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Forgetting the Vision of Quality

I have just completed reading "Quality Leaders Predict the Future" [Quality Digest, April 1997] and thought it necessary to respond to their overwhelming cynicism regarding ISO 9000.

The basic theme of their comments on ISO 9000 was that it is a delusion, that it's an unfortunate emphasis, that it has created a whole new business of nonvalue-added activities, and that it's a fad.

What have these "quality leaders" done? Have they forgotten what the scope of the standard states? Have they forgotten the vision of quality?

They may feel this way about ISO 9000 because people like themselves, the so-called "quality leaders," have not done a good job in leading and teaching the principle concepts of the standard. Their own statements about what today's management has or has not seen from the ISO movement is evidence of their failure.

I believe they all need to go back and study the scope of ISO 9000 and relearn its intent. Then maybe they will again start leading a quality movement with passion.

Gary O. Feres
Huntsville, Alabama

The Golden Thread

Quality leaders predict the future? You must be kidding. I predict that people who understand money will continue to run business and that quality professionals will continue to work for them. The golden thread running through all quality management discussions concerns some primordial conflict of interest between the quality profession and management.

 Instead of replacing quality assurance with systems assurance, as H. James Harrington predicts, the quality profession should finally get in bed with the executive's most basic obligation to investors and invent a "return-on-working capital-assurance organization." It is in fact a matter of moral principal to executives. Nothing better illustrates the quality profession's dilemma in this area than the self-serving ISO 9000 movement.

Mark Scovill
Quality Systems
Crystal Semiconductor Corp.

The Future

I read with interest the seven quality leaders' predictions of the future. Having personal association with four of the seven, I think their statements express their philosophy. Regarding Philip Crosby's "little tolerance for ISO 9000," I do agree that quality management and quality control are separate parts, but they are part of the whole, and it takes both.

Robert Peach is absolutely correct, the ISO 9000 (or any) standard should be approached as a foundation, not as the ultimate. If a company stops with ISO 9000, it is nowhere near getting the return on investment the foundation can support. Mr. Hertz's prediction of moving away from quality as a discipline to a way of doing business I see as a must.

Standards merely give empowered people a basis of reference for improvement. Mr. Harrington's prediction that the quality assurance organizations will disappear must happen to progress. In the three plants I have served (and led to ISO 9001 certification) as quality director and management representative, I ignored the quality manual and implemented a quality system plan. Mr. Pyzdek's call for a new quality professional and the elimination of procedures is a desirable goal, but in most cases would be like a ship without a steering mechanism.

Elliot S. Mickelson
West Valley City, Utah

Counting the Cost

I read with interest Paul Scicchitano's February column. The point is well made that there is a middle ground between no certification and a third-party assessment of the full quality management system.

The problem that he did not address, and the reason why I, as a current employee of a registrar and a future consumer of assessment services, cannot support this initiative is simple: How is the final consumer to know the difference between someone who has not been through the full assessment and someone who has had their internal audit and review system examined?

If I, as a consumer, want the confidence that a third party endorses the quality management system of a potential supplier, then I do not want the confusion of another tier of recognition. Until the certification and accreditation industry can agree both on an acceptable process and an alternative form of recognition for supplier audit confirmation, then I think exhortation to readers to shop around for registrars until they find someone able to supply a commodity at lowest cost is misguided.

Paul Simpson
BSI Quality Assurance

Quality Curmudgeon

I read your two quality curmudgeon editorials with great interest, and I would like to offer some comments.

As customers, we get the service we deserve. I feel I deserve quality service, and I insist on getting it, and if I do not get it, then I do something about it.

But most people are quite content to shrug their shoulders and accept it rather than do something about it.

In the United States in particular, people have let it be known that they prefer lower prices to higher quality. It is as simple as that. People have traded their right to quality service for cheaper prices that are too low to assure an acceptable quality level.

Roger Cyr


In our May ISO 9000 Registrar Directory, we published incorrect data for OMNEX-AQSR. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused for OMNEX-AQSR or their customers. The following information is correct:


  • 3025 Boardwalk Drive, Suite 190
  • Ann Arbor, MI  48108
  • Contact: Barbara Bower
  • Ph. 313-913-8055
  • Fax 313-913-8152
  • OMNEX-AQSR (accredited by ANSI-RAB) was founded to perform third-party certification of quality management systems. OMNEX-AQSR specializes in the automotive industry (QS-9000) and is dedicated to providing systems audits of the highest quality.


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