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  Quality Standards Outlook           by Jim Mroz

A Riveting Tale of Nonconformances

Call them workbooks or brochures, but these
guides identify changes to ISO 9000 and QS-9000.

I don’t know many people who like change. Even when it offers real benefits and eases life’s challenges, change often makes sticking to the familiar seem like a good idea. After all, change requires us to face the unknown. We’re afraid of making mistakes while learning a new way of doing things.

This is why how-to books are so popular. An expert explains how to do something new, making it seem familiar and helping readers avoid mistakes. Whether these books are called workbooks or brochures, they  identify changes and tell us how to make them correctly. Fortunately, with changes to the quality system standards on the way, there also are or will be “how-to” books available to help companies understand them.

The future of ISO 9001 and QS-9000 has begun to emerge. On March 13, the QS-9000 Task Force released the third edition of QS-9000. January 1, 1999, is the deadline for compliance with and registration to the third edition for all Tier 1 suppliers to the Big Three. In addition, the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ISO/TC 176, the group responsible for the ISO 9000 series, met in late March to review working drafts of ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 9004:2000, and to consider the United States’ position on their future development.

While it’s premature to discuss ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 9004:2000 (look for significant coverage after their approval as committee drafts, expected in July or thereafter), the working drafts do indicate that ISO 9001:2000’s structure will significantly change, and modifications will occur to its contents. These content changes will make the requirements easier to understand in some cases, more clearly presented in many cases and stronger overall in providing a baseline system for an effective quality management system.

QS-9000’s third edition, which was mailed to Tier 1 suppliers in early April and became available from AIAG April 15, includes changes similar to those proposed in the ISO 9001 working draft. The changes make QS-9000:

  Easier to understand and use, thereby improving results. The expanded glossary helps users understand terminology. Consolidating Section II: Sector-Specific Requirements into the 20 ISO 9001 clauses in Section I link the requirements more effectively. Incorporating the IASG Sanctioned QS-9000 Interpretations into QS-9000 eliminates redundancy and the need for an extra manual. Clarifying some notes and sector-specific requirements (e.g., PPAP updates) makes QS-9000 easier to read.

  Stronger in pursuit of customer satisfaction. Additional requirements stress obtaining and using data (i.e., measurements) more effectively. Additions for the cost of quality require companies to examine what they spend to ensure quality of processes and fix nonconforming product. Enhanced customer voice requirements reinforce the importance of customer feedback.


The QS-9000 Task Force acknowledges that many additions stem from European automotive standards, particularly VDA 6.1, the German standard based on ISO 9004-1:1994. These additions will increase efforts to harmonize automotive quality requirements worldwide -- and encourage suppliers’ pursuits of continuous improvement.

To alleviate resistance to these changes, the task force also has released the QS-9000 Third Edition Workbook to help identify third-edition changes for the more than 5,000 QS-9000-registered companies worldwide. The workbook consists of two columns: The left contains the second edition of QS-9000, with text deletions indicated by strikeouts; the right includes only the additions in the third edition.

“Almost every company will want and need the workbook as they walk through the changes in the third edition, which will help them identify all the changes,” says Tripp Martin, who is the ASQ Automotive Division liaison to the QS-9000 Task Force. In fact, the task force used the workbook to track changes during the revision process and will use it to walk through the changes at the QS-9000 roll-out workshops on May 20 in Novi, Michigan. Thus, though it isn’t really a how-to book, the workbook will make the changes easier to find and implement. It can be obtained by calling the AIAG at (248) 358-3570.

Likewise, TC 176 plans to release ISO Brochure on Selection and Use of the Year 2000 Family of ISO 9000 Standards when ISO 9001:2000 and the others are approved and released. The TC 176 Working Group currently drafting ISO 9001 and ISO 9004 is sensitive to registered companies’ needs. It’s likely, then, that this brochure will prove useful to companies with ISO 9001/2/3-based quality systems as they adjust to ISO 9001:2000.

Change is always a challenge, but in the case of upcoming revisions to requirements and standards, these new “how-to” books should make the process easier.


About the author

Jim Mroz is senior editor of The Informed Outlook, a twice-monthly newsletter providing information on ISO 9000, QS-9000 and ISO 14000, published by INFORM (International Forum for Management Systems Inc.), 15913 Edgewood Drive, Montclair, VA 22026; telephone (703) 680-1436, fax (703) 680-1356, e-mail


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