Management Systems Inc

More business improvement stuff than you can shake a stick at

Criticisms of ISO 9000

Posted by isoeasy on April 22, 2006

ISO 9001 - Hmm!Many companies have found the transition to conforming to IS0 9000 difficult. This, along with doubts about the fundamental value of the standard, has spawned many criticisms, including:

* The compliance process is costly and time-consuming.
* Lots of administration is needed to implement it.
* Adhering to ISO 9000 makes processes more consistent; to some proponents of continuous improvement, it also makes it harder to improve and re-adapt the processes.
* "When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." It has been argued that it may not be appropriate to apply a process such as ISO 9000 to a field requiring creativity, such as software engineering, which is more analogous to designing factories than to operating a factory.
* Bad managers still manage at arm's length, using paper reports rather than knowing what is happening on the factory floor. ISO 9000 can reinforce this behaviour. Instead of being seen as an opportunity to improve things, audits often become quite confrontational in structure.
* Many companies only register to ISO 9000 because they are forced to by the marketplace, whether or not ISO 9000 is in fact appropriate to their business.
* ISO 9001:2000 does not give too much practical advice but instead focuses on general principles. In order to create a standard applicable to almost any kind of organization, specific requirements and tools were avoided whenever possible. This is one of the reasons for the proliferation of industry specific standards which are more practical and give clear guidance about what quality tools have to be used when.

There are few objective metrics showing any effectiveness for ISO 9001. In 1997, two people took the BSI to the Advertising Standards Authority for claiming in an advertisement that ISO 9001

"improves productivity … almost always gives an immediate result in terms of productivity and efficiency, and that means cost reductions … pays for itself … Staff morale is better because they understand what is expected of them and each other,"

 … whilst being unable to produce any objective metrics to substantiate these assertions. The complaint was upheld.

Quality programmes are notoriously difficult to quantify as Crosby warned in 'Quality is Free' back in 1979, long before the first of these standards emerged. When an organization is measuring nothing, the only 'quality costs' it knows are the basics of scrap and rework, and often even these are not being tracked effectively. Once a formal system is introduced, much more accurate data starts to emerge and initial costs of quality often appear to increase.

In Japan, amidst complaints of ISO 9000 undermining world-class thinking, Toyota abandoned the standard in 2000, moving back to their in-house Toyota Production System.

My own personal opinion is you get what you put into it – if you are just seeking certification to pacify customers, then it really is just a bureaucratic exercise. If you use the standard in the manner it was was intended, that is to stimulate business improvement, then you'll see the benefits: garbage in/garbage out!

Some of the "wrong" reasons that may cause problems for a company include:
* The only thing we need is the certificate.
* Get the certificate and be done with it.
* Getting the certificate is the responsibility of the quality assurance manager only.
* ISO 9000 and QS-9000 are separate from the company's daily business.
* We only need enough to satisfy the auditors.

Some philosophies that have served companies well include:
* ISO 9000 compliance, proven by a certificate, improves the way we do business. The resulting discipline yields significant cost reductions.
* Registration gives us a competitive edge over nonregistered competitors.
* Compliance raises morale because employees clearly understand what is required of their position.

In my views, compliance with ISO 9000 enhances companies' understanding and control of their processes. Registration, being a convenient and preferred way to prove such compliance, is fast becoming a customer requirement. The combination gives industry the basis for a quality system that's logical, attainable and verifiable, improving quality worldwide and ultimately industry's future.

5 Responses to “Criticisms of ISO 9000”

  1. ISO 9000 said

    I read your post . it was amazing.Your thought process is wonderful.
    The way you describe is awesome. They are inspiring and helpful.Thanks for sharing your information and stories.
    iso 9000

  2. wharton publishing…

    […]Criticisms of ISO 9000 « Management Systems Inc[…]…

  3. Every organization would like to improve the way it operates,
    whether tha means increasing market share, driving down costs,
    Managing risk more effectively or improving customer satisfaction.
    A quality management system gives you the framework you
    need to monitor and improve performance in any
    area you choose. ISO 9001 is by far the world’s most established
    quality framework, currently being used byover
    million organizations, and sets the standard not only for quality management systems, but management systems in general.
    It helps ajl to all organizations to succeed through improved customer satisfaction, staff motivation and continual improvment.

    When a company has been satisfactorily assessed
    to ISO 9001, they will be able to display the Certification Body’s logo on their correspondence.
    Sales and Marketing Benefits:

    The logos will increase the stature of the Company in the Market place and help to enlarge the customer base.

    It will satisfy the larger businesses that the company operates to a controlled system which will result in fewer customer audits needing to be carried out to confirm the on-going commitment to getting it right the first time.

    It will reduce one of the hurdles to entering an approved supplier list run by a potential customer.

    ISO 9001 is an international standard and it will open international doors not just those locally.

    The Quality manual is a separate document and can be used
    as a sales and marketing tool, it will both describe the company
    commitment to standards and customer requirements as well as promoting the company
    to new customers.

  4. Criticisms of ISO 9000

    […]Listening to Genesis’ “Land Of Confusion” and it’s more relevant than ever. Also those music video puppets could use a serious Trump reboot.[…]

  5. Rajesh said

    certification has just become a legal or passion requirements for establishments, there are hundreds of companies or trading establishments that acquire these certificates by just fulfilling documental requirements, with no benefits to the companies. Extra Paper work with no productivity, no tracking system but yet are certified with all the kind of certifications. Want some examples just go around some trading companies and look at the way they operate with certified standards. want further details contact me.

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