Usiminas is recommended for certification in the new automotive quality standard
The company is one of the first Brazilian corporations to obtain the recommendation for certification in IATF 16949: 2016.
Usiminas has just become one of the first Brazilian companies – in addition to one of the pioneer steel mills in the world – to obtain the recommendation for certification in the new quality management standard for automotive suppliers, IATF 16949:2016. The achievement reinforces the company's leadership in qualified service to the demands of the challenging automotive industry, which also includes the development of customized solutions for the customer.
The recommendation was made official by a report sent by Bureau Veritas Certification (BVC) on 13 July to the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) responsible for certification. The document meets a request from a large part of the world automotive sector, which, in order to guarantee the high level of quality, requires its suppliers to be certified in the standard. Developed by IATF, it stimulates the development of the automotive market and is considered by many as a prerequisite for doing business.
The extensive and comprehensive audit that accredited Usiminas for certification was performed by BVC from May 29 to June 23 this year and covered the processes developed at the company's headquarters in Belo Horizonte; In the Ipatinga and Cubatão plants; In the Steel Business Center (CEA), in São Paulo; In the Port of Vitória and Cubatão and in the Distribution Centers TESP, Utinga, Imbiruçu and Santa Luzia.
Eduardo Côrtes Sarmento, Usiminas General Manager of Customer Service, Quality Assurance and Product, highlights the result achieved by the company. “Usiminas is once again a pioneer in Quality certifications, thanks to the updating of our Quality Management System, putting it in line with the most recent standards published in the world. We have come to the forefront of many companies in Brazil and in the world, and we demonstrate our workforce with the capacity to achieve important and innovative results”, he celebrates.
In addition to the audit, the Usiminas certification project in the new standard involved a planning that included the study of the standard, the training of the teams involved, the identification of the existing gaps and the actions to eliminate each of them, finally, the complete cycle of internal audits and the necessary corrections.
The IATF 16949:2016 standard, which replaces and overrides ISO / TS 16949: 2009, an old rule for the automotive sector, was published in October of last year. Usiminas wasted no time and updated its Quality Management System (QMS) to meet the changes. All organizations certified in the old standard will need to migrate to the new version by September 2018. The company, therefore, has been more than a year advanced in this project.
At the closing meeting of the audit process, CEO, Sergio Leite, highlighted the agility of the entire team. “It's a huge satisfaction to celebrate this result. Usiminas has 54 years of operation and has placed quality in customer service as a priority since the company's foundation, “he said.
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In 2016, Usiminas launched four new products for the segment, some of them unprecedented and unique in the country, in an effort to locally produce steel with high technological content. By the end of this year, two other products are expected to be launched focusing on this market.
Among Usiminas' differentials in the automotive sector – one of the main consuming markets in the steel industry – is the maximum rigor in the development of products destined to this segment, which has safety of vehicles as premise. The company has developed the Product Safety Process, with the objective of providing effectively safe items for the manufacture of critical parts such as bearers, shock absorbers, wheels, sleepers, bumper and fuel tanks.
One of the main tools used in this process is FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis), in which the identified risks control is made through robust steel projects, specifically directed to safety in the application of the product; By meeting the requirements of the manufacturing process and by assessing the conformity of the material, using differentiated sampling and more stringent acceptance criteria.