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Quality Professionals
Require Change of Focus

Reading the "Letters" in the August 1997 issue of Quality Digest, I was somewhat unsettled by some of the more pessimistic comments on the future of quality professionals or managers, yet in agreement with most of the other comments.

I feel the quality professional's role does need to undergo changes in focus as the understanding and application of quality changes at the organization they work for. Further, the quality professionals' role within an organization must also undergo continuous improvement, just as the quality systems they are involved with must undergo continuous improvement. Quality professionals must be flexible individuals who can learn new roles and approaches to new or repeating circumstances.

I strongly agree with one letter that said quality professionals must have "the courage and initiative of Deming, along with his tenacity of purpose." This Deming level of risk-taking has worked well for me over the years.

However, just as I occasionally begin to think that I have worked myself out of a job, the old organizational "two steps forward, one step back" takes place. At that point, quality professionals must not only look at the organization to see what might need to be improved or corrected, but also must do the same for their role within the organization.

 -- Scott D. Siders
Illinois EPA
Springfield, Illinois

Realistic Projections for ISO 9000 Costs

I'd like to make ISO 9000 implementation as attractive as possible for my small-business clients, too, but I must take exception with the authors of "ISO 9000 for Small Companies" in their cavalier treatment of ISO 9000 costs. While pooh-poohing the $50K figure [for registration costs], the authors did not venture figures of their own. I'd be pretty popular as a consultant if I could help a small company reach ISO 9000 certification for less than $50K ... that is, until the actual bills started to come due.

On page 10 in the same issue, a "News Digest" story spoke of average QS-9000 costs that I found to be believable -- not only for QS-9000 but for ISO 9000 as well:

  If a company has an informed infrastructure to begin with that can save on consulting costs, then the $26K figure for consulting/training may be high. But, if there is no such infrastructure, either the consulting costs will be high or the internal costs (see below) to set up a compliant quality system will be high.

  "Soft documentation" is optional, and any electronic documentation system can -- perhaps should -- start with a paper system to work out the kinks, thus saving the $5K for software.

 The registrar's costs may be in the $12K-$14K area.

But what about that gray area for preparation? That's the internal costs that are so difficult to measure, and they probably won't be less than the $36K suggested (I'm more inclined to lean toward a formula of internal costs equaling about three times the external costs).

What about hardware to support the software? For the documentation to be accessible to everyone whose job affects quality, the new workstations probably will have to be set up to service the rank-and-file. How much will just two workstations cost? $8K would be conservative.

So, to add it up for a minimalistic effort to implement ISO 9000 into a small company: Using the Holtz Model for a paper-documented system, $38K (external costs of $13K + $25K) + $114K (internal costs estimated at three times external) = $152K. To say that all costs to implement can be held to less than $50K is not only further from the truth but irresponsible.

We owe it to ISO 9000 seekers to be realistic in our cost projections. This ISO stuff is not supposed to be easy, or quick, or cheap. It's supposed to be a sound business strategy that has a cost -- and a payback.

 -- John Holtz
Holtz Consulting
Rochester, New York

In the June 1997 Quality Digest, we listed the telephone number of Quality Publishing incorrectly on page 38. The correct number to call to order The Complete Guide to the CQE and other Quality Publishing products is (800) 628-0432.


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