Is it possible to get ISO9001-2008 accredited before you start a business?

Recently I had a few phone calls, and a brief introductory meeting, with a gentleman who claimed he and his partner were in business making electronic devices. He said a large, well-known company wanted to do business with him, and the potential customer insisted he have his ISO9001-2008 certificate. We talked quite a bit, I tried to explain to him what would be involved.

Then one day he called and said he wanted to proceed with getting accredited. I went to his house to start documenting what it is they actually do, so I could write up their quality system manual and procedures.

The meeting was incredibly awkward, and I left after it became clear that this guy was not really prepared to go through the process. He spent quite a bit of time yelling at his malfunctioning cell phone, and the rest of the time alternating between complaints about not having any money, and letting me know his “company” didn’t have any business at the moment, and he didn’t know when he would have another transaction. It could be months or longer until they had any business. Yet he somehow wanted to get ISO9001-2008 certified in a couple of weeks. Without actually conducting any business.

Because of the lack of organization and constant complaints about being broke, I figured it best to make a hasty retreat and not waste any more of my time.

A week or so later, I got to wondering if there might be a way to get a company ISO certified before they actually had any business. Personally I can not think of a way. Without any customers, it would be impossible to measure customer satisfaction, right? But am I not thinking creatively enough here?

Not for any particular purpose, but I’m trying to think of a way for a start-up company to get their ISO9001-2008 certification before they actually do any business. Might they find some potential customers and do work for free, just to get the experience and transactions under their belt? Or is there another way?

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2 Responses to “Is it possible to get ISO9001-2008 accredited before you start a business?”

  1. I don’t think there’s any need for debate. How can you map your core processes, before they exist? What can you improve upon, if there is no basis or starting point? How can you document things that aren’t taking place?

    Let me ask you a questions; Did you collect this client’s objective and scope BEFORE going out for an initial consultation? I think that in this situation, a more consultive approach to the situation would have saved you the trouble of going to this blighter’s *office*. I’m a firm believer that any company (preferably established!) should have a clear goal from obtaining certification. It can not be, “because this company told me I need it to business with them”. In this case, they will never embrace or support the QMS. Commitment from Top Management is a number 1 priority in developing and management system.

  2. Marinel says:

    It’s imposible to get a company to be ISO certified before they have any activity. In an certification audit they have to prove that the management system works but if there’s no activity then there’s no functional management system and there are no recordings. So, in my opinion ISO certification before an company do any business is a nonsense.

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