WHAT IS ISO 9000?
ISO 9000 is a series of standards dealing with quality systems that can be used for external quality assurance purposes. It sets standards for systems and paperwork (not products) by providing organizations with guidelines on how to establish systems for managing quality products and systems.
Registration to the standards demonstrates to customers that the supplying organization has achieved a basic level of quality assurance by the formalisation and documentation of its quality management system
ISO 9000 DIFFUSION
December 2003, at least 500,125 ISO 9000 certificates had been issued in 149 countries. China had the highest number of certificates issued (96,715), followed by Italy (64,120) and the UK (45,465). Comparatively only few certificate had been issued to public sector organizations
MOTIVATION FOR ISO 9000 REGISTRATION
Literature shows that organizations have a number of reasons for seeking registration to the standards. Many organizations in the early stages of ISO 9000, registered for marketing-related reasons. Some of these organizations used the standards to develop the perception of higher product quality.
Organizations that have internally driven motives for registering to ISO 9000 are likely to find the standards more effective than those that use ISO 9000 for externally oriented marketing or compliance purposes
The process involved in implementing the ISO 9000 standard typically involves a four-stage process.
- In the first stage, the organization conducts a cost-benefit analysis to assess the usefulness of registering to the standard. Should the organization decide to go ahead,
- the second stage involves deciding on the scope of activities that need to be covered.
- The third stage involves producing the documentation (quality manual), with (or without) the assistance of consultants.
- The fourth stage is where assessors from an accredited registration body examine this documentation and then audit the system to verify that what is shown in the document is what actually happens in reality.
PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED WITH ISO 9000
The literature describes a wide range of problems associated with ISO 9000. These include its inappropriate use, over-expectations in terms of its value, difficulties in gaining acceptance particularly from internal stakeholders, and, problems related to managing the implementation process.
Many of these problems can be traced back to fundamental weaknesses with the technical and procedural aspects of the standards.
In Public sector there is a tendency for staff at all levels to see the quality management system as something extra to the way they normally do their jobs. In order to overcome this perception, took the approach of calling the system a management system rather than a quality management system. This approach will be further enhanced in the future, with the system being progressively moved towards being an information system.