IRIS helps to keep processes in the railway industry on track
To keep up with international competition, the railway industry streamlines its processes with regard to safety and quality: based on the classic quality management standard ISO 9001, well-known railway equipment manufacturers have developed a uniform management system, the International Railway Industry Standard, or IRIS for short. TÜV SÜD estimates that IRIS will soon become the de facto standard for manufacturers and suppliers. Leading system and equipment manufacturers agree that suppliers should aim to be certified to the IRIS standard by mid-2009 and that certification will become mandatory after this date.
To ensure top safety and quality for rail vehicles, a host of processes must run like clockwork along the supply chain. To standardize and optimize processes, a number of renowned manufacturers have joined forces under the auspices of UNIFE (Union des Industries Ferroviaires Européennes) and collectively defined the new International Railway Industry Standard IRIS for suppliers and manufacturers. IRIS is based on the ISO 9001 quality standard, complemented by specific industry requirements. "IRIS also addresses aspects such as project and cost management, customer service, the life cycle costs of a product plus reliability, availability, maintainability and safety", explains Klaus Wagner, IRIS product manager at TÜV SÜD.
IRIS will soon become as important for the railway industry as ISO TS 16949 is for the automotive industry. "Manufacturers of drive or control systems, car body or chassis components, interiors and pneumatic, hydraulic or electronic components of rolling stock must use the new standard. Manufacturers of seats or kitchen appliances for restaurant cars will also have to be certified according to IRIS in the long term", notes Wagner. For the organizations concerned, establishment of the standard means far more than mere discharge of duties: Similarly to ISO 9001, IRIS triggers a continuous improvement process. The new standard more strongly promotes establishment of a uniform system of supplier approval and evaluation. "This ensures transparency in the sector of industry", says Wagner. TÜV SÜD Management Services carries out certifications in line with the new standard. Wagner comments: "Manufacturers able to furnish proof, in the form of a certificate, that they successfully apply the IRIS standard, will gain clear competitive advantages, inter alia through early entry in the IRIS database, which includes a list of all certified organizations and their ratings achieved in certification." In the long term, IRIS will also become applicable to the maintenance sector and railway network operators.
For further information about IRIS contact Klaus Wagner, TÜV SÜD Management Services,
Tel. +49 (0)89 / 57 91 – 28 64.
Editor: Mareike Lehnhardt