Ten Commandments and nothing reminds me more of this " refrain" than the ISO 9000 set of standards which somewhere suggests " Do what you write...and Write what you do". I went through an era when the entire aspect of ISO 9000 was as hot as a furnace and many organizations and personnel actively providing some kind of consultancy on this subject. I have seen ISO 9000 marketed and precisely the period under question could be the decade between 1990 and 2000.
I have seen ISO 9000 implemented in the Industrial sector by many consultants. Let me try to answer a fundamental question; Is ISO 9000 good? The answer is Yes -- but the problem is that ISo 9000 must be properly understood and administered without haste or confusion. It must not invade into work but must smoothly support work.
What is ISO 9000 afterall ? It is a set of 14 quality principles around which documents are created and maintained and audited periodically if the procedures spelt out are being adhered. It used to take some 08 months to prepare all the documents pertaining to quality and the agency would audit these documents and confer the iso 9000. An MR Management Representative would be responsible for maintenance and administration of these documents.
I have grevious concerns about an apparently lucid matter and its initiation into an organization and the plethora of manipulation and confusion it generates to only sometimes put the very smooth functioning of the organization into peril and situation aggravating into various forms of mis-directions within the organization leading to dangerous repercussions often. The pace, rapacity and misguided verve with which this work is undertaken and the satisfaction of having reached a mile-stone can sometimes be without sound merit.
Note that ISO is a process quality standard and the pivot around which this standard is implemented must be the fundamentals contributors to Quality. Many times this aspect is forgotten and the exercise undertaken with a focus on many other factors.
However When an organization decides to implement ISO 9000 let the following points be borne in mind so that the exercise creates long-term good and not some kind of temporary gratification that ends in confusion with the system being ultimately dismantled;
- Always build your ISO 9000 files slowly and steadily and never in a hurry
- Computerize ISO standards where-ever possible
- The certifying agencies must help organizations build a very sustaining ISO 9000 system and not just act as a watch dog.
- The certifying agencies must start from the most important quality drivers of a typical organization to the least important and ignore many aspects of the organization temporarily.
- Even if the files are not totally complete the certifying agency can still award the certificate
- Most of the documentation must have a bearing to the QUALITY POLICY created during ISO implementation.
- Whenever internal audits are done never give more than 03 non-conformities come what may.
- Never conduct internal audits too often
- Create a collective team to address non conformities
- Never fabricate documents. If some activity was to be conducted and could not be for any reason mention the reason.