Do you know a company that is ISO9001 certified, but maybe should not be?

Do you know a company that claims to have ISO9001-2008 certification, but based on your experience you just have to scratch your head and wonder how they continue to keep their certification?

There are 2 companies I know of that make shake my head and wonder how they keep their certification. Both are enormous companies. Neither of which will I mention their names.

Company X is a customer for one of my clients. Company X is ISO9001-2008 certified, but they do some things that cause me to question what the heck their auditor is doing. The most serious offense that I’ve seen is when Company X issues purchase orders with incorrect, incomplete, and/or obsolete information. For example, their purchase order may state part number 12345 Rev A. Well, the vendor knows that part number 12345 is not at Rev C. But if the vendor asks Company X to correct the PO to the right revision level, the Company X buyer often says ‘yeah, just make it to Rev C, but I’m not going to change the PO”. So the vendor ships Rev C, and Company X accepts it, and everyone just ignores this little discrepancy. The thing that I wonder about most is what is going on in the Company X receiving department? They’ve got a PO calling for Rev A., and receive the part and paperwork stating Rev C. How do they make this jive? Why doesn’t someone in Company X write up a corrective action request to fix this continuing issue?

Company Y is a vendor of mine. They supply good products most of the time, but their internal communication seems inadequate at best. Every time I order from them there is one issue or another. Sometimes they ship the wrong item. Last week I showed up at their will-call dock to pick up my order. The shipping guys searched their paperwork and could not find my order. One of the guys even told me that in the future it would help them out if I gave them advance notice of when I intended to pick up my order. I started laughing, to which he said “oh, you did give us notice, didn’t you….”.

Two days earlier I had a conversation with the salesperson, and she told me my order would be ready on Friday. I said I’d be by in the morning, and she needed to know exactly what time, so she “could notify the shipping people”. But of course they didn’t get the message, and even had the audacity to instruct me, their customer, on their procedures, which they don’t follow.

I thought about sending them a supplier corrective action request, but didn’t. Do you think it would make any difference?

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4 Responses to “Do you know a company that is ISO9001 certified, but maybe should not be?”

  1. K. Silva says:

    You are not alone! I’ve wondered this many times, but I’m assuming you’re writing from outside of the UK, so I’m not too familiar with how certification bodies themselves are validated elsewhere? In the UK, there are government accredited CBs (UKAS), and non-UKAS types. Which type issues the ISO 9001 certicate can make a big difference. It beggars belief how many companies claim to have certification, yet their manual was a pre-fab template, which was completely unrelated to their own systems! Perhaps this is the problem you encountered with companies X and Y?!

  2. Timothy says:

    Great comment, thanks! Actually, companies X and Y are very large organizations with teams of quality people. These two companies do not have pre-fab templates, although I’ve seen a few companies that do have the cookie-cutter, one-size-allegedly-fits-all document templates which are a complete joke.

  3. I agree with Timothy and K. Silva. But your observation is good.

  4. Rob Kellock says:

    I’ve seen the flip side. Big CBs conducting audits year after year at large organisations with gaping holes in their systems and the issues have never been raised by the CB. Competence is a problem all round.

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