What are the benefits of ISO 9000 registration?

Carol Ann Jaenisch

The ISO 9000 series provides the company with a quality system that:

  1. Standardizes, organizes and controls operations
  2. Provides for consistent dissemination of information
  3. Improves various aspects of the business based use of statistical data and analysis
  4. Acceptance of the system as a standard for ensuring quality in a global market
  5. Enhances customer responsiveness to products and service
  6. Encourages improvement

Standardization

The ISO 9000 series standards are organized according to functions, such as; document and data control, and contract review therefore they are set forth in a logical format. Organized in outline form they provide a template for each function that effects the quality of the product or service in the company. Guidelines provided by the standards establish a consistent approach to policy documentation. Controls are set forth in the standards in the areas of document control, contract review and control of non-conforming product.

Consistent dissemination of information

Three areas of the standards, in particular, provide for consistent dissemination of information. Control of quality records insures that pertinent records are maintained regarding quality records. Design control eliminates ad-hoc engineering changes that are not communicated with all parties involved in the process. Document and data control standards require a system of document revision, document distribution, removal of obsolete documents, and document approval. Specially the standards require, "the pertinent issues of appropriate documents are available at all locations where operations essential to the effective functioning of the quality systems are performed".

Improvement using statistics

The ISO 9000 series standards require the company to identify the need for statistical techniques and to implement and control such techniques. The standards specifically point to process capability and product characteristics. The standards allow the company the flexibility to use those statistical techniques that would be appropriate for their industry. Additionally, the standards refer to the use of both corrective and preventative action, and effective internal auditing. These techniques and systems improve business processes by using data- based management rather than instinct and hunches.

Global acceptance

The ISO 9000 series is the standard of quality accepted by the European community. The acceptance of these standards is quickly spreading throughout the Americas, and Asia. It simply makes sense to adopt one quality standard that can be used by corporations throughout the global community as a trademark for verifying the quality of services and product provided by a given company. It is much less costly than complying with multitudes of quality standards imposed by various corporations and /or countries to conduct business with them. Finally, for those companies which are subject to a myriad of US government quality standards, we can look forward to a future of one standard applied across US agencies.

Enhances customer responsiveness

American companies now face world-wide competition in global markets. There is a continual need to prove the quality/superiority of the goods and services provided by American firms, in order to compete. Registration provides customers with the assurance that established quality standards have been met. Further many US and European customers are mandating ISO registration as a requirement to conduct business. ISO registration assists a company in developing and maintaining a competitive advantage over non-registered competitors.

Encourages continual improvement

Awards and training programs are all well and good to help meet a company's quality objectives, but they are a one time non-reoccurring event. They can build up momentum and then simply die out. True success in the implementation of a quality system can be measured by the fact that it is functional and continual.. The ISO series standards ensure this, by providing not only for the initial registration auditing, but on-going surveillance audits. This provides an additional benefit to vendors and customers of the company in that they are assured that the quality system in functional and periodically monitored by external independent auditors. This usually eliminate the need for additional customer surveillance audits.