Are you ISO9001-2008 certified? There are 2 kinds of ISO9001 companies. Which one are you?

In my opinion there are basically 2 kinds of companies that have received ISO9001-2008 certification. There are the companies that honestly intend to follow the standard in the hopes of improving their operations, improving their quality, and ultimately improving their bottom line.

Then there are the companies that see their ISO9001-2008 certificate as nothing more than a sales tool to open doors where they would otherwise be unwelcome.

I’ve worked for both types of companies in the past. Let me tell you, it’s a whole lot more fun working for the companies that genuinely want the ISO9001 registration, and work to follow it.

A few months ago I visited a small company in the Bay Area that was struggling with their ISO9001-2008 quality management system. Their full-time quality guy had quit some months earlier. Since the quality guy left, no one had done a think about ISO9001. No records. No internal audits. No corrective actions. No management review.

Their quality system was akin to trying to kill mosquitos with a B-52. It was no wonder they didn’t want to work with the system, their system was far too difficult to use. Yet another example of the quality person writing the quality system documents in such a manner so that only he could understand it, thereby ensuring he wouldn’t get fired. That’s my guess, anyway.

So I revised their documents, and shaved off about 50 percent of the pages. Keep it as simple as possible, I always say, and the people will be more inclined to use it.

Now, months down the road, they’ve still not done any internal audits or corrective actions. It appears as if they have no interest in following their quality management system. The company owners want to have the pretty certificate on the wall to make their customers happy, but apparently that’s where their interest in ISO9001 ends. I’m guessing there will be a mad scramble to create false records a few weeks before their next third-party audit.

I used to date a woman who was the HR manager for a shipping company that had ISO9001. Well, at least they had the pretty certificate on the wall. Every year, 2 weeks before their third-party audit, all the employees would stop doing their actual work to pitch in and falsify records for a few days. It was hilarious to watch. Somehow they always managed to keep their certificate.

Seeing companies like this, that falsify records and squeak through their audits, makes me a little cynical about the true value of ISO9001-2008. I’ll never forget the auditing team (husband and wife) who actually got drunk at lunch with the company owners, then approved the company’s registration.

But then there are the good companies. In my experience, most of the companies that have ISO9001-2008 certification genuinely want it. Now, by “most”, I mean more than 50 percent. Not a huge majority by any means. But these good companies give me faith that my efforts are not wasted, and that this ISO9001 thing truly does bring some value to many businesses around the world.

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4 Responses to “Are you ISO9001-2008 certified? There are 2 kinds of ISO9001 companies. Which one are you?”

  1. This is a nice blog and the article of Are you ISO9001-2008 certified? is really very good

  2. Rob says:

    Some very true words said there! A lot of negativity towards ISO 9001 is often because it hasn’t been implemented properly. Buy-in from everyone within the organisation is paramount in order to realise all of the benefits of implementation.

  3. Nige says:

    Developing the culture, then developing the 9001 makes a smooth transition and it sticks once in place

  4. agta says:

    Ive experienced type of company that almost all its personnel has gained their “doctorate” to talents in falsifying documents. Its hilarious to know how they have gone far to having 4 certificates when implementation only starts a month before scheduled surveillance audit.

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