The structure of the ISO 9000 standards
The ISO 9000 series of standards consists of two broad categories of standards : core standards and supplementary guidance standards. We have to know about the structure of ISO 9000 standards.
The five core standards are :
ISO 9000-1: 1994. Quality management and quality assurance standards – Part 1 : regulations for selection and use. This standard clarifies principal quality- related concepts and provides guidance for the selection and use of the ISO 9000 family of standards for quality assurance and management.
ISO 9001 : 1994, Quality systems -help for quality assurance in development, design, installation, production and servicing.
ISO 9002 : 1994 , Quality systems – help for quality assurance in production, servicing and installation.
ISO 9004-1 : 1994 Quality management and quality system elements – Part 1 : Guidelines. This standard is meant for internal use by organizations and provides guidance in designing and implementing a quality system. So that can meet their market needs and achieve overall success.
It should be noted that the quality assurance models set out in standards ISO 9001, ISO 9002 and ISO 9003 represent three distinct quality system requirements suitable for two-party contractual purposes. These standards also form the basis for third-party certification. Standard ISO 9004, on the other hand, is not intended for contractual, regulatory or certification purposes.
Product and system standards
Since the concept of quality systems is comparatively new, most people confuse ” product-quality standard” and “quality-system-standard.
The product-quality standard specifies various characteristics or parameters which the product must meet. If it is to conform to the product standard. The basic principle in product certification approves an manufacturer, through a license, to use the prescribed certification stamp on a product.
The quality-system-standard specifies the solution of managing quality in a company to make that products focus to the quality level that it has set for itself. A company is free to set any quality standard or level for its products on the basis of marketing considerations and customer requirements.
A quality-system-standard assists the company to plan and consistently manage the requisite product quality standard. In a contractual situation, implementation of the ISO 9000 system will help the company clearly to understand customer requirements. The operation of various functional departments will be so managed to ensure that the final product or service fully meets contractual requirements.
Since ISO 9000 defines a system for managing quality in generic terms. It applies universally to all products and services. This standard is equally relevant to companies manufacturing different types of product; organizations in various service sectors such as hospitals, hotels and airlines; and utilities providing power, water and telecommunications services.
The standards can be used by companies employing a few persons as well as those work force runs into thousands. A company can get third-party certification if it can demonstrate that in its management of quality, it is following with all the relevant clauses of one of the ISO standards : 9001, 9002 or 9003.
Benefits of ISO 9000 quality systems
ISO 9000 quality systems bring various benefits to their users. The major purpose of an effective quality system is to inspire confidence among customers in a contractual situation. It is also of immense value to the suppliers themselves, because it enables them to achieve customer satisfaction cost effectively. If all tasks were carried out correctly the first time, there would be no waste, costs would be minimized and profit maximized. An effective quality system confers the following benefits on the supplier:
It enables them to identify and plan tasks and their method of performance in order to yield the right results.
Provides the means for resolving and identifying problems and preventing their recurrence, thereby developing conformance.
It changes staff to manage their own operations, thereby reducing fire-fighting and freeing managers from constant intervention in business operations. This will help to create quality awareness and job satisfaction among employees.
Provides a means for documenting the company’s experience. This can serve as the basis for training staff and thus for improving their performance.
It provides data that can be used to determine the performance level of operating processes and products and to effect improvements.
It generates objective evidence to demonstrate the quality of products and the effectiveness of systems and thus to build confidence among customers.
Implementing a quality system based on ISO 9000 can help transform an ad hoc method of quality control into an organized and cost-effective quality-management system. By combining high quality with low cost, this can give the company a tremendous competitive advantage.
An ever-increasing number of companies all over the world are implementing quality-system standards internally. In addition, the bigger companies are insisting that their suppliers implement certified quality systems. It is therefore imperative for companies in developing countries to adopt quality systems based on ISO 9000. This would greatly help in the improvement of their image, their credibility and their acceptability in international markets, factors essential for success in the export trade.
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