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ISO 9000 Certification Challenges

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Trade offs to consider for deciding to go for ISO 9000:

With the growing Indian economy, the number of small businesses is expanding dramatically. A good number of these organizations are getting majorly into exports and are managed & run by first generation young entrepreneurs who are tech & process savvy.
Over the past several years, the ISO 9000 series of quality standards certification has become a growing trend in India. Larger companies saw the immediate benefits of becoming certified, particularly those going global. Smaller companies, however, have not been as quick to jump on the bandwagon. Several factors seem to have come into play for this difference in attitude, which is now seen as fast changing.
What could be the reasons for delaying the decisions for many such smaller organizations planning to opt for ISO implementation?

In my opinion, the most common reason that small businesses use to explain why they do not want to pursue certification is cost. The hearsay information is that "it's going to cost you at least Rs. 250,000 to become certified including implementing the quality management system in the organization and another Rs. 50,000 a year to keep it going." Nothing could be further from the truth. Should cost be really the major factor in deciding to opt for ISO certification? Shouldn’t you weigh in the benefits that come after the end of the road?
Several other factors come into play, but company size has the largest impact on the number of days that must be spent in the implementation, certification and surveillance process. Are you ready to take up the challenges and go ahead for the certification?

Process Implementation Dilemmas:

In a small company, each employee most likely wears a number of hats, thus limiting the amount of responsibility that can be placed on each person. When implementing a quality system, this obviously causes overlapping of responsibilities. So how do you motivate and not overburden your employees?
An ISO 9001 quality system may be the answer for many companies by allowing the company to focus on problem areas and helping to streamline those processes as well as eliminate duplication of tasks.
Time can become a severe limitation for a small business. Implementation of a quality system and, ultimately, certification of that system, may take anywhere from 6 to 12 months, depending on a variety of factors, including resources, management commitment and employee buy-in. Small businesses may meet a variety of both internal and external obstacles on their road to certification.

Benefits of certification:

Those organizations that have experienced the euphoria of being officially informed that they are certified to the ISO 9001 standard have had the opportunity to reflect on the process and articulate the benefits of certification to their companies. Some of the perceived -- and actual -- benefits to those companies can be:

  • Documentation of the company's quality management system
  • Reduction and variability resulting both from documentation and the use of statistical techniques to monitor the system
  • Using their certification to help develop and expand business, particularly those Geographies where certification is a prerequisite for doing business
  • Reduction or elimination of customer audits
  • Increased profitability/reduced costs
  • Improved communications, both internal and external
  • Greater awareness of quality by employees, accompanied by enhanced pride in their jobs and contribution to the company's quality system
  • Provision of training to all personnel
  • Realization that meeting the requirements is not rocket science but common sense

Can you think of more such benefits?

The Management Representative and people who comprise top management, other employees, the reward system, teamwork, continuous improvement, understanding of ISO itself, measurement of performance and communication are all critical success factors for ISO 9001 implementation and certification.

Last modified on Tuesday, 21 December 2010 11:14

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