RE: Why ISO 9000 really sucks

Subject: RE: Why ISO 9000 really sucks
From: "Chris Anderson" <chris -at- BizManuals -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 6 Aug 2002 14:12:36 -0500

It's easy to blame ISO 9000 for the shortcomings of personnel, management,
processes, quality, and anything that you dislike about your company. In
any company, complainers are a dime-a-dozen. But that is not ISO 9000
fault. A company is a set of processes, documented or not. People execute
those process every day. Certainly ISO 9000 requires some formalities but
that is business. Some have compared a procedures to a recipe and yes that
is what it is. Customers demand consistency to make an informed purchase
decision. If you are a restaurant and you have a different chef each day,
and each chef makes the menu as they see fit, then the menu is changing
every day. Most customers will be put off by that and decide that there is
too much variation in the menu. They will choose to eat somewhere else
where they know what they are getting. That is not a business, that is a
hobby and as such the restaurant will go out of business. It is not good
business to let the employees make the "product" any way they want that day.
Variation in the "product" will drive you out of business.

In business, the "product" is not just the physical good that is shipped.
It encompasses every contact point that the customer touches. Including
your marketing, the sales process, credit, accounting, manufacturing,
management, beliefs, vision, mission, goals, objectives, etc. That means
everything the company does "is" the product. The business is the product
that the customer is purchasing and it is the product the customer demands
consistency from, every day.

Consistency equals quality. That is all anybody really wants. That is all
that ISO 9000 demands. You can make a consistently bad product and ISO 9000
is happy. But you will go out of business. You can make a consistently
good product and ISO 9000 is happy and so are your customers. You will grow
your business. So the real question is not about why ISO 9000 sucks, it is
about what your executive management is doing to produce a consistent
solution that delivers a consistent benefit to a clearly defined set of
customers. Those customers will demonstrate their happiness by paying
increasing amounts of money that in turn, grow your business. If management
is doing that, then ISO 9000 certification is easy and a great way to
advertise your consistency.

But if like in most companies, you are trying to survive, then everyone is
reacting to their everyday problems and nobody has time to look ahead to
what the consistent message is that the company should be delivering to
their customers. The result is shrinking quality, revenues, morale, and
number of employees. But you can do something about it!

Work towards improving consistency in your work first. Good management
looks ahead, plans for the future, defines the "product", and develops
measurable objectives, active job descriptions, clearly defined policies and
procedures, and thereby works toward delivering a consistent "product" to
everyone involved. You can't blame anyone else unless you are doing
everything you can to deliver a consistent "product" in your own work first.
So start the trend, be a leader and deliver consistency. If you deliver a
consistently good "product", then everything else takes care of itself.

Chris Anderson
Fast Prewritten Policy and Procedure Manuals

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RE: Why ISO 9000 really sucks: From: Bob Andrews

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