TL 9000 – Telcom – Quality Management System


In 1998 QuEST Forum (now TIA QuEST Forum) developed the TL 9000 quality management system (QMS) to meet the supply chain quality requirements of the global communications industry. Built on ISO 9001 and the eight quality principles, TL 9000 is designed specifically for the communications industry.

The purpose of TL 9000 is to define the unique communications quality system requirements for design, development, production, delivery, and service. In addition, it specifies measurements for companies to help evaluate the effectiveness of quality implementation and improvement programs.

WHY TL 9000?

QuEST Forum has pursued a goal of global telecommunications quality and industry-wide performance excellence through its TL 9000 standard. It accomplishes this goal in three ways:

By defining system requirements for the design, development, production, delivery, installation and maintenance of telecom products and services and providing a measurement system that allows companies to track performance and improve results

By eliminating the need for multiple quality management standards, which reduces the cost of doing business and ultimately results in better products and services to consumers

By providing a consistent set of quality expectations to drive efficiency and performance across the global telecom supply chain.

Who benefits from TL 9000?

Buyers benefit from assured consistent quality across all products and services by using TL 9000 certified suppliers, along with significant cost savings of on-site inspections. What’s more, the Registration Management System (RMS) provides regular performance data for analysis against industry benchmarks and objective product or supplier evaluations.

Suppliers profit by conformance to TL 9000 standards, thus validating the quality of product, services and customer care that they provide. It reduces the costs of quality audits and helps create customized performance reports for current and potential customers.

Both Service Providers and Suppliers gain from cost efficiencies and improved supplier relationships across the supply chain. The TL 9000 certification guarantees that suppliers have a QMS that has been systematically audited by an independent TL 9000 registrar.

Organizations drive further product and service improvement through a strong commitment to quality and business excellence, thus boosting their time-to-market and competitive advantage.

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Requirements of TL 9000

Through TL 9000, it set out to achieve the following goals:

– Establish and maintain a common set of telecom QMS requirements, which reduces the number of standards for the industry
– Foster a system that protects the integrity and use of telecom products hardware, software and services
– Define effective cost and performance-based measurements to guide progress and evaluate the results of QMS implementation
– Drive continual improvement and enhance customer relationships
– Leverage the industry conformity assessment process

TL 9000: A Two-part Quality Management System

The TL 9000 standard is the telecom industry’s unique extension to ISO 9001 and includes supplemental requirements in the following areas:

– Performance measurements based on reliability of product
– Software development and life-cycle management
– Requirements for specialized service functions such as installation and engineering
– Requirements to address communications between telecom network operators and suppliers
– Reporting of quality measurement data to a central repository

As a result, the TL 9000 is a two-part quality system with significant management and measurement components. In particular, TL 9000 registered organizations are required to comply with:

– All requirements clauses of the International Standards ISO 9001
– Telecom-specific requirements that apply to all registrations
– Telecom-specific requirements that apply to hardware, software and/or service registrations
– Telecom industry measurements that apply in all product categories
– Telecom industry measurements that apply in certain product categories specific to hardware, software and/or services

The TL 9000 Requirements Handbook and Measurements Handbook provide exhaustive information on both aspects of this quality management system

TL 9000 Registration Process

TL 9000 registration process is fairly simple and straightforward with well-defined stages and tasks. This process can take 6 – 18 months, depending on the size of the organization, maturity of their quality management system, geographic dispersion of its operations, available resources, and product categories to be TL 9000 certified.

The stages to a successful TL 9000 registration are:

– Pre-Registration Preparation
– RMS Registration
– Pre-Audit Activities
– Certificate of TL 9000 Registration

Pre-Registration Preparation

Learn About TL 9000. The requirements of TL 9000 are documented in the TL 9000 Requirements Handbook, which consists of 100% of ISO 9001:2015 and 90 telecom-specific adders. QuEST Forum offers several introductory training classes on TL 9000 for a quick overview. Some organizations hire consultants to help them better understand the requirements of TL 9000.

Select a Registrar. QuEST Forum requires organizations seeking TL 9000 certification to work with a registrar to define the parameters of their certification early in the process.

Define the Scope of Registration. It is critical to establish the organizational scope of TL 9000, such as the product line, division, subsidiary or entire company. It must then determine the products to be included under the scope of this registration. In general, all products – hardware, software and services – involved in a process or activity must be registered.

Select the Registration Option. The registration options available are Hardware (H), Software (S), and Services (V). An organization can choose all or any combination of the options. This determines the additional TL 9000 specific requirements that apply to the registration. Certain product categories may require a specific registration option.

Select the Product Categories. Once the registration scope and options are finalized, the applicant can start mapping its products to the TL 9000 product categories. TL 9000 has over a hundred product categories covering hardware, software and services. If the required product category is not available, a formal request can be made for inclusion. For more information on how to establish new product categories.

Perform a Gap Analysis. The organization undertakes gap analysis and assessment of its organization, operations and processes against the TL 9000 standards. Deficient areas are identified, an action plan is created to close the gaps, plans and processes are put into place, and resources are allocated to align the organization with TL 9000 requirements. The gap analysis can be conducted by internal or external consultants.

Schedule a TL 9000 Assessment Audit. The action plan will define the amount of time needed to fully conform to TL 9000 requirements. The organization, jointly with the registrar, schedules the initial assessment audit.

RMS Registration

Once an organization has confirmed the scope, options and product categories for its TL 9000 registration, it can apply for a TL 9000 registration by creating a profile on the Registration Management System (RMS).

A new account is created and populated with information on the user, company, personnel and registration. RMS registration is free for QuEST Forum members but non-members are required to pay an annual fee.

Pre-Audit Activities

1. Close Gaps and Report TL 9000 Measurements. Progress is evaluated through internal audits and management reviews. All gaps must be resolved and completely closed before the organization is deemed fully conformant with TL 9000. Three consecutive months of TL 9000 measurements must be collected and reported to the Measurements Repository System (MRS) as per the scope of registration.

2. Certificate of TL 9000 Registration. A certified registrar must verify that all effective processes are in place, ensure the validity of TL 9000 measurements, and clear all non-conformances. Then, the registrar can approve the application online and mark the registration records as certified, which are now available for public view. The organization is formally recognized as a certified TL 9000 registered organization and receives a Certificate of TL 9000 Registration.

3. Submission of TL 9000 Measurements. All certified TL 9000 registered organizations are required to submit TL 9000 data pertaining to their products. Data submissions can be made online via a user interface, uploading a data template file, or through machine to machine transmission on a monthly basis.

Continuing Audits and Maintenance

Regularly scheduled continuing audits of TL 9000 registrations are required for surveillance and three-year re-assessments as per standard ISO/IAF guidelines. A registrar authenticates the organization’s documented system for measurement collection, validation and reporting, and ensures that the TL 9000 measurements are used systemically by the organization. The registrar also verifies that measurements are reported to the Measurement Repository System (MRS), in full accordance with the TL 9000 requirements.

Implementing TL 9000

There are key steps that every company implementing a TL 9000 will need to consider:

Purchase the Standard 
Before you can begin preparing for your application, you will require a copy of the standard. You should read this and make yourself familiar with it.

Review support literature and software
There are a wide range of quality publications and software tools designed to help you understand, implement and become registered to a quality management system.

Assemble a team and agree on your strategy
You should begin the entire implementation process by preparing your organizational strategy with top management. Responsibility for a TL 9000 lies with Senior Management, therefore it is vital that Senior Management is involved from the beginning of the process.

Consider Training 
Whether you are the Quality Manager seeking to implement a quality management system or a Senior Manager who would like to increase your general awareness of TL 9000, Guides etc there are a range of workshops, seminars and training courses available.

Review Consultancy Options
The consultancy is the 3rd party like NUCLEUS, You can receive advice from independent consultants on how best to implement your quality management system. They will have the experience in implementing a TL 9000 and can ensure you avoid costly mistakes.

Choose a registrar
The registrar is the 3rd party, like (Check with International Accreditation Forum for the accredited certification body) who come and assess the effectiveness of your quality management system, and issue a certificate if it meets the requirements of the standard. Choosing a registrar can be a complex issue as there are so many operating in the market. Factors to consider include industry experience, geographic coverage, price and service level offered. The key is to find the registrar who can best meet your requirements. A great place to start is by contacting us.

Develop a Quality manual
A Quality manual is a high level document that outlines your intention to operate in a quality manner. It outlines why you are in business, what your intentions are, how you are applying the standard and how your business operates.

Develop support documentation
This is typically a procedures manual that supports the Quality manual. Quite simply, it outlines what you do to complete a task. It describes who does what, in what order and to what standard.

Implement your Quality Management System
The key to implementation is communication and training. During the implementation phase everyone operates to the procedures and collects records that demonstrate you are doing what you say you are doing. Submit your measurement data to Quest Forum.

Conduct Internal Audit and Management Review
At planned intervals you need to conduct an internal audit and a management review to verify the established QMS is confirming the applicable requirements and it is effective, suitable and adequate.

Gain registration
You should arrange your initial assessment with your registrar. At this point the registrar will review your TL 9000 and determine whether you should be recommended for registration.

Continual assessment
Once you have received registration and been awarded your certificate, you can begin to advertise your success and promote your business. To maintain your registration, all you need to do is continue to use your quality system. This will be periodically checked by your registrar to ensure that your Quality System continues to meet the requirements of the standard.

QMS Registration 

Registration to TL 9000 takes place when an accredited 3rd party visits an organization, assesses the management system and issues a certificate to show that the organization abides by to the principles set out in TL 9000. 

Your Quality Management Systems certificate is a sign of acceptability which saves you having to prove your quality standards to discriminating customers. TL 9000 speaks an international language. Once you are certified means, the certificate is valid for 3 years and it is subject to the completion of the annual surveillance audit.

To know more about TL 9000 Training and Consultancy Services please contact us on +91 9600001996 and mail to

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