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Columnist Jack West

Photo:  Jack West

  
   

Many Standards, Few Volunteers

Help shape the ISO 9000 family for future users.

 

 

 

When most people think of ISO standards, they think of ISO 9001. It's safe to say that almost everyone on the planet who's heard about the International Organization for Standardization heard about it because of ISO 9001. But ISO produces standards on many topics. Currently there are approximately 200 ISO technical committees covering diverse topics, such as TC 173 on assistive products for people with disabilities and TC 18 on zinc and zinc alloys.

ISO 9001, "Quality management systems--Requirements" is the responsibility of Technical Committee 176 on quality management and quality assurance, and although it's the best-known ISO standard, it's not the only document produced by that committee. All the TC 176 documents are generally referred to as being "part of the ISO 9000 family," even though most don't use the 900X numbering. The TC 176 documents using the 900X designation (ISO 9000, ISO 9001 and ISO 9004) are usually referred to as the "ISO 9000 series." The ISO 9000 series standards and some of the other standards of the ISO 9000 family have been adopted as American national standards. The table to the right indicates the status of the ISO 9000 family of stand-ards already published as well as those in the development process.

The "implementation and support package" documents listed are developed as needed by the working group responsible for ISO 9001 to help users understand the intentions of the drafters and guide implementation. They're not formal ISO consensus documents like the others but are often helpful to users.

The U.S. Technical Advisory Group to TC 176 is always seeking new members--particularly from industrial and service companies. If you'd like to help with the difficult but rewarding work of standards development, call Jason Knopes of the American Society for Quality at (800) 248-1946.

About the author
John E. (Jack) West is a consultant, business advisor and author, with more than 30 years of experience in a wide variety of industries. He is chair of the U.S. TAG to ISO TC 176 and lead delegate for the United States to the International Organization for Standardization committee responsible for the ISO 9000 family of quality management standards.