Quality management iso 9001 by lukejames117


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									Quality management iso 9001

If you have been unlucky enough to have been saddled with the onerous task of
achieving ISO 9001:2000 compliance for your company, this article may prove to be
your big break. At the very least it will put you on a minimum fuss path to ISO 9001
certification. It may very well also rescue your career, because--as you already know--as
a great deal is riding on your success.

ISO, of course, stands for the International Organization of Standardization, a worldwide
organization responsible for the development of many different kinds of standards. ISO
9001:2000 is the most recent version of their Quality Management System Standard. It
consists of a collection of documentation that describes how a company should
implement their quality management system.

To achieve certification, a company must produce both a Quality Manual and a Quality
Procedures Manual. This is no light undertaking. These manuals must be audited by a
registrar for compliancy, and renewed at the end of each 3 year period. The larger and
more complex your company, the more difficult the process will be.

So why would a company chose to conform to an ISO 9001 profile? Rarely is it
because it seems like a good idea. Many companies are filled with bright people who can
develop their own quality management system. The primary motivating force is
market pressure. Your quality management system may well be up to scratch, but who is
to say?

A potential customer surveying the marketplace, and presented with two or more
competing companies he might choose to do business with, needs to feel good about his
final choice. If the decision comes down to who has the best quality management system
in place, common sense suggests he go with the company that has gone through the ISO
9001 certification process.

In the long run, an organization that implements an ISO 9001 system is likely to
discover the company runs better, with improved performance and higher profitability.
But for a company just getting started, such considerations are often seen as "ideals" that
get short shrift as managers race to make the company profitable in the shortest amount
of time. It therefore takes commitment and foresight, as well as an acute understanding of
market vision in order to get to the ISO 9001 finish line.

If your company already has a decent quality management system in place, your main
task will be to redesign the system so that it addresses all the sticking points of the ISO
9001 documentation. If your company is large, this may prove to be some not
insignificant undertaking.
You might be tempted to hire ISO 9001 consultants. This will be expensive, and may
not in fact lead to the desired result, which is a streamlined version of the Quality
Manual and Quality Procedures Manual that you must submit for certification.

The reason for this is that consultants never fully appreciate the scope and depth of your
company, and cannot be expected to share the urgency of your plight to get it right the
first time. For this reason, choosing the right in-house person to head the job may be the
best option for your company. Perhaps, even, that person is you. If so, you definitely have
your work cut out for you, particularly if you work for a company of any real size.

The benefit, and it is a big one, of having been tasked with preparation for ISO 9001
certification is that your personal value to the company is going to be cemented--no, it
will be cast in iron--by a successful conclusion to certification.

The trick then, is to find a way to achieve the desired result WITHOUT saddling yourself
with all the headaches this job can provide. If you have already peeked at the ISO
9001:2000 documentation you can be forgiven for thinking that you may have bit off
more than you can chew. Going from zero to sixty on this task can seem like a formidable

But it need not. If it seems like you are destined to begin dreaming that you personally
will be taking the ISO 9001 certification test, night after restless night, instead of your
quality management system, take heart. Because there is a way to get a jump start on the
process, and avoid so much of the hassle that you have taken on.

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