ISO 9002-certified, AAR M-1003 accredited

Having (proudly) avoided woring in the business world (or in a standard, office type environment) for most of my adult life, I have NO IDEA wha these mean.

Anyone care to enlighten me? Why is this so important that complanies proudly announce that they are certified/accredited?

Geez! How many typos can I have in one post? (That’s a rhetorical question)

ISO 9000 is a quality management system standard. It’s a basic set of guidelines that lay out a variety of processes an organization puts in place; e.g. you have to create procedures for identifying training needs, and you have to perform the training, and you have to have documented evidence it was done. Other aspects include design of products, product testing, management responsibility, suitability of facilities, service, internal communication, stuff like that, purchasing, stuff like that; it’s very wide ranging but it’s very general, so an organization has to write its own procedures based on the basic requirements of the standard. That’s called a “quality manual.”

If you put an ISO 9000 system in place, you can pay a registrar to audit you. Registrars are auditing companies, certified by whatever the national government standards body is, that do this sort of thing. Some major registrars include KPMG, QMI/CSA, Lloyd’s of London, and others. In North America, QMI (part of CSA, the Canadian Standards Association, which despite its name is pretty big in the US) is the biggest, but BSI isn’t far behind. Actually, they may be tied now.

The registrars send auditors in who look over your whole quality system. If they find areas where you don’t meet the standard, they give you “nonconformance reports” and you have to fix them. If you fix them, then they “Register” you - they recognize you as complying with the system and you get to put up banners and stuff. You must be audited at LEAST once a year to continue your registration.

Most ISO 9000 registered companies are for-profit corporations, but at least a few are government departments. Here in Toronto, the custodial services division of a school board is ISO 9000 certified. There is an Indian tribe in Canada whose band council is ISO certified.

The 9002 refers to the specific version of the standard. The 1994 version of ISO 9000 came in three flavours; ISO 9001, which includes all the requirements, ISO 9002, which includes them all EXCEPT design, and ISO 9003, which leave out a few others. However, starting this year, there’s only one version, ISO 9001-2000, that covers all companies.

There are other management system standards too:

ISO 14000 - Environmental management
ISO 18000 - Health and safety management
B619 CSMS - Trucking safety management
TL 9000 - Quality for telecommunications firms
AS 9000 - Quality for aerospace firms
QS 9000 - Quality for automotive suppliers
ISO EC 25 - Forensic laboratory management
B819 - Sustainable Forestry

… And others.

AAR M-1003 is an advanced engineering version of ISO 9000.

Because some companies and governments will not buy products from places that do not have this certification.

It is also to my estimation extremely worthless. Dilbert cartoons often make fun of ISO9000 but I think he is being much to kind.

It is worse than worthless; it actually causes more harm than good.

I know all about the ISO-9001 bullsh*t. I helped get our labs accredited, and they made me the “quality manager.” (I’m still the quality manager.) And we might actually do quality work if it wasn’t for ISO.

Sorry, sorry, sorry. I’ll stop there. But when I start thinking about what an absolute waste of money and time ISO is, I get hot under the collar…

ISO9000 came about because the French didn’t want to work harder so they came up with a scheme to make every body else less efficiently.

Actually, it’s based on a Canadian standard, and the actual ISO organization is based in Switzerland.

ISO 9000 is no more “useless” than anything else; it’s just a model for organizing things. Done right, it’s reasonably effective at keeping track of what’s you’re doing. Done wrong, you’re wasting your money. With all due respect, Crafter_Man, if you’re the Quality Manager and your system sucks, it’s your fault. I’ve seen companies that needed it and were helped by it, and companies that didn’t and weren’t.

The topic of the worthlessness of the standard is best left to another forum. Let’s stick to the facts here.

bibliophage
moderator GQ