Beating a Dead Horse?....ISO-registered or ISO-certified....THAT Is The Question

GStough

Staff member
Super Moderator
#1
I know we've had this discussion in the past, but I'm curious to know if anything has changed. Which is the most accurate term, in your professional opinion..... ISO:9001-certified company XYZ or ISO 9001:2008-registered company XYZ?

:tg:
 
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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#4
This IS an old topic. In the case of ISO 9001 you are registered to a standard by a registrar. But - You get a Certificate of Registration. Over the years it has become common practice to call it Certification, but the registrar doesn't certify anything and they even make you sign to say that you understand that they took a *sample* (their audit) and therefore there is no guarantee that they did not miss any nonconformances which may exist unbeknownst to them.

I was a big one to use the term Registration (as opposed to Certification) years ago, but I gave that word fight up. If a company wants to say they are "certified" to ISO 9001, so be it.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#5
This IS an old topic. In the case of ISO 9001 you are registered to a standard by a registrar. But - You get a Certificate of Registration. Over the years it has become common practice to call it Certification, but the registrar doesn't certify anything and they even make you sign to say that you understand that they took a *sample* (their audit) and therefore there is no guarantee that they did not miss any nonconformances which may exist unbeknownst to them.

I was a big one to use the term Registration (as opposed to Certification) years ago, but I gave that word fight up. If a company wants to say they are "certified" to ISO 9001, so be it.
I agree with Marc. Common usage of "certified" has made the distinction mostly irrelevant. I still hear people referring to being I-S-O certified, and I'm more bothered by the perception that ISO is an abbreviation than I am with the certified/registered part of it.
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#6
I agree with Marc. Common usage of "certified" has made the distinction mostly irrelevant. I still hear people referring to being I-S-O certified, and I'm more bothered by the perception that ISO is an abbreviation than I am with the certified/registered part of it.
You and I may be in the 1% of the 1% [who are even aware of the International Standards Organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland] who know that the organization uses the "ISO" as a word, not an abbreviation or acronym.

I, myself, only became aware of it a year or so ago when some guy at an ASQ Section meeting casually mentioned it.

I looked up a better explanation than I could paraphrase
The ISO standards are not named after an acronym. ISO comes from the Greek word ?isos? for equal. All ISO standards use the name ISO to mean ?isos? and not to mean an acronym. So now, no matter the country or language that ISO is used in, the ISO standards are always pronounced the same. It is not an I.S.O. standard as many people think. It is an ISO standard. ISO is one word. No pauses.
Now - don't ask me why they leave out the "s" in "isos" - I have no clue.

I do know that "iso" is a prefix meaning equal in words like isometric, isothermal, isobar.
 

somashekar

Staff member
Super Moderator
#7
One is certified by way of issue of a certificate that the organization meets the requirements as in ISO9001, by a CB.
This does not register the organization into the ISO in any way.
The ISO9001 certificate itself says this and does not mention about any registration, as far as I am aware.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#8
Neither is correct...An organization is certified or registered to and ISO standard, but is never registered by the ISO

ISO registered or certified alludes to the ISO itself doing the registration/certification, and that duck don't quack:nope:
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#9
This is from a presentation I did way back around 1996 (even though it says it was printed in 2004, which is when I printed it for publication here and had updated it for ISO 9001:2000):

"International Organization for Standardization (Isos = Equal)". I used to explain what "ISO" was (how it was derived from the word Isos) and that the International Organization for Standardization (IOS) was the organization that produced the "ISO" standards. I also explained that, as Randy and a couple of folks have pointed out, that the International Organization for Standardization does not certify anything. A registrar (aka CB {Certification Body}) does an audit to a standard. Noting more, nothing less.

I do disagree with Randy about one small thing:
Randy said:
An organization is certified or registered to and (sic) ISO standard
in that a registrar (CB if you wish) does not "certify" an organization to any standard. They will "register" a company to a specific standard. The company gets a certificate of registration, but the registrar does not "certify" a company to anything whether it be a standard, their quality system or company, their processes or product, or anything else.

The old argument which led to companies saying they are "certified" was/is the fact that they get a certificate. But, if you look at the certificate, it will say (at most) that it is a "Certificate of Registration" to <standard name or number here>.

During the mid-1990's and into the 2000's I got a lot of calls from lawyers over this, both with regard to an explanation of the whole thing, and some wanted me to appear as an "expert witness" (always in a liability case) which I always refused. A company would say they were "certified" to a standard which implied liability on the part of the registrar if the company (for example) made nonconforming product which injured someone. There were quite a few lawsuits back then. This is the reason a registrar (CB) will always point that out either in the opening meeting or the closing meeting (or both), and it is usually (if not always) written that their audit is a *sample*, as I said above, and that they are not responsible in any way if something happens (such as if they miss one or more major or minor nonconformance(s) in a company's systems). And if you look at registration certificates they all say something to the effect of "Certificate of Registration".

Also see Jim's comment in post 5 in this thread. When a company says they are "ISO Certified" it shows they do not understand the reality. This is quite common, but then my bet is that 95% (if not 99%) of companies who go through the registration process do so because a customer requires it or their sales organization talks upper management into it.

Some of you may remember the old question: "Can a company which manufactures concrete life preservers be ISO 9001 registered?" Of course the answer was (and is) Yes. Registration to ISO 9001 has nothing to do with the function of a company's product(s).
 
#10
My take is that the organization is Certified as Compliant. In the UK, where Certification took off in the late 80s/early 90s, the term was Certification Body. Organizations seek certification to be able to market themselves to customers who seek that quality assurance.

When the idea came to the USA an alternative term - Registrar - came into use, which (IMHO) just confused the story. Since there is no one comprehensive "Register" of organizations which are certified as compliant, then the idea of being listed on such a register is a little bizarre. What's more, a typical "registrar" usually simply maintains a list or register, but Certification Bodies do compliance audits. It seems to me to be an over simplification to call them a registrar.
 
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