Since quality control is an important aspect in industry, organizations seek registration under the quality standards set forth by recognized standards organizations for a variety of reasons. The most common motives are to satisfy market expectations or customer requirements, or to develop process consistency and a baseline for benchmarking performance. In every case, the organization stands to benefit from a properly implemented quality control system. When compliance of these standards has been met, the benefits are substantial.
Some of the benefits are that process documentation will facilitate communication and assure the consistency of performance. This will allow the definition and communication of customer requirements to lead to improved customer relations. Also, the workforce will be better trained and equipped to optimally perform their job function. Plus a robust process for design will allow product verification and validation to be established. An informed management team will be involved in self-assessment and continual improvement. This will help in corrective and preventive action functions that will result in efficient analysis and resolution of business problems. The accumulation of industrial quality data will facilitate trend analysis and targeted change management.
There are a couple of industrial standards called IS0 9000, ISO 14000, and QS 9000. ISO 9000 is a set of five universal standards for a Quality Assurance system that is accepted around the world. Currently 90 countries have adopted ISO 9000 as national standards. When you purchase a product or service from a company that is registered to the appropriate ISO 9000 standard, you have important assurances that the quality of what you receive will be as you expect. The most comprehensive of the standards is ISO 9001. It applies to industries involved in the design and development, manufacturing, installation and servicing of products or services. The standards apply uniformly to companies in any industry and of any size.
Since it is important many companies require their suppliers to become registered to ISO 9001. Because of this, registered companies find that their market opportunities have increased. In addition, a company’s compliance with ISO 9001 insures that it has a sound Quality Assurance system, and that is good business. Registered companies have had dramatic reductions in customer complaints, significant reductions in operating costs and increased demand for their products and services. ISO 9000 registration is rapidly becoming a must for any company that does business in Europe. Many industrial companies require registration by their own suppliers. There is a growing trend toward universal acceptance of ISO 9000 as an international standard.
In 1994, US automakers issued a new, cooperative set of quality standards for their suppliers: QS-9000. The new standards, which are based on ISO 9000, are specific to the auto industry and are more rigorous in their demands. Chrysler and GM, state in the guidelines, that in order to show QS-9000 compliance that an audit of your quality systems using an accredited, third-party registrar is required. Ford will accept such registration but has not yet mandated it. QS-9000 registrars must be accredited by an organization recognized by the US automakers.
ISO 14001, created by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), is a standard designed to produce globally accepted systems for environmental management. It is a voluntary program similar to ISO 9000 (a series of standards developed in the 1980s to assist in implementing a quality management system). Adherence to the ISO 14001 standard ensures that systems are in place to identify a facility’s impacts on the environment and to minimize these impacts when feasible. It measures the conformance of a facility’s EMS to specific requirements, but remains flexible enough that companies can integrate their own business goals into their EMS.