ISO9001-2008: The dirty little secret?

Recently I performed some quality system related work for Company X, including a complete round of internal audits and some pretty major document revisions. It had been about 10 months since I last visited. In the previous 10 months the company had done exactly nothing to maintain their quality system. Not one internal audit. Not one corrective or preventive action. No management reviews were held, there were no QMS related records of any kind. Not one document was revised. In fact, I know the documents had not even been viewed in those 10 months as the quality manager asked me if I could give him the password to view the documents. He didn’t even know that the documents could be viewed if he’d just click on “read only”.

This was disturbing enough. But it gets worse. This company passed their ISO9001-2008 registration audit TWO YEARS AGO. And they passed their recertification audit one year ago. Without doing a damn thing. Their next recertification audit is a couple weeks from now. I wonder if they’ll pass? I hope not.

This is far from the first company I’ve seen that should not have passed their audit, but did.

The dirty little not-so-secret thing about ISO9001-2008 certification is that there are plenty of companies out there who do little or nothing to maintain their quality systems, yet continue to receive and keep their ISO9001 certification. I don’t know for sure why this happens, but I have some ideas. It’s bad business for the registrars if their auditors write a lot of major nonconformances, requiring another expensive auditor visit. And, let’s face it, ISO registrar companies are not doing this as a public service, they’re businesses like any other. Could it be that the registrars put pressure on their auditors to keep the customer happy even if it means throwing integrity out the window? Or is it auditors who just don’t care as long as they get paid? Probably a little of each.

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One Response to “ISO9001-2008: The dirty little secret?”

  1. Gavin Jordan says:

    “Recently I performed some quality system related work for Company X, including a complete round of internal audits and some pretty major document revisions”.

    “I wonder if they’ll pass? I hope not”.

    This is your client?? You hope they fail?? What sort of a consultant are you!!!! They pay you and/or respect your opinion, and you hope they fail!!

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