Iso9000

Discussion in 'OT (OFF Topic) Forums' started by markjay, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. markjay

    markjay MB Club Veteran

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    In 2001 we opted for ISO9001 accreditation for our business.

    A very helpful chap from a respected auditing firm helped us set-up our quality manual and procedures. Once a year someone from said firm would show up for a scheduled inspection, which I am glad to say we have always past. In 2008 we became the proud owners of the most recent ISO9001:2008 certification.

    The main reason for us seeking ISO9001 accreditation in the first place was to improve the way we deliver our services, and that has been successfully achieved.

    But also, at the time it was said that in future non-ISO9000/ISO9001 contractors would not be able to provide goods and services to ISO9000/ISO9001 accredited companies, meaning that large section of the corporate and public sector market will be closed to us.

    Wikipedia say the following: '...a number of studies have identified significant financial benefits for organizations certified to ISO 9001, with a 2011 survey from the British Assessment Bureau showing 44% of their certified clients had won new business'.

    However, over the past ten years my own experience was that ISO9000/ISO9001 have been marginalised. None of our current clients ever asked ask about it, i.e. they do not seem to be interested in whether we have it or not (in fact, many of them are not even certified themselves, though the bigger ones naturally are). Some of the tenders we bid for did ask about ISO9000/ISO9001, but none specified it as a mandatory requirement.

    On balance, I am somewhat appointed that we went into the expense of securing this accreditation, while the benefits somehow failed to materialise. It should have bought us a commercial advantage over our competitors who are not certified, but this does not seem to be the case.

    Just to clarify, I am very happy with the quality procedures we implemented, and they work well for us - it is the cost of the external auditing (required for the official certification) which does not seem to provide any return.

    I am now considering to stop the external auditing, and drop the ISO9001:2008 logo. We will keep applying the same quality procedures, but it seems that there is no commercial sense in paying for the official accreditation and logo.

    I was just wondering what others' experiences were? Is it just our line of business that is thus affected? Are you in a market where your customers prefer - or even demand - ISO9000/ISO9001 certification?
     
  2. Meldrew2

    Meldrew2 MB Enthusiast

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    IMHO just another paper exercise to keep people in jobs filling out forms that would be better left as trees.

    Some of the worst service I have had was from national firms boasting ISO 9000/9001.




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  3. davidjpowell

    davidjpowell MB Enthusiast

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    "Say what you do, and then do what you say". The mind shudders back to university.

    Have worked for accredited and non-accredited firms over the years, and have never ever been asked. I suppose its possible it might affect something at tender stage - but not as likely as the price...

    IIRC because I passed a couple of modules at Uni and gained an RICS accredited degree, I was eligible to join some institute as an assessor. It's the only qualification that has never gone near my CV let alone mentioned to any employer who might be tempted....
     
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  4. Igurisu

    Igurisu Active Member

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    I work in the automotive industry and we have ISO90001, ISO14001 and TS16949. We are a tier 1 supplier supplying directly into many car companies in Europe and as tier 2 supply many other large autmotive companies.

    None of the car makers have the ISO or TS accreditations. The carmakers used to demand all suppliers had ISO9001 and TS16949 as a pre-condition to supply. This is no longer the case and although we still maintain our own standards (group policy), we don't need to do so. Our customers have their own standards and procedures which we must meet regardless of whether we are certified or not. Going back 8-10 years when gaining accreditation was everything, a lot of companies sprung up offering audits/accreditations, many of which weren't worth the paper they were written on (not suggesting this is your situation). What soon became apparent was that bad suppliers would still be bad suppliers, with or without accreditations, many companies just jump through hoops to tick the boxes for the audits then go back to their usual culture.

    Our certifying company that we use have told us many companies are just not bothering with renewals, in these difficlt times it is a cost that can be cut. Once you are established with a good customer base then your past business, service etc. speak much louder than the certificates on the wall in reception. If its not a mandatory requirement from your customers then maybe just discuss informally with a small group of your most important clients? Ultimately they would benefit from decreased costs to them if you are keeping your own costs down while maintaining the same level of service (or you could increase your bottom line a little bit) :)
     
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  5. Mike Walker

    Mike Walker MB Enthusiast

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    As a Construction Company we operate under IS0 9001 and individual Projects are audited annually by an external auditor who could send you insane quite quickly.

    In my experience some discrepancies are picked up on each visit but none are ever serious enough to get the Red Flag raised. Bearing in mind the number of processes, procedures and documents we deal with, the extremely tight programmes we work to and the number of staff we have I am surprised that we do not have more issues.

    I also do wonder whether our Clients really look at what we are doing or are just happy to see the accreditation certificate.

    We are also accredited to ISO /IEC 27001:2005 for Information SDecurity Management too -- aaagh!
     
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  6. WDB124066

    WDB124066 MB Enthusiast

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    It's there for two reasons only, to meet customer specs (or requirements) and/or to meet statutory requirements, anything else and you are losing focus.

    If you don't need to do either then you are right to question it. The Certification Bodies are only there to make money, I worked for one for six months and quit because the mantra was get the customer signed up, certify them, then work with them to get them to comply. Similar to the drug dealer approach I thought.

    I then switched focus and started working in a heavily regulated environment and a military environment, but, directly at the coal face where I could see and influence quality. This is where ISO 9000 had its origins and what it was truly meant for.

    IMHO the 2008 edition was/is a bit of a shocker, I far prefer the 1994 edition where things are much more clear cut.

    My job is now to make sure that custom one off items are built properly. Accreditation on its own gives me little confidence; you soon get to know who the good companies are about half an hour after you walk through the door, after reading through any of their documents or by their reputation.

    If you do maintain Certification always ask how is this thing that we are doing meeting a specific customer requirement or a statutory requirement.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2011
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  7. janner

    janner MB Enthusiast

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    Excellent! :thumb:
     
  8. 312 Sprinter

    312 Sprinter Active Member

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    I was involved in getting accreditation for a company I worked for. I lost interest in the whole thing when I realised it has little or nothing to do with quality and everything to do with consistency. Do something really badly in a consistent manner and you can gain accreditation. It's a complete waste of time, the only justification I can think of for having it is if it is required to retain a major customer.
     
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  9. W210 Fan

    W210 Fan MB Enthusiast

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    yes but it was tracablely bad!

    I have worked with ISO9000 companies and when I went self employed I considered getting it, 4 years in and nobody has asked yet or refused me work so I would like to think that I must be a good enough supplier, without thinking about it im probably putting the systems and procedures in place through my normal working practice that I have picked up from working with the ISO9000 companies,

    im glad other people think that it seems to be a paperwork exercise and is a money making scheme for the people who help you through it, that`ll be why I didnt bother then!
     
  10. clever dicky

    clever dicky Active Member

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    My last employer a Uni of all places, was trying to get it (now). No one else who actually works there could see the point. But without question it was for the logo. Maybe ok in the late 90s when it was all the rage, but I think that I like most people feel its far more than having a logo that matters.

    By the way W210 Fan, Ive just seen your ad in the classifieds and recognised the back drop straight away. I have a place near you :)
     
  11. Red C220

    Red C220 MB Enthusiast

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    I always got he feeling it was the sort of thing you needed if you wanted to deal with government contracts.

    In any other line of work it seems to be entirely irrelevant.

    I know when I looked into supplying product for the Olympics it was a requirement.
     
  12. clever dicky

    clever dicky Active Member

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    Cool, I hope it was plenty of Gold medals :thumb:
     
  13. renault12ts

    renault12ts MB Club Veteran

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    In the early 90s the bank I worked for went for BS5750, the predecessor to ISO90001. It was nonsense then and remains so today.
     
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  14. OP
    OP
    markjay

    markjay MB Club Veteran

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    I believe that the original idea was that ISO900 companies can only work with ISO9000 suppliers... or rather the other way around, i.e. in order to be ISO9000 compliant all your suppliers need to be ISO9000 compliant as well.

    On the fact of it, it seem to make sense... it does not matter how good your own procedures are, if you work with unreliable suppliers who let you down. So a customer granting a contract to an ISO9000 company, would want to know that they can deliver by ensuring that they only work with accredited suppliers themselves and won't come back half-way trough the contract with 'our suppliers let us down...'

    But the concept collapsed very quickly, because tier-1 contractors can do this, but by the time it gets to tier-3 and tier-4 we are talking about very small companies... who in turn will naturally work with small suppliers who are not ISO9000 complaint, and the entire chain collapses.

    So this was a good idea but only if everyone became ISO9000 complaint overnight - which is clearly not possible...

    The result is, that I am not aware of any public sector contract where ISO9000 was a mandatory requirement. I am not saying it never happened, it mat have very well been the case in some contracts - I do not know, but if I haven't encounters any then they must be few and far between...

    Thank you all for your helpful comments - I sent a letter to our ISO9000 auditors last week thanking them for the services provided over the past ten years etc etc.

    As clever dicky said... It would seem that it was the thing to have in the 1990', but it probably went the same way as 'Artificial Intelligence' (you haven't heard that one recently, have you?), TQM, and the Dodo bird....
     
  15. Red C220

    Red C220 MB Enthusiast

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    Nothing that glamorous!

    Construction stuff.
     
  16. janner

    janner MB Enthusiast

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    Don't worry the pen pushers will find another ruse to keep themselves employed. 6 Sigma was all the rage a few years ago (just a rebranded TQM with more graphs). I think most companies have seen the light these days.
     
  17. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

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    Having implemented ISO9000 twice and worked under the umbrella of it for 15 years thereafter, then the company reverted to Six-sigma, I can honestly say it's all cobblers and no-one is interested.

    As long as a company has sound procedures and records it will be accepted.
     
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  18. WDB124066

    WDB124066 MB Enthusiast

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    I certainly would NOT say it's nonsense, more the people who (try and) practice it, and Companies implementation of it is often nonsense. Too many dribblers in the system will ruin it. By in-large those individuals tasked with promulgating it have ended up there because they are a little different to the norm - shall we say. They don't get the advice and guidance from the companies true leaders, suddenly they get a rush of blood to the head and next minute we are doing all sorts of stuff (under the guise of ISO 9000) that we really do not need to be doing.

    Yet the ISO 9000 logic is very sound indeed, it is the implementation that is often largely nonsense due to people not really knowing what they are doing and pissing everyone off in the process.

    You really can't argue with, we've had a FU, now how do we fix it, and what do we do to make sure it doesn't happen again. Or, do our staff know what they are doing, do they need a little training. Or, why are we working off old drawings. Or, why are we working with crap raw materials, hasn't someone checked this was ok to use before now, and the biggie, why on Gods earth did we send that crap out the door, who's going to pay to fix that!

    All good stuff of course, but as soon as you mention ISO 9000 those dribblers immediately spring to mind - don't they. Oh God the horror of having to put up with nonsensical implementation, and; that silly man who comes here every six months that costs us a fortune and really does not understand our business, or our risk/reward mechanism.

    If you are setting up or growing a Q system you need an industry specific expert who truly knows most facets of the industry - NOT an outcast!!!

    I have come across some very good practitioners, usually not in the first world either by the way, Bredero Shaw on Batam Island in Indonesia was one company that truly surprised with their understanding & implementation, I guess they understand that people are quite rightly concerned about leaking gas mains under their cities!!! There are a few others.....
     
  19. WDB124066

    WDB124066 MB Enthusiast

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    Measuring, recording, anaylising and changing the way you do things because of the results is certainly not cobblers - if done properly. The Japs built a nation on this principle, everything is measured and anaylised. How big was the earthquake, how big & what direction will the tsunami be expected to travel. Shall we drill into the fault to see if we can learn anything, very cleaver people the Japs, and the Germans for that matter!!
     
  20. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

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    I didn't say that good practice was cobblers, just he use of ISO9000 and other benchmarks in companies.
     
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