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Iso 9000

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ISO 9000

Nowadays, the quality standards play a very important role in the international business. The movement towards standardization began changing the whole concept of managing business. The importance of quality awareness is accepted by a great number of companies in Europe and in the United States. It is recognized as an essential criteria for the sale of products and services all over the world.

What should be remembered is that most companies will benefit from becoming registered to an ISO 9000 standard both in the short and long terms. In the short term, it will give companies a competitive edge because of the positive impact the quality assurance system will have on product/service quality, cost savings, access to markets, and overall efficiency of operations. In the longer term, ISO registration will increasingly become a requirement to do business in areas such as the European Community, as well as other vital markets. (

The global market becomes more competitive every day. Companies are looking for ways to obtain advantages over the competitors. One of the brilliant solutions to this situation is gaining ISO 9000 certification. ISO 9000 standards are international quality standards. They are universal in the sense that they can be adopted to any kind of business. The ISO 9000 series is designed to be applicable to any manufacturing or service process. The series is revised and controlled by Technical Committee (TC) 176. It consists of international members from many areas of industry and science. (Avery, 1995).

The need to be ISO 9000 certified becomes so attractive that it captures the minds of all the levels of corporate management. It influences the organization from the top executives to clerks and process operators. The movement to the quality management transforms businesses. Why is ISO 9000 so important? At some point, it is a matter of resource allocation. How does management allocate scarce resource such as time, energy and money? ISO 9000 becomes a marketing tool which shows customers that the company offers high quality products. While other companies do not have the certification, it is one step further to be more competitive at the market. (

We can find out why the standardization is so important, if we look back to the history. During the 1970s and 1980s, the science of quality control changed from inspection-dominant to system-oriented organizations. The focus altered from the end result orientation to the process of production. The background of this theory was that if the process of production was well organized, then the final product would be of the appropriate quality. Such approach served as the basis for quality improvement. Later, when the production process was maintained, and companies saw improvement in production size and the quality, everybody began realizing the importance of the orientation towards quality standards.

But another problem appeared. Many of the existed standards could not make the transition from product orientation to process orientation. Some countries realized the need for making changes in their own requirements. As the companies entered the global market, the difference of standard requirements led the producers toward confusion. To eliminate some of the confusion, the International Organization for Standardization, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, developed an international quality system standard, called ISO 9000. The first standards were published in 1987. (Greene, 1991).

One of the objectives of ISO 9000 standards are business benefits. Thus the ISO 9000 standards aim at profitable increase of turnover and market share. In this case, such benefits are gained in the result of cost decreases. ISO 9000 also increases stakeholder confidence and customers' reliance on the quality of the product. It adds value to the company which acquire ISO 9000 certification. Most companies have three overall goals to mix: minimize costs, maximize profits, and maximize customer satisfaction. This way, the benefits, expected from ISO certification, are both external and internal. The customers perceive the product as having superior product quality and willingly buy it. Having adopted ISO 9000, the company gains trust from the customers and suppliers. The company, using this advantage, increases sales. Since the standards are considered to be universally accepted quality standards, the company also gets worldwide recognition. And finally, it increases its stock value. (

Understanding and controlling all fields of the production process leads to reduction of costs. ISO 9000 gives an opportunity to reduces manufacturing lead times and work in process. (Harrington, 2002). The documentation aspect of ISO is really very important: once the company starts documenting, it develops uniformity in different shift operations. A good documentation can also lead to reductions in training time. With the help of ISO 9000, more effective work instructions are created for employees. The company can reduce the amount of time required to train them. (Brown, 1997). Another a very important factor is that the employees discuss their procedures within ISO standards. It leads to clarity of process documentation.

Consequently, ISO 9000 leads to increase in productivity, meanwhile the inventories are decreased. It lowers costs, and increase sales. This way, it increases the material flow efficiency. The production and inventory control becomes more clear and transparent. All uncertainty is minimized, while discipline increases. (Craft, 1994).

Today, these ISO standards are the most widely recognized and accepted international standards. Quality is becoming increasingly important, therefore many companies are seeking registration to demonstrate to their customers that they are in control of their businesses. There are currently about 40,000 organizations in the world registered under ISO 9003, 9002, or 9001 standards. By 1992, more than 20,000 companies in the EC had registered, compared to about 600 in the United States. The Japanese not only have adopted the standards, but also encourage registration among the companies. Many other countries are moving rapidly toward ISO 9000 registration. (Avery, 1995).

In some situations, ISO standards become vital for a company to find the customer. It can be very harmful not to have the standards, since ISO are required for products by European Community. (Bodinson, 1991).

How does a company adopt ISO 9000? The involvement of top management is the most important element in preparing for ISO registration. Senior management must drive the process, managing the time and expense connected with obtaining the registration. It is essential that every employee have a clear understanding of ISO 9000. Everyone must be aware



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