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Establishing Iso Standards

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1. Introduction

Standards are documented agreements containing technical specifications or other precise criteria to be used consistently as rules, guidelines, or definitions of characteristics, to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose. For example, the format of the credit cards, phone cards, and "smart" cards that have become commonplace is derived from an ISO International Standard. Adhering to the standard, which defines such features as an optimal thickness (0,76 mm), means that the cards can be used worldwide. International Standards thus contribute to making life simpler, and to increasing the reliability and effectiveness of the goods and services we use.

ISO 9000 is primarily concerned with "quality management". Like "beauty", everyone may have his or her idea of what "quality" is. In plain language, the standardized definition of "quality" in ISO 9000 refers to all those features of a product (or service) which are required by the customer. "Quality management" means what the organization does to ensure that its products conform to the customer's requirements. (, web site of International Organization for Standards)

The ISO 9000 Standard was written by representatives from the United States and 14 European countries and published in 1987 (the same year the Malcolm Baldrige Award started) by the International Organization of Standards in Geneva, Switzerland. The requirements of the Standard are aimed primarily at achieving customer satisfaction by preventing nonconformity at all stages, from production through servicing. The requirements include management, leadership, a pro-active and well-trained work force, customer feedback, measurement, documentation, internal audits, continuous improvement, and third party validation.

Total Quality Management is a broad based quality management theory where as ISO9000 is a quality management which defines the critical aspects of process for ensuring quality in goods and services. It can be applied to any kind of product and it is applicable to both small and large companies, including service providers and distributors.

Companies usually initiate an ISO 9000 project due to customer demand, to get European business and for the purpose of advertising. These are all valid reasons, but many companies miss out on the most important reason to follow the ISO 9000 standards: "to make sure their business is run in an orderly manner that will assure continued success." Along the way they discover that, when properly implemented, the ISO 9000 management system saves money, reduces costs, and increases product quality and employee productivity

QS 9000 is a more mature version of ISO 9000. It is the shorthand name for "Quality System Requirements QS-9000." It is the common supplier quality standard for Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation. QS-9000 is based on the 1994 edition of ISO 9001 (to be discussed later), but it contains additional requirements that are particular to the automotive industry. These additions are considered automotive "interpretations" by the ISO community of accreditation bodies and registrars. QS-9000 applies to suppliers of production materials, production and service parts, heat treating, painting and plating and other finishing services. It does not, therefore, apply to all suppliers of the Big Three.

The need to obtain ISO 9000 or QS 9000 registration by many companies is growing daily as pressure from both customers and competitors are increasing. ISO 9000 certification is, or soon will be, necessary to do business in the EC, Japan, with the US Government, the Big Three automakers, and several other industries.

ISO History

The International Organization for Standardization, in existence since 1946, has published many manufacturing or product standards. Today the most powerful quality initiative around the world is the set of ISO9000 international standards for quality management. These guidelines help companies compete in the new business world.

In North America the first companies to adopt these international quality standards were the ones interested in the global market, business leaders such as Du Pont, Monsanto, Eastman Kodak, 3M, Hewlett-Packard, AT&T and Nortel. The American National Standards Institute has adopted the ISO 9000 series as national standard Q9000. The United States largest single consumer, the Department of Defense, developed the new handbook MIL-HDBK-9000 based on the international standards. Federal agencies such as NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Food and Drug Administration have integrated the ISO 9000 standards into their contractual requirements. Winners of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award such as Xerox, Motorola, Federal Express, IBM, and others are adopting them and starting to require their suppliers to adhere to them. Finally, the Big Three automakers - Ford, Chrysler and General Motors - have integrated the ISO 9001 and 9002 standards with their own QS-9000 standards.

The standards Council of Canada (SCC) has acted similarly, adopting the ISO 9000 standards locally as Q9000 for the use and benefit of Canadian companies. The Canadian government has already underscored the importance of the international standards for its economy, and federal and provincial agencies are gradually introducing the ISO 9000 standards into their purchasing conditions.

In Europe, the European Committee for Standardization (CEN/CENELEC) has adopted the ISO 9000 series as European standard EN ISO 9000 in replacement of each European country's national standards. In response to the creation of a common market consisting of 340 million people, and a potential market of 800 million people (European Union in 2020), it is emphasizing the advantages of the ISO guidelines for quality management to simplify trade. Consequently, for companies of the European Union, this series has become both a trade and a marketing tool.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has also decided to replace its own quality standards. As a result, the defense departments of the sixteen members will use for their procurement the new edition of the Allied Quality Assurance Publications (AQAP) standards which are, by and large, the ISO standards.

The Pacific Rim's "tigers" (Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Australia, and New Zealand), which encompass more than two billion people, already comply to these standards. As for developing countries, the



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