The realist's guide to ISO 9001:2000: Transforming quality certification from "cost center" to "profit center"!
In Implementing ISO 9001:2000, two of the world's leading quality practitioners present the most realistic, business-focused guide to ISO 9001:2000 implementation. This book isn't about "mere conformance," it's about using ISO 9001:2000 to support your key strategic initiativesand moving ISO 9001:2000 from "cost center" to "profit center." Tom Taormina and Keith Brewer cover every aspect of ISO 9001:2000, including:
In a start-to-finish case study, Implementing ISO 9001:2000 shows how Dell's Asset Recovery Business (ARB) has used ISO 9001:2000 standards to build a fully integrated business management system-one that uses continuous improvement models to drive operational excellence and profitability.
ISO 9000 certification shouldn't be an end in itself: it should drive business value, now and for years to come. Whether you need to update your current certification, or you're pursuing certification for the first time, Implementing ISO 9001:2000 will show you how to do it right.
1. The ISO 9001 Imperative.
ISO 9001:2000:What It Is and What It Isn't. Write Down What You Do. Do What You Write Down. Verify That You Are Doing It. Training Is Critical. ISO 9001 Makes Creative Processes More Efficient. ISO 9001 Is a Launch Pad for Success. The Language of ISO 9000. Why Does It Prevail? Results of Certification. Why Achieve Certification? When Certification Is Not Appropriate. Why Us and Why Now? Is It an Investment or an Expense?
Phase 1. Phase 2. Summary.
4 Quality Management System. 5 Management Responsibility. 6 Resource Management. 7 Product Realization. 8 Measurement, Analysis, and Improvement.
Small Companies. Medium-Sized Companies. Larger and More Mature Companies. Organizations Transitioning from Earlier ISO Standards.
The Plan Outline. The Tactical Plan.
Successful Internal Auditing.
What Is a Customer? Measuring Results. Continual Process Improvement.
Write Down What You Do. Implementing the Processes. A Review of Other Key Strategies.
The Teachable Business Model.
Most of us who were trained in traditional quality control and quality assurance tools have been on an ongoing journey to find a way to communicate quality concepts to other members of our organizations. Unfortunately we were, typically, ensnared in autocratic and bureaucratic national, industry, and military standards based on conformance, inspection, and detection. These models manifested themselves as prescriptive and adversarial tools to be used "against" those who were trying to deliver a product or service to the customer. With little positive information to offer to our coworkers, our efforts to "help" were seen as outside meddling.
Over the last 30 years, the quality profession has grown substantially from its early legacy of "Write 'em up and shoot 'em down." We have developed amazing tools of proactive problem avoidance and factual decision making. To this day, however, quality professionals are often included in business processes only by brute force, when required by edict or by disaster control. We seldom find a sympathetic ear to our cries to incorporate quality tools into processes rather than establish inspection tollgates to find problems after the fact.
ISO 9000:1987 was fashioned after many of our classic quality standards. Within it, however, a few of us saw a new wrinkle that was the first glimmer of truly proactive quality. It contained elements instead of requirements. It implied that organizations should document the procedures that made them successful, operate to those procedures, and regularly audit the processes for conformance. That was a significant departure from generating volumes of prescriptive standards that were only read by the authors, followed only by edict, and inspected to death, after all costs were built into the product or service. We saw elegance in its simplicity and adaptability across industries and cultures. It offered the concept of proactive process auditing that we saw leading to the dismantling of tollgates and the removal of barriers to cooperation.
As with so many explosive concepts of the last few decades, I doubt that the founding fathers of ISO 9000 could have visualized the scope and breadth of the impact of their brainchild on traditional quality models. Its innocuous concept was to provide a tool of consistent quality to suppliers and customers within the European Union. It was advertised as an instrument that bridged language and cultures to establish a baseline for supply chain management. It met its expectations, but like many innovations discovered in the "space race," it led to unforeseen and yet to be realized spin-offs.
I would like to delude myself and boast that the worldwide acceptance of ISO 9000 is a result of the lofty goals of proactive quality management. In rare instances this might have been, but the truth is that a number of industries seized it as a "supply chain management" tool. As its adoption was more widely publicized, industries such as oil and gas exploration found it invaluable in reducing costly two-party quality system audits. Instead of maintaining staffs of auditors to evaluate their suppliers and staffs of hosts for their customers' auditors, it became clear that requiring suppliers to be independently audited and certified to ISO 9001 or ISO 9002 was much more cost-effective than maintaining a cadre of audit personnel. There's nothing more powerful than significant reductions in overhead costs to spark the success of a quality management program. As word spread from boardrooms to locker rooms, others jumped on the bandwagon and began requiring ISO 9000 certification as a prerequisite to bidding on proposals or being added to an approved supplier list. As capitalism always prevails in free-market countries, hosts of consulting and auditing firms soon popped up like spring flowers, and a cottage industry was born around a simple set of quality tenets. Eventually, spin-offs were developed within specific industries; QS 9000 is probably the most dramatic example as an automotive industry standard. Finally, we who preach enlightened quality management had a tool that was becoming universally accepted that we could bring to senior management without being immediately thrown out the door for wanting to create more overhead and bureaucracy.
Again, the brilliance of the founding fathers was revealed when they set up standing technical committees and advisory groups to continually evolve and revise ISO 9000. These international bodies of experts developed a methodology for actively listening to those who are implementing the standard. They built an evolutionary model for continually updating the standard as success models were proven and documented. The first revision was published in 1994, including corrections and clarifications of unclear terms and jargon. The technical committees were hesitant to make any radical changes, fearing that the growing acceptance of the standard would come to a halt if it became too complex or prescriptive or moved toward becoming an excellence model.
There were two factions within the quality community that kept debate over the future of the standard lively. One group (them) wants to keep it at a very baseline level and allow companies to find their own process models and excellence models to move from conformance to continual improvement. In other words, this faction wants the standard to remain as just the ante to get in the poker game. The other faction (us) lobbies to slowly upgrade the standard to encourage continual improvement and discourage those who would use the standard for minimal compliance just to get on a bidder's list. This group recognizes the need to keep the standard universal and not move it toward competing with existing excellence models.
From my experience, working with most of the major registrars in the United States, the first faction is the most pervasive. The registrars often comment that most of their certification audits wind up as exercises to find minimal compliance in a sea of dissociated and inconsistent processes and procedures. An unfortunate offshoot of capitalism is that many consulting firms and registrars sell ISO 9000 as a magic pill for those looking for a quick fix to their quality or supply chain management problems. It has been possible to use boilerplate procedures and coaching to achieve, at least, initial certification to ISO 9001 or 9002. There are enough registrars whose profit motives drive more relaxed approaches to certification audits, hoping that companies will take a subtle hint and begin the journey of continual improvement on their own. Registrars often operate on the razor's edge, balancing their credibility with not making the customer unhappy enough to change registrars or give up on ISO 9000 certification. Consultants often strive to make themselves invaluable and permanent fixtures in client companies, withholding transfer of knowledge to the client in the pursuit of ongoing fees. Neither of these scenarios encourages motivation beyond minimal compliance at the lowest overhead cost. The small numbers of us who are using ISO 9000 as a tool of proactive continual improvement have been finding opportunities only among the most enlightened of business owners and operators. When a registrar shows up for an initial audit at a company that has been at my effect, there is often surprise and amazement that the organization actually lives their quality management system and that they are using it to enhance process performance.
In early 2000, the draft of the proposed next revision to ISO 9000 began its circulation through the quality community. It was greeted with mixed reactions because it was a total rewrite of the 1987 and 1994 versions. It replaced 20 elements with five clauses. It advocated the use of "The Process Approach." It required emphasis on continual process improvement and customer satisfaction. It proposed that companies must live their quality policy. By its design, it also closed most of the loopholes that allowed minimally compliant systems to achieve ongoing certification. Once again, the capitalists saw a profit motive and the purists saw a tool to spread the gospel of continual improvement. Courseware and publications hit the street immediately, distributed by those who warned of impending doom for organizations that did not upgrade immediately. It reminded me of software manufacturers that imply that your programs will self-destruct if you don't buy their latest upgrades. Being a purist (with ongoing capitalistic aspirations), I held out, advising all who would listen to stay abreast of the new revision but not spend any money until the final standard was published.
When the final draft was published in September 2000, there was an immediate flood of new publications and seminars claiming to enlighten everyone on the changes from the first draft. On December 13, 2000, the revised standard was published. There is now a third wave of material available (including mine) with the "real" story of ISO 9001:2000. It will now take months for registrars and companies to develop pragmatic guidelines for implementation and auditing. In fact, the ISO Implementation Committee has stated that the registrars and their client companies will wind up establishing realistic implementation standards, leading to a new, evolving body of knowledge for others to model. Because companies will have a three-year window after release to become compliant, a viable compilation of anecdotal and experiential data could be five years in the future. If you are planning to be minimally compliant with ISO 9001:2000, this is ammunition to procrastinate. If you want to be a quality pioneer instead of a quality spectator, why wait? The process methodology included in ISO 9001:2000 exists in this book, is validated (by the Dell ARB success story), and is available for pioneering leaders to implement today.
Since 1991, Productivity Resources, LLC has been helping organizations make the journey from conformance to performance with a process called "ISO 9000 as a Profit Center." Our exact methodology is proprietary, and our concepts are elegant in their simplicity but difficult to implement. We often share the process in public forums and it is contained in my trilogy of ISO 9000 books, so we hope to encourage you to proactive implementation as opposed to procrastination.
Our journey is one of a very nontraditional approach to quality management. It is difficult to plan and even more difficult to implement because it takes visionary leaders with great courage to become quality pioneers
and enable the cultural change necessary to move most organizations from conformance to performance. This methodology requires paradigm shifts in traditional companies and a foundation in process building for younger entrepreneurships. The rewards are beyond comprehension for those who would challenge traditional methods and find in each tenet of quality an opportunity for a proactive center of profit. The success of global business in the new millennium will be based on the implementation of one profound concept. We must develop a business culture based on mutual trust and communities of healthy, learning entrepreneurs who are responsible for their own actions. All previous models have been based on manipulation of people and all have failed to achieve lasting success. Behavior modification has never, and will never, yield a high-performance business community.
Just as the model of manipulation of people has failed, so has trying to control or assure quality. All previous models assumed that human error and variability were inevitable and that controls must exist to ensure compliance. The healthy learning communities of the 21st Century will return ownership of outcome to the people who perform the work. These entrepreneurs will have a clear vision and the power to execute and continually improve their processes. Process variability will be eradicated by personal craftsmanship and its effect will never reach internal and external customers. The craftsmen's rewards will be based on customer satisfaction. The word quality will disappear from our lexicons because the traditional concept of quality will become a state of mind, rather than an activity.
The world will not end with the demise of the "quality police." In fact, a world without quality will lead to the greatest increase in quality and productivity ever seen. This concept is as revolutionary as the invention of the silicon chip and as old as recorded time. When we finally embrace these truths, they will have just as profound an impact on global business as the personal computer.
The longest journey begins with a first step. This journey begins with the realization that we have collected sufficient anecdotal and experiential data to move to the next stage along the continuum of business maturity. That step is the theme of this book, moving from conformance to performance. Specifically, utilizing ISO 9001:2000, we will build a new paradigm that integrates the tools of quality and process improvement and share them with everyone in the value delivery system. We will show compelling reasons for dismantling adversarial, overhead inspection, detection, and assurance functions and replacing them with accountability for all who operate the processes. We will reveal a framework for the cultural evolution that is required to ensure that organizations are postured to assume a leadership role in their industries. We will cite case studies where the transition from conformance to performance has proven to be one of the most profoundly beneficial activities ever undertaken. We will chart the path of converting overhead costs into opportunities for profit. The centerpiece case study featured will be the ARB of Dell Computer. The Dell case study will show how one enterprise has moved their baseline quality management system from conformance to performance. ISO 9001:2000 will help you move your ISO 9001 initiatives from simple conformance to continual improvement and from an overhead expense to a profit center. This book provides clear evidence that a quality management system based on ISO 9001 can be a system of continual business process improvement, instead of a tool of traditional (and costly) quality management.