Is ISO 9001 Dead?

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    My Company is thinking about dropping ISO 9001 Certification as a cost savings citing the low number of customers that prefer ISO over merely a document Quality System and the slow growth in ISO Certified companies.  Is ISO dead or dieing, or is this a sign that my employer has decided to place less importance on Quality?


    John Broomfield

    It seems to me that you are talking about two things:
    1. Making sure your management system for converting customer needs into cash in the bank is process-based and continues to conform to ISO 9001:2008; and
    2. Keeping that system certified as conforming to ISO 9001 by an independent accredited registrar respected by your customers.
    Continuing with item 1 provides the infrastructure your organization needs to continue to benefit from its lean six sigma processes.
    Continuing with item 2 is largely a marketing decision (although I have heard some System Managers say they need the threat of losing certification to get people interested in their system from time to time!).
    If the marketing decision has already been made to drop item 2 then continue with item 1.  This may require some other way than relying on the loss of certification to keep people engaged with their system.
    Here are a few suggestions:
    A. Ensure your internal auditors come from a cross-section of departments and take a risk-based approach to scheduling the process audits (only very occasionally do you need system audits);
    B. Upgrade your process for Investing in Continual Improvement so top management reviews result in State of our System reports to inform the employees what their system does well, what it does less and well and what the leaders are doing to improve it; and
    C. Do not refer to your process-based management system as your “ISO system”, re-name it after your company or invite the employees to name it; if they name it after you then highlights one of the reasons they are not actively engaged in using it and improving it.
    D. You may need to redesign your management system so it does focus on improving the core process for converting customer needs into cash in the bank, just make sure it also conforms to ISO 9001.
    I find it strange when our national standard for quality management systems is seen only as a certification standard.

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