Management of ISO Certification

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jajit...@gmail.com

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Jan 1, 2007, 12:20:41 AM1/1/07
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http://www.thequalityportal.com/gs/moic.htm

'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' was the catchy title
of a work on metaphysics of quality in early 1970s. A similar work in
twenty first century can be aptly named 'QAM and the Art of ISO
Certification'. The whole of services sector is currently flooded
with QAMs (Quality Assurance Managers) and quite ironically quality has
become the main casualty in the process. ISO (International Standards
Organisation or International Organisation for Standardisation) which
created these QAMs in the first place are now finding it difficult to
handle these demons (mostly in coat and tie). They resemble and have
begun to act like the legendary demon let off the ancient bottle by the
poor farmer. QAMs want ISO to survive but ISO is dying because of QAMs.
If ISO does not find out a way to contain the damage caused by these
QAMs (aided and abetted by the so-called certification agencies), ISO
might itself end up as a dirty word.

Certification and recertification of companies in the services sector
is one of the pet projects for any Quality professional. For the
companies it is a pre-requisite for attempting more business, but for
the QAM it is a few years of cushy and effortless job. The entire
system works like a big bad caucus. Current certification industry is
dominated by a few multi-national agencies and they themselves
demarcate their regions like some of the wild animals in the forest.
The tacit demarcation comes in the form of geographical areas or fields
of operation. But the competing parties always follow the dictum that
dog will not eat dog. It is very rare that one party gets into the
certification or re-certification program of another one. The
certification agencies know very well that 'united we stand and
divided we fall'. The last thing they want the world to know is their
trade secret of minting money with zero value addition.

O r i g i n a l C e r t i f i c a t i o n

Original certification of any new company in services sector under ISO
9001:2000 standards is a plum opportunity for the certification
agencies and QAMs. The willing prey first looks for a cheeky QAM to
guide it through the certification process. This first mistake itself
provides almost one to two years of substantial income for one of the
lucky QAMs in the specialised territory of the jungle. All that the QAM
invest in will be a couple of ties and coats to keep up his appearance
with the top brass of the organisation. As soon as a jackal takes over
guidance of the prey, the lions who own the territory are alerted. The
willing prey is prepared well for the kill with 'cut and paste'
procedures from QAMs' old stock and resources available from their
well oiled network. The copycat technology is so very obvious for
anyone who is willing to compare the quality procedures of a few
companies in the same services sector.

Once the prey is almost ready for the offering, the QAM sets the other
side rolling with a drama of competitive bids for identifying the
certification agency. The well organised network and racket among the
leading certification agencies and QAMs are more unknown to the general
public than their knowledge on quality as such. The bidding drama will
satisfy the top management of the company but the whole system works in
such a way that only the designated lion will get the prey in its area.
What follows as certification audit is well known to all those who have
seen it first hand. At best it can only be described as a murder of the
whole concept of quality. The much pampered Auditor sees only what he
is meant to see and the ISO certification is a foregone conclusion in
cent percent of the cases. The QAM is congratulated and he in turn
congratulated everyone in the organisation, especially the top
management, and the drama enters the second half.

S u r v e i l l a n c e & R e n e w a l s

Periodic Surveillance Audits provide the much needed oxygen feed for
the QAMs to survive within the body of the fallen prey. There are many
companies in the services sector where the top management dreams about
hiring a QAM only to get it certified and then to drop him after the
objective is achieved. Invariably they end up outsmarted by the QA
system. The ISO Certification Agency will put in enough conditions in
the certificate that will make it impossible to operate with out a QAM
on board. Brief Surveillance Audits, Detailed Renewal Audits,
Compulsory Internal Audits, Scope Augmentation Audits etc., indicated
by the ISO Certification Agency will always force the companies find
budget for a QAM in their midst. Ultimately most companies decide to
stick with the known demon than trying out another one unknown.

If the audit for original certification is an arranged drama, the
subsequent skits of Surveillance Audits are unparalleled mockery of
anything related to quality. It will not surprise anyone if we hear
about cases where Surveillance Audits take place even without a
physical visit by the Auditor to the premises of the company. If the
QAM is resourceful enough all external audits can be taken care of in
hotel rooms or through bank accounts. And if a visit did take place,
the Auditor will see only what is shown to him and even if he sees
serious breakdown of quality systems, his employer will ensure that the
certification continues. After all everyone is in business and business
means profit. How do we expect a business firm doubling as ISO
Certification Agency to uphold the values of quality against the stark
prospects of running into loss by losing business? Profit motive wins
and quality will always lose in business.

C o n c l u s i o n

This is the third and concluding part of my series on the misuse of ISO
name which I am afraid will eventually lead to its decline. What
started off as a professionally impartial process of certifying service
companies against lofty objectives of excellence in quality is being
hijacked by multi-national companies whose prime objective is to
maximise their profits.

To all those who think otherwise let me ask two simple questions -

- How many times have you seen or heard about a services company
failing to get ISO certification?
- How many times have you seen or even heard about revocation of ISO
certification for a company on the basis of a Surveillance Audit?

I have 25 years experience in the industry and I have never seen nor
heard about anyone incident so far. Should I need anymore proof?

John

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Jan 1, 2007, 11:27:40 AM1/1/07
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On 31 Dec 2006 21:20:41 -0800, jajit...@gmail.com wrote:

>http://www.thequalityportal.com/gs/moic.htm


>
>
>
>To all those who think otherwise let me ask two simple questions -
>
>- How many times have you seen or heard about a services company
>failing to get ISO certification?
>- How many times have you seen or even heard about revocation of ISO
>certification for a company on the basis of a Surveillance Audit?

I have done bith of these things in my role as an assessor.

--
John

Vicky

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Jan 1, 2007, 12:20:18 PM1/1/07
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Agree with John. Maintaining the ISO certification is an onerous and
quite a beneficial task, which unfortunately is white-washed by
dishonest companies (which fortunately are few and far between). It is
rather sad that you have experienced the dark side of things. We could
definitely be mindful of the things you mentioned though.

Oxebridge

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Jan 2, 2007, 10:33:04 AM1/2/07
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jajit...@gmail.com wrote:

>
> - How many times have you seen or heard about a services company
> failing to get ISO certification?
> - How many times have you seen or even heard about revocation of ISO
> certification for a company on the basis of a Surveillance Audit?
>
> I have 25 years experience in the industry and I have never seen nor
> heard about anyone incident so far. Should I need anymore proof?

With all due respect, this is an opinion piece that lacks any
supporting evidence. It's not a *bad* opinion piece, mind you, but just
one person's opinion. Some data would be nice.

As someone who has researched and written a great deal on the strengths
and weaknesses of ISO 9001 -- and its entire surrounding hierarchy of
players -- I have a bit of an expertise here. ISO 9001 and ISO are
failing the world, but not because it's a "racket". That is a common,
tired and overused cliche that has circulated around the ISO 9001 name
since it came out in 1987.

Delving into data and (of course) following the money reveals it's a
far different problem. But even then, nothing negates the potential,
overwhelming *goodness* of ISO 9001 and what can come of it when
properly implemented.

As to your final questions, I was an auditor for a few registrars for a
while, before I came to my senses. Right out of the gate, during my
first two audits as a Lead Auditor, I was forced to write major
nonconformities against the clients, effectively "failing" them (until
they fixed the problems, of course.) One was a service company, the
other a printing house (so combination manufacturing and service.) I
didn't want to write the major n/c's, but the evidence of the companies
having failed to implement ISO 9001 properly was so significant, it
couldn't be avoided. (In one company, they had done NO internal audits.
Ever. The other had over 400 uncontrolled work instructions in use.)

Finally, blaming the Quality Managers for the misuse of ISO 9001 is
very much like blaming the victim. Do more research, especially into
the organizations and individuals running the accreditation bodies,
registration companies and ISO itself -- and you'll see the picture is
even uglier than you thought.

But, again, it still does not negate the important positive impact ISO
9001 can have in improving quality, creating jobs, evolving economies,
and more.

CP

jajit...@gmail.com

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Jan 4, 2007, 5:06:46 AM1/4/07
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The easiest way to defeat a cause is to attack the people who dare to
take it up. 90% of QAMs are doing a dirty job and they are spoiling the
name of ISO and Quality (excluding QC). The only option in front of ISO
is to take over certification of its own (or national level
professional bodies in each country - working on non-profit basis) and
avoid the profit making companies from this business. Certification
should never be a business.

Wayne Lundberg

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Jan 5, 2007, 5:16:14 PM1/5/07
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<jajit...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1167905205....@42g2000cwt.googlegroups.com...

One thing Lowe's did that had a major impact on their getting ahead of Home
Depot... they did intensive "Spanish for supervisors" courses. I know. I was
one of the instructors.

Wayne

>


Andrew Morgan

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Jan 11, 2007, 7:30:23 AM1/11/07
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jajit...@gmail.com schrieb:

> This is the third and concluding part of my series

Thank god for that,

> - How many times have you seen or heard about a services company
> failing to get ISO certification?

You realise that quality is all about improvement and that a good
certification includes the possibility of a corrective loop if things
go wrong initially? No, you dont, do you.

> - How many times have you seen or even heard about revocation of ISO
> certification for a company on the basis of a Surveillance Audit?

Actually, I have experienced this. However, Quality certification is
not about exposing have-nots and separating them from the haves but
getting everyone to the same level. Noone wins from revoked
certfications - Companies on the wrong track that manage to pull
themselves together during or directly after an audit benefit everyone
involved. A good certification body will work towards this.

> I have 25 years experience in the industry

You might have 25 years of experience in something, you clearly have no
idea about quality.

> Should I need anymore proof?


No, but you should go away and find out what certification is for.
Indeed you could start with looking at what quality systems are for.
You clearly have no idea.


andy M

jajit...@gmail.com

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Jan 14, 2007, 4:03:14 AM1/14/07
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Real quality does not need any certification or certificates from QAMs
(like andyM). Quality is what quality does and not what is cerified or
promised by a stupid QAM.

Andrew Morgan

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Jan 17, 2007, 7:34:59 AM1/17/07
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jajit...@gmail.com schrieb:

Every post you make just underlines your lack of knowledge about the
intention and purpose of quality management systems.

> Real quality does not need any certification or certificates from QAMs

Well, quite apart from the fact that certification isnt issued by QAMs
(but you knew that, didnt you? Yes, I thought you did.) :

For itself? No. For others? Well perhaps. I couldnt be bothered to do a
canned "QMS 101" for you here but there is enough info on the web to
get you started.

> Quality is what quality does and not what is cerified

Absolutely. But then apart from you, very few people think that
certification is the same as quality. They certainly dont if they
understand what they are talking about, and unfortunately you don't
seem to.

> or promised by a stupid QAM.

Ah well. Stupid employees is the fault of stupid employers - You always
need to employ the people who will be of most use to you, so if you
employ a stupid QAM its your own fault. Even a stupid QAM doesnt have
much to do with certification requirements though.

Even if I were to take your arguements even vaguely seriously, by your
own logic you would need very clever QAMs to pull the wool over the
eyes of certifiers in order to smokescreen the fact that quality was
bad. A *stupid* QAM would surely immediately expose bad quality because
he wouldnt be bright enough to be able to hide it? If your unltimate
aim is good quality then surely stupid QAMs are better because they let
everyone see what the quality is really like?


andy M

Meindian

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Jan 17, 2007, 12:58:07 PM1/17/07
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Most QAMs that I know of are quality pimps busy arranging wine and
woman for the auditors. Wonder whether andy belongs to that category.

Andrew Morgan

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Jan 19, 2007, 5:01:15 AM1/19/07
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Meindian schrieb:

> Most QAMs that I know of are quality pimps busy arranging wine and
> woman for the auditors. Wonder whether andy belongs to that category.

Naa, wine doesnt go down well in Bavaria, Beer is more like it.

I did have an auditor however who was very appreciative of the
miniskirts that my incoming goods personnel used to wear - Does that
count?

andy M

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