditation to do these tests. Ours is the first laboratory in India where we can handle all the hazardous substance directives which include ROHS, REACH, ELV and Packaging directive. Ours is the first Laboratory in India to get all these accreditations together. We are also doing the next level of activity to sustain the ROHS free level or the ROHS material.