William A. Levinson’s picture

By: William A. Levinson

People often ask for examples of benefits from implementing ISO 9001-compliant quality management systems (QMS). Such examples are often difficult to provide, at least in terms of immediate results. The reason is that the effects of ISO 9001 and its automotive counterpart ISO/TS 16949 are largely preventive, which means they are most conspicuous through their absence.

Umberto Tunesi’s picture

By: Umberto Tunesi

Back in the early 1990s, there was a saying, loudly heralded by one global registrar: “Certify your company, and the export markets will open their doors to it.” Well, the actual wording was a bit more rude, to get the message across to small companies.

By: Mike James

To remain the valuable business system that it currently is, ISO 9001 needs to continue to evolve, ensuring that organizations of all sizes, complexities, and locations see a clear connection between their strategic objectives and their quality management system (QMS). It is not just about meeting the requirements of a standard to get certification; ISO 9001 must be embedded in everything that the organization does.

William A. Levinson’s picture

By: William A. Levinson

Compliance is an unfortunate word in connection with standards because it suggests something arduous, unpleasant, costly, and annoying that one must do to “get the certificate.”

Denise Robitaille’s picture

By: Denise Robitaille

The ISO 9001 requirements pertaining to preventive action would get a lot more attention if people grasped the very simple fact that this is all about managing risk—which is really about managing the consequences of change. Whenever we change something, even for the better, there are consequences—ripples across the waters through which we navigate our quality management systems. Failure to anticipate the consequences of those changes is how we end up with bad things happening.

Mary H. Saunders and Nick Sinai’s default image

By: Mary H. Saunders and Nick Sinai

Imagine a world where shoe sizes were not standardized, or where golf balls came in a variety of sizes and weights. What if your favorite CDs didn’t fit in your friend’s CD player? None of these things are problems today, thanks to an army of unsung heroes known as standards.

Davis Balestracci’s picture

By: Davis Balestracci

Any improvement effort ultimately faces the issue of standardizing processes, in many cases under the intense pressure of an impending certification audit. Ask yourself: Is your rationale for standardization merely to pass the audit, or is it a serious effort to improve quality?

Davis Balestracci’s picture

By: Davis Balestracci

Because many organizations are trying for formal certification, the pressure is on to standardize and document processes. This is also true for any robust improvement effort. Organizations are currently drowning in processes that have evolved over time and consequently become rife with confusion, conflict, complexity, and chaos. There are wide gaps between how these processes should work and how they actually do work.

Mark Ames, Reg Blake, Michael J. Caruso, Phil Heinle’s default image

By: Mark Ames, Reg Blake, Michael J. Caruso, Phil Heinle

Management system standards trace their beginnings to the use of simple preventive practices that were developed and used at the beginning of the industrial revolution. These preventive practices included responses to common problems, for example, ensuring changes are communicated to everyone who needs to know about the change, and attacking the cause of a problem, not just the symptom.

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