Are You Confusing TL 9000 Training Requirements?

There are distinct training requirements with TL 9000: Advance Quality Training and Quality and Process Improvement Concepts Training.  Often implementers of the TL 9000 standard confuse these two training requirements.  TL 9000 requires the following: “those employees who have a direct impact on the quality of the product, including top management, shall be trained in and apply the fundamental concepts of continual improvement, problem solving and customer satisfaction.”

It further requires that “the organization shall offer appropriate levels of advanced quality training.  Examples of advanced quality training may include statistical techniques, process capability, statistical sampling, data collection and analysis, problem identification, problem analysis and root cause analysis”.  What are the basic differences in these requirements other than one requires training in fundamental concepts and the other calls for you to offer advanced quality training?

First, you are required to train all employees that have a direct impact (including top management) on the fundamentals and make sure that these concepts are applied.  You can satisfy this requirement by teaching basic continual improvement concepts such as “plan, do, check and act” and problem solving concepts, such as what types of tools are used for working with ideas like the fishbone diagram and what tools are valuable for numbers and data like trend charts.  You can teach employees the importance of customer satisfaction by illustrating how much it costs to gain new customers versus retaining current ones.  There have been studies done on this topic and they are accessible on the web or through our e-learning module.

On the other hand, you are only required to offer advanced quality training.  The implication here is that you will encourage applicable employees to take advanced quality training where it is valuable to the organization and as a career builder for the employee.  Examples are given in the standard.  Since TL 9000 is a quality standard and not a tool in and of itself, you might consider some tools to use in making improvements within the standard such as LEAN SIX SIGMA or others, and train employees that will participate in such programs.  Often it is necessary to train employees in handling data, root cause analysis and other techniques, to ensure that they can play an effective role in continuing to improve your quality and customer satisfaction.

Please keep in mind if employees can demonstrate with a certificate that they have had this training, the standard doesn’t require you to train them again.  Also, make sure you keep records of any training you provide for audit evidence.   These records can include certificates or attendance sheets that list the dates, names of employees trained and the subjects taught.  For more information on TL 9000 training requirements contact