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ISO9001 Quality Management System Myths


Chris Eden - Quality Matters Limited

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There are loads of myths concerning ISO9001 and most are perpetrated by those who are ignorant of the true facts, nevertheless I hear these repeated as though they were absolute gospel. Here are just some of these:

ISO9001 is a bureaucratic system which requires a piece of paper for everything.

False. The system should work for the organisation and not the other way round. If set up correctly ISO9001 will prove highly beneficial. Paper heavy systems are really out of date.

Dictates how any business must be run.

False. The standard states that all businesses are different and that the standard should be adapted to fit the business and not be prescriptive so that the business has to fit the standard. However the main elements are parts of any good practice system and there is no 'Rocket Science' involved.

Inflexible system.

False. If correctly set up the system will allow for unexpected events and can be as flexible as you need it to be.

Directors only must sign off all released work.

False. It is usual for identified job functions to release work but these do not have to be Directors. Most good systems will allow deputies to release work if the primary release person is unavailable.

Costs a fortune to set up and run.

False. The actual assessment and certification fees vary between certification bodies and of course the size of your company but these can be very reasonable. As far as setting up your system, you could do it yourself. It could be more effective in the longer term to employ the services of a qualified consultant who will utilise best practice.

Requires huge quality manuals.

False. The days when manuals filled a bookcase and were almost too heavy to lift are long gone.

Requires procedures for everything.

False. The standard specifies only six mandatory procedures; Documents control, control of records, internal audit, Control of Non-conforming product/service, Corrective action & preventive action. Most businesses will have other process orientated elements documented but these are decided by the management of the business.

You can produce faulty products and still meet ISO9001 provided you do it all the time.

False. Customer satisfaction is a primary measure. Poor quality products would mean dissatisfied customers and not meet ISO9001.

Does not allow for quick turnaround of urgent work.

False. ISO9001 does not hinder fast turnaround of orders, in fact it ensures that records are kept to show what has been done and when.

Must answer a phone by the third ring.

False. There is no mention of this in ISO9001. Some call centres have this as a requirement but it is certainly not specified in the standard.

The standard says "Say what you do - do what you say and prove it".

True. The standard uses the PDCA model - Plan, Do, Check, Act.

Most good businesses are already doing most of the requirements of ISO9001. True. Enough said?

About the Author

Chris Eden FIBA MISSA AIQA is a director of Quality Matters Limited an established independent management consultancy specializing in ISO9001 Quality Management Training courses.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-12-03 20:52:37 in Business Articles

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