With the opening up of Indian economy and rapid advancement towards globalization, country is poised to excel in all-round development including quality standards to global demand. With increasing export trade, Indian industries are left with no choice except to meet the expectation of their global buyers. Its no surprise that today the most talked about quality initiative is ISO: 9000 quality system standards. Most of the organizations all over the world seek to register to this standard and Indian industries are fast catching up on this front. WHAT IS ISO: 9000? ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization. ISO: 9000 quality system standard series was developed by the Technical Committee 176, of the International Standards Organization (ISO) and approved in its present form in 1987, revised in 1994 and again in 2000. It describes a basic set of series of standards from which a Quality management system can be evolved. It defines an organization structure, responsibility, procedures, process and resources, documentation etc. Such a system will focus on key aspects vital to obtaining customer satisfaction. These are the determination of customer needs, design, inspection, testing, packaging, storage, sales, distribution etc. ISO: 9000 standards are applicable to both manufacturing and service industries. Indian equivalent of ISO: 9000 is IS: 14000 series. Some of he benefits of having an ISO: 9000 quality system are as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. Facilitates access to National and International Markets. Increases customer’s confidence. Clarity in the distribution of responsibilities. Increased involvement of employees in quality goals and a better company image.

STEPS FOR ISO: 9000 IMPLEMENTATION: 1. Understand the standard system and its interpretation. 2. Conduct necessary training programmes. 3. Line managers should generate documentation - if required outside consultant may be appointed for this purpose. It may take about a year or a year and half’s consistence efforts to achieve ISO: 9000.

METHODOLOGY: 1. Make application to the agents or the bodies (called as certifying agencies- e.g. BVQI) which are affiliated with ISO for certification. 2. Prepare the quality manual of in-house procedures and systems under their guidance. 3. Ratify for adequacy above procedures to meet the requirements in line with ISO. 4. Appoint Management Representative (MR), to look after ISO requirements. 5. Check will be conducted by certifying agencies as to whether the concerned departments maintain those procedures in actual working. 6. The procedures must be adhered to strictly. 7. If any deficiencies are found during the check, same will be pointed by an important document called ‘NCR’ – Non Conformity Report. 8. This NCR has to be resolved and replied efficiently. 9. On being satisfied that systems are running properly, agency will award ISO certification to the organization. ISO AUDIT: The quality manual is a very important document. ISO certifying body regularly audits the operations in the organizations at decided intervals. Also they help organization to carry out internal audit at specific regular intervals. Every time system of NCR is followed if the procedures are in deviation to one being specified in the manual. Failing to resolve the NCR will poise risk of loosing the certification by the organization. Employees are given extensive training and team for internal audit is prepared, their examinations are taken. Internal audit plays important role, their reports are checked by external auditors. ISO believes that if the procedures are followed within, then customer is assured of quality services. This is the basic foundation of the quality management system. SALIENT FEATURES OF ISO: 9000: 1. It is obligatory to identify non-conformities. Non conformity is a shortfall between what is desired to be achieved and what is actually achieved. It leads to identification of problem areas or prospective areas of improvement. 2. Systematic prevention of non-conformities is another salient feature. 3. It requires formally documented procedure for each and every activity, which is likely to have bearing directly or indirectly on quality. 4. It requires in letter and spirit implementation of procedures and their revisions when ever called for.

5. It confines itself to standard formulation and is generic in nature, not dependent on type or size of company or country. Implementation is left to individual nations. 6. In India “National Accreditation Board” accredits certifying agencies. This bodies conduct certification audits. 7. The organizations have to furnish documentary evidence to substantiate the effective operation of quality management system. 8. Certifications are not valid for more than 3 years. In this period also, surveillance audits are carried out to see compliance. BENEFITS OF HAVING ISO: 9000 QUALITY SYSTEM ARE AS FOLLOWS: 1. Facilitates access to National and International markets. 2. Increases confidence of customer on the organization. 3. Responsibilities within the organization gets clearly defined and distributed. 4. Enhances image and good will of the company and increases involvement of employees in quality goals. 5. Make organization eligible for getting the incentives declared for ISO registered companies. 6. Though not mandatory, it is advantageous to have ISO for exporting to EC Countries, especially when there is threat to human safety. ISO AND TQM: While TQM is a mechanism to change a company’s culture to reach its goals, ISO facilitates this change. In this context ISO is sub-set of TQM. NO GUARANTEE OF QUALITY: ISO: 9000 is conditional. It guarantees consistency of quality of output subject to following the procedures. Even after registration, a company producing 25% bad quality prior to registration may continue to do so. Of course, ISO identifies the problem areas, which can be taken as inputs for the quality improvement programme, only then ISO benefits accrue to the organization. ISO 9000 represents minimum quality requirements unlike Deming Prize (Japan), or Malcom Award (US), which require greater planning, as they are focused on customer satisfaction and excellence. Japan therefore has not adopted ISO: 9000 as its quality standard. SELECTION OF APPROPRIATE STANDARDS: ISO standards are used in two situations (1) Contractual purposes and (2) Internal quality assurance purposes. Appropriate standards from amongst the series of ISO standards must be selected by the organizations. ***********************

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