Q.1 What is ISO 9000 and for whom it is applicable?
- International Organization for Standardization evolved ISO 9000 series of standards in 1987. These are quality assurance system standards. First revision came in July 1994 and second revision on December 15,2000. Henceforth, there will be only one standard i.e ISO-9001:2000.
- These standards are customer oriented and focus on customer satisfaction by fulfilling the customers’ requirements.
- These are applicable to any manufacturing or servicing organization. Hence, these are the product neutral standards.
- These standards can be adopted by any organization -be it large, medium, small; limited company, private limited company, partnership firms, and proprietorship firms.
Q.2 What is the necessity of adopting ISO 9000 quality system standards?
- In this competitive era, especially when liberalization, privatization and globalization (LPG) concepts are taking deep roots, survival of the organization will be at stake if outdated systems and procedures are followed. Hence, there is a need to have the systems- based approach in all business functions to meet the cost effective quality and timely delivery requirements.
- It is quite likely that in future many organizations will act as subcontractors to the major global players. In such situation, the adoption of ISO 9000 quality systems and its certified performance would help in establishing credentials and capability of an organization to get the contracts.
- It is therefore aptly said “one cannot do today’s work with yesterday’s methods and still be in the business tomorrow”.
Q.3 How this is beneficial to the organization or in other words what are the benefits that company can accrue on certification?
- Improvement in the operational efficiency due to systematization of the process.
- Reduction in the cost of manufacture due to minimization of process waste, rejects and the re-work levels.
- Productivity will go up due to the increase in the first- yield production, which is accrued through the reduction of rejects.
- Cost of poor quality or cost of errors in performing various business functions will be reduced to great extent. By and large this factor is not noticed, as efforts have not been put to analyze the financial implications in handling the customer complaints.
- People are getting sensitized about the quality and understand their responsibility in performing their jobs. Thus, they can contribute in solving the day-to-day quality problems. This will help the practicing managers to allot the time for future developments.
- As far as the financial concessions are concerned, the small scale units are entitled for reimbursement of charges for acquiring ISO 9000 Certificate (or its equivalent) to the extent of 75% of the cost, subject a maximum of Rs. 75,000/-. The small scale units seeking reimbursement of cost for acquiring ISO 9000 certification (or its equivalent) under the scheme, will have to file application with the Development Commissioner (Small Scale Industries), 7th floor, Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi – 110 011 OR Director of Industries of respective State Government by furnishing various details as per prescribed proforma.
- Considering the benefits that are likely to accrue to the units, the pay period is likely to be within 1 ½ years to 2 years if the systems are installed and sustained effectively.
Q.4 Is ISO 9000 standards mandatory to the industry?
No. However, in the coming days, non-existence of certified quality systems would probably be treated as a trade barrier not because of any Government regulations, but through the customers, who are having the wide choice in selecting their suppliers for getting consistent quality. It also demonstrates the intent for continuous improvement in the overall business function.
Q.5 How to protect the business secrets when documentation of all functions/activities is must?
One of the quality requirements given in the standards is Document and data control. By exercising the control in documentation, the sensitive documents can be put under the category of classified documents and its distribution and issue can be restricted to the originator alone. By this way, the control can be exercised and at the same time business interests are also protected.