ISO 9000 Certification


Organizations that achieve certain quality standards can apply for ISO 9000 certification. This is administered by independent third parties who check quality management methods. For this you must:

  • Say what you are going to do about quality—describing procedures, operations and inspections;
  • Show that you actually do work in this way;
  • Prove that work was done properly by doing audits and keeping records.

Some people think that ISO standards guarantee high product quality—if you see the label, the product must be good. But really, the standard only shows that an organization has a program of quality management, and that the product quality is consistent and reliable. The quality need not necessarily be good. A manufacturer of metal bearings, for example, will specify the tolerance on the diameter of a bearing; ISO certification means that the bearings will be within this tolerance, but it does not judge whether the tolerance is good enough for any intended use.

There are five separate parts to the ISO 9000 standards:

a)      ISO 9000 defines quality, gives a series of standards an organization might aim for and guides you through the other parts of the series.

b)      ISO 9001 is used by companies whose customers expect them to design and make special products—it deals with the whole range of TQM, from initial product design and development, through to procedures for testing final products and services.

c)      ISO 9002 is used by companies who make standard products—it concentrates on the actual process, and how to document quality.

d)     ISO 9003 deals with final product inspection and testing procedures.

e)      ISO 9004 is a guide to overall quality management and related systems, and says what you should do to develop and maintain quality.

ISO 9000 and 9004 are guides for setting up quality management programs; ISO 9001 and 9002 are the main standards; and ISO 9003 describes some aspects of quality control. These standards are flexible enough to use in almost any organization.

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