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No cheers for ISO 9000

Regarding the comment in Scott M. Paton's March 2001 editorial that "...[ISO 9000:2000's] release has been met with a surprisingly muted response," I hope this is because industry has finally woken up to the fact that ISO 9000 is a bunch of bureaucratic nonsense that does nothing to enhance the bottom line and, more often than not, actually hinders progress and profitability.
--Steve Gilbert


ISO 9000's rebirth

The ISO 9001:2000 model is a logical evolution from today's standard. The ISO 9001:2000 model grounds the earlier standard's intention for its requirements to complement a business rather than becoming its design. Transitioning to ISO 9001:2000 will be almost transparent to organizations that shape the standard to suit their business model but not to organizations that force-fit their business into the ISO 9001 structure.

 With this transition to ISO 9001:2000, the standard is no longer simply tangential to other quality initiatives such as Baldrige, lean and Six Sigma. It has long been known that measurement, analysis and improvement tie quality to senior management initiatives, which, as Paton put it in his editorial, "quality gurus have long demanded." Now ISO 9001 requires it too.
--Mark Anderson
Senior Evaluation Specialist


Selling Six Sigma standardization

First of all, let me say that I agree with what Thomas Pyzdek says about standardization of the Six Sigma program. That said, I think his March editorial was inappropriate for Quality Digest. By and large, it is an advertisement for Pyzdek's consulting company. In addition, IQF is doing exactly what Pyzdek is arguing against, that is, creating its own flavor of Six Sigma and contributing to the "hodgepodge" that he believes was one of the problems that affected TQM in a negative manner.

 If Pyzdek wants to promote standardization, he should promote an ASQ Black Belt certification instead of his own.
--Wallace Davis, CQE

Thomas Pyzdek responds:

 Mr. Davis appears to have confused the IQF with another organization. Yes, there is a quality society whose officers receive consulting work from the society, but it isn't the IQF. The IQF board of directors considers such a practice to be unethical and the IQF's bylaws specifically prohibit it.

 I believe that Quality Digest's coverage of the IQF is entirely appropriate. To see it as in any way promoting my consulting business is absurd and, frankly, I find such a view mystifying. Did Mr. Davis object when ASQ's Six Sigma consulting partner appeared in a Quality Progress cover story and was favorably compared to Shewhart and Deming?

 As far as promoting my Black Belt certification, I must once again correct Mr. Davis. The IQF standard is the IQF's creation, not mine. Its development involved tremendous volunteer efforts by many people other than me, and I can't take credit for their accomplishments. In particular, Bryan Dodson deserves praise for his efforts. I support the IQF certification process because I believe it is superior. While the bodies of knowledge covered by the IQF and ASQ exams are essentially the same, there are significant differences in the two certification processes:

* The IQF exam takes a full day; ASQ's exam takes a half-day.

* The IQF has specific certification criteria covering change agent skills, proper usage of Six Sigma tools, and the achievement of results on two or more projects. ASQ requires only that one or two projects be completed.

* The IQF requires individuals to be sponsored and co-certified by the organization that knows them and their work and can evaluate their effectiveness. ASQ does not require co-certification.

* The IQF exam can be taken and/or retaken at the convenience of the examinee. ASQ exams are only given periodically.

* The IQF exam is computer-based and requires the applicant to actually use Six Sigma tools to analyze data during the exam. ASQ's exam is multiple choice; computers aren't allowed in the room.

 Ultimately, it will be the marketplace that determines whether the IQF or the ASQ certification becomes the standard. Perhaps both will survive. There may actually be room in the world for more than one choice.

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