You, Your Customers and ISO 9000 -- Part One
You, Your Customers and ISO 9000 -- Part Two
A significant variant to the established audit procedure, first advanced in the November 1994 issue of Quality Systems Update, is known as the Supplier Audit Confirmation (SAC) -- a new set of rules that would allow companies to receive ISO 9000 registration based upon a combination of internal self-assessment and third-party audit. This process would work as follows:
- The supplier establishes a quality system that meets the requirements of ISO 9001, 9002 or 9003. The supplier conducts its internal audit and declares its conformance based upon this audit.
- A third-party registrar periodically audits the internal audit, corrective action and management review processes at the system level.
- The registrar issues an ISO certificate upon its successful independent confirmation of the above processes coupled with the supplier’s declaration of conformity.
Critics charge that this proposal would benefit primarily large corporations with mature quality management systems such as Motorola and Hewlett-Packard (which is spearheading this movement). However, a number of the notable companies with ISO 9000 registration are now supporting this more streamlined SAC process. The International Accreditation Forum, a group of ISO accreditation bodies, has rendered no opinion, but is carefully monitoring this alternative procedure.
Living and working in a global economy, standardization issues continue to grow more complex. Standards are absolutely critical to the survival and prosperity of companies marketing in multiple nations. By becoming an important criteria in selecting suppliers, ISO standards have changed the complexion of world markets in the last few years. Companies in every industry and of every size are realizing that they will have to be a part of the international standards scene if they are to survive (let alone thrive). There is a growing understanding that "either you help make the standards or play the game by your competitor’s rules." Businesses large and small are electing to become proactively involved in standards development and implementation.
"As a medium-size company, we simply had to get involved in the process of trying to influence the writing of standards, and of understanding what the issues really are. ... if you are not involved in standards or standards-setting, you will be left outside and the competition will run away with your business."
J. Hans Kluge, Chairman
Automatic Switch Company
Today, with more that 80 percent of major US corporations encouraging their own suppliers to achieve registration and, therefore, tending to favor the supplier already registered, ISO 9000 may be emerging as simply an unavoidable cost of doing business. Introduced affirmatively, the immediate and measurable profit improvements attributable to ISO 9000 most often outweigh significantly the not-inconsequential costs of implementation. It is no longer a fad or primarily a marketing gimmick; ISO 9000 is a fundamental component of intelligent management.
In response to a number of inquiries, it is noted that ISO is not an acronym, conforming neither with the organization’s French, English or Russian appellations. "ISO" is a word, derived from the Greek isos, meaning "equal," which is the root of the prefix "iso-" occurring in a host of terms; e.g., "isometric" (of equal measure or dimensions) or "isonomy" (equality of laws, or of people before the law). From "equal" to "standard," the line of reasoning that led to the choice of "ISO" as the name for the organization is transparent. It is also valid in each of the organization’s three official languages.
Further information concerning application procedures for ISO registration can be obtained from:
Accreditation -- Testing and Certification
American National Standards Institute
655 15th Street, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20005-5794
Maureen A. Breitenberg
National Center for Standards and Certification Information (NCSCI)
National Institute of Standards and Technology
US Department of Commerce Building 820 - Room 164
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-0001
ISO/IEC Information Centre
ISO Central Secretariat
1, rue de Varembé
Case postale 56
CH-1211 Genève 20
+ 41 22 749 01 11
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