Academic journal article Global Journal of Business Research

Proposals for the Implementation and Improvement of ISO 9001

Academic journal article Global Journal of Business Research

Proposals for the Implementation and Improvement of ISO 9001

Article excerpt


The ISO 9001 quality management system (QMS) includes a method of continuous improvement put in place in 1994. Through this system, audits and reviews are performed to identify, correct and prevent problems. Although the method of continuous improvement, combined with adherence to annual quality objectives, is an important part of the QMS, only a few business managers and quality professionals seem to acknowledge its significance. Whether the organization uses QMS or other improvement programs such as Six Sigma, Lean and TPM, it faces the same key question: how to ensure that methods that were beneficial during the execution of a project have continuity in the organization after the project has ended? One method of ensuring continuity is to apply QMS at the end of a project. Many organizations acquire and use ISO 9001 QMS in a limited way, for marketing purposes among other things, without taking a full advantage of its beneficial features. This paper analyzes various ways by which an organization can use the most beneficial characteristics of ISO 9001 QMS to improve its operations. The paper contributes to an ongoing discussion on the content and implementation of a quality system version related to ISO 9001 QMS, known as ISO 9001:2008. The paper proposes revisions that will make substantial improvements to ISO 9001:2008.

JEL: L20; L21; L23; M10; M11

KEYWORDS: ISO 9000, quality management system, performance improvement, process approach


ISO 9001 QMS has been in use for more than 20 years and has become the most popular industrial standard with more than 1 million organizations using the technique. The suitability of ISO 900 1 is therefore important for those organizations. If it is not suitable, they may invest time and energy into it without real positive impacts on their businesses. ISO 9001 is not immune to criticism. This paper discusses common arguments against ISO 9001 QMS and reviews their counter arguments. The literature review specific areas of quality and business management research issues. Two most important areas are tacit knowledge and process management. Several good features of ISO 9000 are identified and their ability to improve quality is discussed. By analyzing the present content and interpretations of ISO 9000, the author finds areas for improvement like the process approach. The paper closes with concluding comments about the present state of ISO 9001 standard.


The benefits and functionality of ISO 9001 quality management system has generated criticism from time to time. Curkovic and Pagell (1999) list some typical arguments against ISO 9000 like: the system is not directly connected to product quality, an organization does not need to demonstrate that its customers are satisfied, it is paper-driven and overly bureaucratic. Seddon (1998) identifies many examples of the harmful effects of ISO 9000: ISO 9000 makes things worse for their customers, ISO 9000 is inspection oriented and not development oriented, contract reviews have harmful effects, external auditors define quality and organizations do not achieve the promised results.

Symonds (1998), who serves as EHS (Environment, Health and Safety) Audit Manager in Mobil Corporation has responded to claims presented by Seddon. He presents two general observations. First, the people who criticize ISO 9000 are usually not directly involved in its implementation. Second, one should not blame the tool, if it is not used properly. These observations make sense in regard to all business systems, methods and tools. Thus, some companies achieve good results by implementing any well-known method while others, using the same tools, manage to only increase costs and frustration levels.

What explains the failure of some companies to use quality management tools for the benefit of the organization? Usually the root cause of failure can be found in the top and middle management who lack the skills needed for interpreting and implementing results obtained through QMS. …

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