WHAT IS ISO 9000?
ISO 9000 is a series of quality management systems standards created by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a federation of national standards bodies based in Geneva, Switzerland. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the member body representing the United States.
The ISO 9000 quality management standards are not specific to products or services, but apply to the processes that create them. The standards are generic in nature so that they can be used by manufacturing and service industries all over the world. First released in 1987 and revised in a limited manner in 1994, they underwent a major overhaul in 2000, and in 2008 interpretations were added to the ISO 9001:2000 standard.
The Origin of ISO 9000
ISO 9000 is the descendant of a number of earlier quality standards, including the British BS 5750 and DEF/STAN 05-8, the NATO AQAP-1 and the U.S. Department of Defense MIL-Q-9858A. The purpose for developing ISO 9000 was to simplify the international exchange of goods and services by creating a common set of quality standards.
BS 5750 had the greatest influence on this international standard when it was first released by ISO in 1987. Most industrialized nations quickly adopted harmonized versions of ISO 9000. These national versions, which are identical to the international standard, include the American ANSI/ISO/ASQ Q9000, sponsored by ANSI and the American Society for Quality (ASQ), and the European Union’s EN 29000.
ISO 9001 is intended to establish, document and maintain a system for ensuring the output quality of a process. It is not mysterious or esoteric, consisting instead of a group of common sense and generally well-known precepts laid out in an organized fashion.
When implemented correctly, ISO 9001 can offer your company several advantages. It will guide you to build quality into your products or services, and help you to avoid costly inspections, warranty costs and rework.
Today, the international standards are sanctioned by the European Union (EU), making ISO 9001 registration a virtual prerequisite for doing business in its member countries.