Reasons to Seek ISO 9000 Certification
by Ron Kurtus (revised 14 March 2001)
ISO 9000 certification or registration can be an expensive process. A company must consider the reasons and promised benefits for going through this process. If a company decides to seek certification, they should consider making sure their suppliers are certified or at least compliant to the ISO 9000 standards.
Questions you may have concerning becoming certified are:
- What are some major reasons companies become certified?
- What about our suppliers?
- What is the best reason to follow ISO 9000?
This lesson will answer those questions.
In the early 1990s, companies seemed to be jumping on the certification bandwagon without seriously considering the rationale for doing so. Often they did so because competitors or "everybody else" is getting registered. Today companies seriously look at the reasons and benefits for becoming registered.
The major reasons that company leadership or management decides to seek ISO 9000 certification are to gain continued or increased business and to maintain effective operations.
A company can maintain a relationship with customers, as well as get increased business through complying to the ISO 900 standards or becoming certified. This comes from satisfying customer demands, the desire for European business, and to advertise.
The first and most common motivation is when a company's prime customer demands such certification of its suppliers. Companies want to make sure they get parts that fulfill their specifications and that they get what they are paying for.
For example, the big three automotive companies require all their suppliers to be certified in QS 9000, the industry equivalent to ISO 9000.
Another reason to become registered in ISO 9000 is that the company feels it will have better access to European markets. Many European companies have agreed only to deal with ISO 9000 registered suppliers to assure quality parts and services.
This seemed to be a big factor in the 1990s, but its importance and impact has greatly diminished.
Finally, some companies want to become certified, so they can advertise that fact and give the impression of being better than their competitors.
You have seen ads with a logo stating the company is certified at some ISO 9000 level. It apparently gives those companies a leg up on competitors not registered.
Again, this seemed more important in the 1990s, but you don't see that many companies using ISO 9000 certification as an advertising tool.
By conforming to the ISO 9000 standards, a company can greatly improve their efficiency of operations, provided care is taken not to become too rigid, document too much, or to not apply the standards to completely fit your business.
Demand suppliers be certified
Besides becoming certified in ISO 9000, a company would also want their suppliers to be ISO 9000 registered to make sure those suppliers are run effectively and will be able to deliver goods consistently and reliably.
Another reason to have suppliers certified is because the company's customer demands that even the subcontractors follow ISO 9000. This is the case in the automotive industry, mentioned above.
Don't miss the most important reason
These are all valid reasons, but many companies miss out on the most important reason to follow the ISO 9000 standards:
ISO 9000 is supposed to make sure your business is run in an orderly manner that will assure continued success.
One would think that a goal such as being run effectively and able to deliver goods consistently and reliably would also be desirable for a company's own operation. Surprisingly, many companies do not consider that as a goal.
The reasons to become certified in ISO 9000 are that you are to satisfy customer requirements, to be able to do business in Europe, to be able to advertise your certification, and to improve your company's operations.
Benefit your company with good business practices
Resources and references
ISO Online - International Organization for Standardization website
ISO Standards Translated in Plain English - Extensive listing
ISO 9000 Certification Information - Good listing of ISO 9000 resources
Questions and comments
Do you have any questions, comments, or opinions on this subject? If so, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.
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Reasons to Seek ISO 9000 Certification