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...An ISO 9000-certified company also has a competitive edge because they
advertise their certified status to customers and potential clients. This is
more valuable in some industries than others....
ISO-9000 is just one of many ISO quality certifications. These
certifications took on importance in the 90's when the european market
started requiring hardware and software manufacturers to be certified. If
you worked with European governments you really needed certification. If
you wanted to work with governments then you started the certification
process just to get considered, etc. Thus, a new market was created for
consultants. As a consultant myself, I understand that we often will try and
create a market for ourselved (i.e., you need better documentation, you need
to be online, you need a better web presence, etc.). ISO-9000 consultants
did quite well in the 90's. I have no idea whether they are doing well now
or whether their initial market was really most of the full ISO market.
As to documenting a crap process, yes ISO-9000 can do that. However, if you
start people thinking about improving processes and actually documenting
them, then I believe that eventually people start changing. It is not an
easy road to change processes without changing personel. Its hard to teach
old dogs new tricks. ISO certification does not teach you anything. It does
make you examine your process enough to write it down.
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