In today’s global economy the barriers of trade have been knocked down. Companies have increased their level of performance in order to survive today’s aggressive environment. In order to stay competitive, companies must apply effective and efficient plans. The most accepted plan today is the ISO 9000. It is a set of standards that help companies achieve cost effective and quality assurance methods.
What is ISO?
ISO is an International Organization for Standards that was formed by technical committees. They provide user-friendly guidelines for a wide range of organizations. Examples of these organizations include manufacturing, processing, servicing, printing, forestry, and electronics.
ISO was established in 1947, in Switzerland, with the purpose of developing intellectual, scientific, technological, and economic corporation between member countries (Bureau of Business Practice). Later in 1979 the ISO Technical Committee (ISO/TC 176) was formed to make a set of guidelines that would bring together and standardize world industries. ISO has affiliates in more than 90 countries. It is interesting to note that ISO comes from the Greek word “isos” which means “same as.” The words “same as” can be implied to mean the consumer gets what the consumer expects.
What is ISO 9000?
ISO 9000 is a set of five International Standards for Quality Assurance.
· ISO 9000 contains guidelines for the other four standards.
· ISO 9001 is intended for suppliers who do a lot of design or customization.
· ISO 9002 involves standards for both production and installation.
· ISO 9003 is guidelines for final test and inspection.
· ISO 9004 is designed to help managers develop a substantial quality system
(Bureau of Business Practice).
The ISO 9000 standards are not rules, but merely a set of guidelines that organize their processes
and make it more cost effective.
So, what does it mean to be ISO certified?
Often companies become ISO certified because customers require it. For example, a lot of customers in Europe demand ISO 9000 approval. Where some companies miss out is when they only get ISO 9000 certified for marketing reasons. The ISO 9000 standards improve operating procedure and reduce cost. Being ISO certified means that companies operate using the ISO guideline. When companies advertise the fact that they are ISO certified, it has been proven to be a very powerful marketing tool for them. When customers know that their product is ISO 9000 certified they feel assured that their product is what they expect. These stamp of ISO 9000 approval, lets customers know what to expect, thus they get a quality product. The standards set by ISO 9000 insure a dependable Quality Assurance system. Additionally, any company that does business in Europe knows that customers are demanding products be ISO 9000 certified. As worldwide customers demand ISO 9000 standards, ISO 9000 will become more prevalent. As more international companies come into the market, this will make companies more competitive. The increase in competition will improve the quality and decrease cost of the product, thus creating a better environment for the consumer.