ISO 9000 Research Paper
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Quality for Management Paper on ISO-9000
One should start by saying that the USA just like many countries around the world historically attempted to improve the use of resources. Each individual country started to create its own set of standards that would assure that in the long run the competitiveness of industries increases.
Speaking about ISO 9000, one should understand that this quality standard is very popular around the world and actually becomes one of the most important standards. ISO 9000 helps the companies to control quality, save money and meet the customers’ expectations. ISO 9000 was developed by the International Organization for Standardization located in Switzerland. I should add here that ISO 9000 comprises several standards: ISO 9000: 2000, ISO 9001: 2000, and ISO 9004: 2000. All standards expect for ISO 9000: 2001 present guidelines, while ISO 9000: 2001 presents a set of standards (DeVAux 142).
ISO 9000 can be applied to all types of companies and organizations regardless of size and nature of activity. ISO 9000 can be applied to manufacturing and service oriented companies.
Just like six sigma, ISO 9000 allows the companies to achieve the following primary goals:
1. Boost productivity and efficiency.
2. Achieve greater market share by improving customer satisfaction.
3. Improve communication and morale throughout the company (Tricker, 204).
4. Minimize costs and expenses
ISO 9000 allows the companies to positively impact the following parties:
ISO 9000 can be applied to the following corporate areas to achieve the greatest results:
1. Consumer-related processes.
2. Product design, research and development.
3. Operations management.
4. Monitoring and control of corporate activities.
It should be noted that ISO 9000 allows the companies to engage in factual decision making process, i.e. the decisions based solely on available data and information rather than on some subjective reasoning. The companies that use ISO 9000 are capable of reviewing, challenging the existing options and decisions. The information under the ISO 9000 is made easily available to those who need it within the organization.
Speaking about the ways ISO 9000 works, one should understand that just like any quality standard it comes with the need to develop a more sophisticated quality management system. ISO 9000 possesses a list of various requirements (guidelines are also advisable) that contribute to corporate success after they are met. Internal Audit of a company assures that the ISO 9000 standards are properly met and the company is transformed for success. Then, the ISO 9000 audit would take place and only then the company besides being reading to benefit from the ISO 9000 standards would be able to announce that it confirms to the ISO 9000 standards. The consumers would understand that the company had undergone systemic and international orientation and certainly among those that care about the market they serve.
Originally the ISO 9000 was created by the British Standards Institute for the International Organization for Standardization and was labeled as BS 5750. One should remember that during the WWII period the British Empire had serious problems with ammo and especially bombs that would go off in factories and injure or kill workers. To remedy the situation the British ministry of defense would provide inspectors to oversee the production processes. For the company willing to produce military products it had to provide the government with the detailed procedure for making the product and have the ministry of defense examine the procedure to assure that the plant workers did everything according to the procedure.
As the manufacturing and industrialization improved, the British government required other companies and especially those dealing with the nuclear and power generators to adhere to certain standards. As science advanced and technology developed to back up scientific innovations, one had to regulate manufacturing to assure uniform quality of production. The other need was that the managers oftentimes would base their decisions solely on the reports and failed to notice what happened in reality on the factory floor (Hallstrom, 33).
In early 1970s, The British Standards institute would develop formal standards for quality improvement and assurance and labeled it BS 9000. This standard was developed primarily for the electronics industry, yet in 1974, the institutive would create BS 5179 that would provide quality assurance guidelines for other industries. The same institute developed the procedure that switched the nuisance of checking quality from consumers to independent third-party inspectors. In 1979, the British Standards Institute would organize a formal meeting that would provide a nation-wide quality standard labeled BS 5750 and ultimately turned into ISO 9000. This standard was voluntarily adopted by virtually every industry and became a universal British quality standard. The reason why BS 5750 was created was to show the consumer that industrial production and thus the final goods were done with integrity and quality in mind.
The ISO 9000 had evolved over time and experienced certain revisions and changes as illustrated below:
1. Original ISO 9000 as defined in 1987 was concerned primarily with quality control via a procedure of retroactive checking and proper corrective actions taken by companies. The need for quality control was lobbied by the British Department of Defense that wanted to assure high standards for military product in the long-run. One should understand that the ISO9000 was greatly influence by existing US standards that were superior to British standards. The Brits attempted to develop a standard that would fit well the sophisticated manufacturing processes in all industries.
2. In 1994, the ISO 9000 standard would focus on quality assurance rather than only on quality control and engaged in routine procedure to check compliance between the factory operation and documented procedures. Prior to 1994, the British companies oftentimes would conduct practices somewhat different from what was documented or planned. Although ISO brought some bureaucracy it certainly added more discipline and as a result quality to the companies in virtually all industries (Hoyle, 87).
3. In 2000, the ISO 9000 standard experienced another modification as the concept of process effectiveness was introduced. The companies engaged in Process performance metrics and bureaucracy reduction processes. The companies stopped documenting every single manufacturing routine, yet rather attempted to develop a new, more efficient and effective process that would work well for a given company or plant. The concept of continuous process improvement became a part of ISO 9000 starting from 2000.
Speaking about certification, one needs to understand that International Standards Organization (ISO) does not certify any company or organization. Still it supervises local ISO inspectors and authorizes them to certify companies by providing a scrupulous audit should a company apply for ISO 9000 compliance certification. Both, the ISO and its representatives charge companies fees for their services, yet companies willingly agree to pass certifications and get an objective opinion of what is right or wrong with a company.
When ISO inspectors while making an audit observe no major problems it would then certify each site they audited. Should there be some minor problems, the company still can get certified if it provided the ISO inspectors with the exhaustive improvement plan explaining how the minor problems are to be resolved and at what time. It should be added here that the ISO certificate needs to be reviewed every 3 years.
When engaging in certification process the company is then to experience two major audits:
1. External body certification.
2. Internal staff certification.
In both types of audits the aim is to reach a continuous process of corporate assessment and development of profound understanding of corporate business and production practices. ISO believes that it is much better to deploy internal auditors in companies other than those that employ them, in order to assure a certain degree of independence in their judgment and decision.
The ISO 9000 compliance audit strives to find out the following things as shown below:
1. The business the company does.
2. The existing and planned procedures together with real-life business practices.
3. The corporate compliance with the rules and standards as required by ISO 9000 for various industries.
The ISO 9000: 2000 obliges an auditor besides providing information on the three questions depicted earlier to provide a personal value judgment on what is good and bad about the company and thus avoid formalism that is certainly a part of any assessment procedure.
Since ISO 9000 is now an international quality standard that works for different industries around the globe, certain modification and interpretations are inherent in ISO 9000. Please refer to some industry specifics of ISO 9000 (Saunders 271):
1. TICK-IT. This part of the ISO 9000 is created primarily for the information technology industry and software development business for companies operating in Great Britain.
2. AS 9000. This part of ISO 9000 is created to cater the needs of the aerospace industry and was developed to improve processes for all major aerospace companies in great Britain and Europe. After some new amendments the AS 9000 is at present called AS 9100.
3. QS 9000. This part of ISO 9000 is created for the Automobile industry and currently is deployed by major auto players like Ford, Chrysler, BMW, General Motors or Volkswagen. QS 9000 comprises special techniques called FMEA and APQP.
4. ISP/TS 16949: 2002. This part of ISO 9000 is an innovative strategy that is likely to replace QS 9000 for the automobile industry and was created specially for the European and American auto producers. ISP/TS places great emphasis on process approach and innovation than QS 9000 (Anton, 12).
Despite the fact that ISO 9000 provided many benefits to companies and industries it also has its shortcomings that are going to be addressed here.
First of all BS 5750 was created to show that the British production was controlled by some central authority. The standard did not address process improvement, rather it possibly could have blocked useful changes since consumer demand and technology are ever-changing. One can even think that ISO 9000 ritualizes the processes that take place within organization and thus possibly could create some rigidity that certainly is bad for the companies. Another thing that one should address here is that ISO 9000 does in no way affect bad management that some companies still possess at their disposal. Some manager still rely solely on the paper reports and hardly know what actually takes place within organizations. ISO 9000 by requesting improvement of standards and paperwork does not remove bad management and possibly could enforce it. The last but not least is the fact that many companies attempt to register for the ISO 9000 only because they are forced by the competition and ISO 9000 provides the customers with some extra degree of assurance that the company they buy goods from is of high quality.
One should also note that although ISO 9000 appears to be a great quality standard for many companies it is not the sole standard on the market. Many companies engage in Six Sigma manufacturing, or prepare for the Balrige National Quality Award. Toyota company for instance developed its own Toyota Production System that appears to provide the company with the needed degree of quality control and improvement. The ISO 14000 is the standard developed to guarantee that the products are created with the least possible degree of environmental ramifications. That standard speaks about the ways products are designed rather than to how they are produced (as applicable to ISO 9000).
In conclusion, I would like to note that ISO 9000 is an outstanding standard that despite its shortcomings improves not only individual companies, but also industries and countries that promote ISO 9000. ISO 9000 was originally developed to by the British government as an attempt to control production and manufacturing in Great Britain to assure that the British military gets the products of the right quality. With time, as competition grew it became apparent that someone else besides consumer needs to check the quality of goods that are sold on the market. International Standardization Organization took that role and through its local representatives and a standardized ISO 9000 compliance procedure attempted to assess how companies produce goods prior to placing them on the market. ISO 9000 provided many assessment and checking mechanisms for quality control and continuous improvement that is believed to benefit a given company in the long run and thus benefit individual consumers.
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