ISO 9000

Subject: ISO 9000
From: Don Smith <dsmith -at- ACCESSBEYOND -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 1996 09:24:49 EST

Hi Elaine -

I have been "reading the mail" about your question regarding ISO 9000
and I thought I would give you my 2 cents worth.

At the company I work (Access Beyond), we became ISO 9000 certified
about two years or more ago. (Now ISO 9001.) This is a method which
the whole company goes through together. I guess to boil everything
down, the following thoughts are probably the basic information as to
"what it is".

The idea is that ISO 9000 is a plan to *try* and improve the Quality
Assurance of a manufacturers operating methods and of course their
product(s). To be "ISO 9000 compliant" means basically that a company
has a way to handle manufacturing of a product, operation of their
business and handle problems that come up in an orderly, predicable
way.

For example: In the Publications Department we were permitted to use
whatever methods we wanted (in good practice of course)to perform
checks on the quality of our publication effort, but we had to produce
forms (and/or method(s)) for making the checks. An example of this is
the process that we use for releasing a document to the printer. There
are a number of steps and sign-offs as the document gets through the
release process. ISO 9000 did *not* tell us what to do to release a
document, rather we tell them the process we go through to release the
document and show a form which is used to provide internal "proof" to
us that the document meets *our* standard before it is released.

ISO 9000 does not tell you "how", instead the company states to ISO
9000 people how they have decided to check the quality of the
operations in each department and process of the company and provide
identifiable methods for maintaining control over these methods that
are used. Each department comes up with its own method of assuring
quality. It designs its own forms and methods.

This is a pretty crude explanation, but maybe it will be of help to
you. A company becomes "compliant" when all departments have a
reproducible, identifiable, workable quality method for each
department of their company which suits the *company*, and is deemed
satisfactory by the people who certify ISO 9000.

Don Smith
Senior Technical Writer


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