Six Sigma
Last Word

Donate to Disaster Relief

Red Cross
Salavation Army


Last Word
Denise E. Robitaille

The Human Body as a Quality System

ISO 9001:1994's 20 elements provide a whimsical roadmap to the human body.

Because I'm an auditor, I thought it would be fun to whimsically assess one's corporeal trappings within the scope of a quality standard. This process serves as a chiding reminder that many of our greatest inventions are merely pale copies of the natural originals. Consider the millions upon millions of doors riding on hinges and then look to their ancient sire and inspiration: the human knee.

 And so, what follows is the outline of our bodily quality system, with all its interfaces and linkages--as modeled after ISO 9001:1994.


The quality policy

 The quality policy of this body is to successfully maintain itself in such a manner as to be a contributing member and beneficiary of the vast ecosystem of which it is a part. This organism is committed to the maintenance and continual improvement of this body and of its processes.

 Furthermore, this biological entity recognizes its reciprocal role as both a customer of other entities within the ecosystem and, in turn, a supplier to those and other entities.


Applicable ISO 9001:1994 sections

  4.1, Management responsibility. Brain: to assess body's wellness, make choices, and adapt to changing environments and body requirements. Resource requirements: food, exercise and rest. Control of nonconformances: to ensure functioning of immune system

  4.2, Quality system. DNA, diet and schedule

  4.3, Contract review. Internal customers: organs--process to process (for example, esophagus to stomach to small intestine). External: those who rely on us (our products and services) for love, work, support and entertainment

  4.4, Design control. Imagination, acknowledgement of specific requirements, reasoning, and trial and error

  4.5, Document and data control. DNA, every cell and the brain

  4.6, Purchasing. Assess suppliers of goods to be used in quality system. Select food, doctors, groomers, etc. (Example of disqualification of supplier: remove restaurant from list because of MSG use or questionable ingredients)

  4.7, Control of customer-supplied product. Used only in the case of surrogate motherhood

  4.8, Product identification and traceability. DNA

  4.9, Process control. Swallowing, sleeping, running, eliminating, swapping oxygenated air for carbonated air, singing, absorbing nutrients, and perspiring to maintain temperature control

  4.10, Inspection and testing. Internal: self-regulating, constant monitoring by brain and regulating glands. External: thermometers, blood pressure gages, scales, pH strips and numerous devices used in assessing root cause and performing corrective action. May also be used for minor adjustments during preventive maintenance

  4.11, Control of inspection, measuring and test equipment. Internal: self-regulating. The brain is the control standard. When the standard is found to be out of sync, it might require recalibration or adjustment

  4.12, Inspection and test status. Internal: the brain. External: records of monitoring activities

  4.13, Control of nonconforming product. Segregate: surround with white blood cells and antibodies. Identification and disposition: usually repair; rarely replace; only scrap if renewable (like hair and nails) or if part is definitely unusable or a source of danger to the rest of the entity (e.g., gangrenous limb, chronic malignancy). Use as is: occasionally, with concession (e.g., walking with limp)

  4.14, Corrective and preventive action. Corrective: acupuncture, prescription drugs, surgery and Reiki. Preventive: diet and exercise

  4.15, Handling, storage, packaging, preservation and delivery. Proper clothing and housing, and protection from injury or natural elements. No self-abuse. Present yourself promptly and well-prepared where needed or required.

  4.16, Control of quality records. In bones, skin, lines, creases, scars, creaks and dental work

  4.17, Internal quality audits. Annual physical or facsimile thereof

  4.18, Training. Learn how to take care of this body; educate self on life changes (i.e., evolving needs).

  4.19, Servicing. Not applicable

  4.20, Statistical Techniques. Monitoring of processes, as deemed appropriate


About the author

 Denise E. Robitaille is a consultant, writer and trainer. She is also a lead assessor and certified quality auditor. Much of her work involves assisting companies with implementing and maintaining ISO 9001-compliant quality management systems. An international speaker, she has given presentations on a variety of quality issues. E-mail her at drobitaille@qualitydigest.com .

Menu Level Above

This Menu LeveL

Menu Level Below

[Contents] [News] [WebLinks] [Columnists]
[Harrington] [Six Sigma] [Godfrey] [Townsend] [Marash] [Last Word]

Copyright 2001 QCI International. All rights reserved.
Quality Digest can be reached by phone at (530) 893-4095. E-mail:
Click Here

Today's Specials