Quality Assurance Subcommittee | Clearing House

Compendium of Subcommittee Status

Section 8: Clearing House

I. Objective
The ISM Rail Industry Forum Quality System Standards Subcommittee proposes the formulation of a “Clearing House” that will:

A. Schedule specific commodity groups and time frames for the submission of audit summary reports by suppliers.
B. Review audit summary reports to ensure that suppliers have developed and implemented a quality system consistent with ISM-RIF standards. Also verify that the audits have been concluded by auditors meeting ISM-RIF accreditation criteria.
C. Publish a list of those suppliers who have a quality system consistent with ISM-RIF Quality System Standard.

The Clearing House is designed to provide a list of suppliers who have a quality assurance program consistent with nationally accepted standards. It is entirely voluntary. It is not intended to exclude any supplier or to affect a supplier’s business relationship with any railroad. Each individual railroad is free to do business with any supplier it chooses whether or not the supplier is among those on the ISM-RIF list.

II. Role of QAS
A. Select a Quality System Standard for assessment of suppliers’ quality system.
B. Determine which auditor accreditation agencies are acceptable.
C. Collect audit summary reports from suppliers.

Additionally, the ISM-RIF-QAS will periodically meet to:

D. Review and revise A and B above, as needed.
E. Schedule specific commodity groups and time frames for submission of audit summary reports.
F. Review content of summary reports pertaining to specified commodity groups.
G. Distribute a list of those suppliers who have a quality system consistent with the ISM-RIF Quality System Standard.
III. Auditing Agency
The ISM-RIF-QAS will not recommend or specify auditing agencies. However, individual railroads may choose to audit specific companies within a commodity group. Nevertheless, all audits must be performed by an auditor accredited by an organization recognized by the Subcommittee.Under no circumstances will an audit be acceptable if the auditor or auditing agency is in any way connected to the supplier organization. The auditor MUST be impartial.

IV. Cost
The cost of the audit, if any, will be the responsibility of the supplier.
V. Audit Schedule to Reduce Duplication of Effort
In order to facilitate the supplier quality audit process, the ISM-RIF-QAS will select commodity groups that will be added to the list. These selections will be made based on recommendations from the participating railroads.Individual railroads may choose to coordinate with suppliers what will be included in their in-house audit program. It will be the responsibility of the individual railroads to notify these suppliers of their selections.

ISM-RIF-QAS will publish the audit schedule by commodity group and the time frame in two or more rail industry publications. Participating railroads should also notify suppliers accordingly.

VI. The Audit
It will be the responsibility of each supplier to see that their quality system standard is consistent with the standards adopted by the ISM-RIF-QAS. Likewise, it will be the suppliers’ responsibility to schedule their individual audit and report the results to the subcommittee with the proper form and supporting documentation.
VII. Audit Summary Report
Subsequent to the audit, the supplier must forward the properly completed Audit Summary Report and proof of auditor accreditation (copy of certificate, card, etc.) to the ISM-RIF-QAS.These forms should reach the subcommittee prior to the deadline set in the ISM Audit Schedule in order to be included on the current list.

VIII. List of Suppliers Consistent with ISM Quality System Standards
The ISM-RIF-QAS will review the submitted audit summary reports that pertain to the scheduled commodities. The following conditions must be met without exception to be added to the list:

A. Audit Summary Report must be completed in its entirety and must provide verification that the supplier’s quality system meets 100% of the requirements of the ISM-RIF.
B. The above verification must be conducted by an auditor accredited by an organization recognized by the ISM-RIF.
C. Proof of auditor accreditation (copy of certificate, card, etc.) must accompany audit summary report. The list will be distributed annually and made available to the rail industry. The list will not make mention of suppliers who have quality system that are not consistent with ISM-RIF requirements nor will it specify those who are no longer on the list.
IX. Approval Maintenance
Suppliers must maintain the integrity of their quality system and upgrade as necessary. Suppliers must be re-evaluated at least every three (3) years. The criteria of Section VIII will again be evaluated to determine acceptance to the list.Annual compliance audits may be conducted on a random basis by participating railroads. Non-conforming conditions observed through these audits must be resolved directly between the supplier and the auditing railroad.