Can (and should) you do ISO 9001 in a single department/area?

Sidney Vianna

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#1
Although, I dis agree with their view, I refer to one of the certification bodies and theyadvised me that it can be applicable and can be certified to ISO9001.
As ISO 9001 becomes a global phenomenon, from the early days in the UK, to Europe to North and South America to Asia and now slowly (but surely) reaching Africa, we seem not able to learn from the mistakes others have made. We seem destined to keep repeating the same stupid errors, over and over.

Certainly, if you ask enough CB's, you will find one that will encourage you to attain certification of a single department. After all, you are a revenue opportunity for them.

I work for a very large, international CB, with over 70,000 management system certificates issued around the World, and would tell you: It does not make any sense whatsoever for an individual department of an organization to attain certification to ISO 9001. You will create artificial controls and procedures, attain certification, but the organization will see no real benefit.
And, in the unlikely event that your external clients are knowledgeable enough, certification of an individual department might even be detrimental to your organization, because an observant customer, when faced with your certificate would ask: why would this organization certify a separate department only?

Paraphrasing NIKE: JUST DON'T DO IT!
 
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JaneB

#2
Re: ISO 9001:2008 for Marketing and Sales Department Only.

Our company after finishing of creating & implementing the system, thinks to go directly for certification.

I would like to know your suggestions regarding what should be excluded and what shouldn't be excluded.:thanks:
I don't fully understand this question - could you please clarify your meaning? 'Excluded' from what? From the scope of your system? Your certification? Something else?? Because, you see, as you're already finding "although M&S department is not involving in recruitment process" you still must meet all the requirements for competency - indeed, you must meet all requirements throughout! You only get to exclude things from scope in section 7 and only where appropriate. There's an excllent document from ISO's technical committee called Guidance on ISO 9001 Sub-clause 1.2 'Application' which you should read for guidance on scope exclusions (plus anything else on the page - all useful).

:topic:

I'm calling this offtopic, as the OP isn't actually asking 'should we do this'? at all and may not have a say in that decision.

I will though disagree with Sidney and Stijloor here about there never being value in restricting certification to a single department or area of a company. In my experience, it not only can be done but also it isn't always a bad idea in & of itself.

Some advantages include: being able to start with a restricted area, learn what's involved without trying to 'eat the whole elephant at once', gaining traction, getting some 'runs on the board', etc, and then migrating that knowledge out to widen it - kind of like doing a pilot project. What's the problem? Also, at times the whole organisation doesn't want/need certification, whereas one specific section/department/business area/contractual arrangement/line of products does.

Some disadvantages include: why do it? because if doing it under the mistaken belief that you can drop out large sections of the Standard, instead you'll find that, as it's a quality management system, you have to apply the requirements to most/many areas of the company anyway (so the reasoning goes, why not do it all). Also, how does the organisation as a whole benefit, etc.

I do agree it does sound a little odd on the face of it and it isn't normal to do it on a departmental basis. But I'd prefer to have more info & adequate before advising 'Just don't do it!' or drawing the following conclusion:

I am afraid that the main purpose of this approach is to get the "paper" on the wall or use it for questionable advertising purposes.
For example, it's possible that the M&S area is the one where the bosses see the greatest risks, the most need and the most potential gain. We don't know (not enough info).

Given your position with major certifiers, you may of course both have plenty of experience of the problems you both cite happening. My experience has been different. Yes, of course the organisation must not use certification of one department to claim/pretend/infer that the whole company is and/or mislead people. But that's no different for anyone.
 

Sidney Vianna

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#3
Re: ISO 9001:2008 for Marketing and Sales Department Only.

What's the problem?
The basic problem is that ISO 9001 implementation makes sense, when the customer(s) we focus on are the external, paying customers. When an organization attempts to implement ISO 9001 using "internal customers and suppliers", the implementation drives unsustainable processes and procedures. Who is the customer of a sales and marketing department? How would the mandatory procedures for control of non-conforming products read like for a sales and marketing department? What kind of "internal customer" satisfaction methodology would make sense for a sales and marketing department?

Yes, based on my experience and judgement, a compartmentalized, departmental implementation of ISO 9001 has always led to unsustainable and sub-optimizing processes.

Maybe you can share a successful case that you are familiar with.
 
#5
Re: Can (and should) you do 9001 in a single department/area?

I'm going to agree with Sidney. I have had several experiences of large companies doing what the OP asked about - in 'large' companies.

Now, 'large' is an imprecise term, so I'll qualify that by saying these companies are in the news right now and in Michigan!

There will always be a CB who will want to get a foot in the door and I'm amazed that accreditation bodies haven't seen through this type of certification - they just don't work!

I see Jane's point and I believe that using one part of the organization as a 'pilot' implementation - especially in a large business - is a good idea. But it should stop before certification! Indeed, the pilot organization could even undergo a compliance audit by the chosen CB, as a learning experience, but no certificate should be issued until all relevant other parts of the company have also implemented the QMS.

Such an approach has a number of benefits without the broken, disjointed 'department by department' approach which has some getting a certificate before others, so they can walk away from any issues saying 'we're done, we're compliant'........
 

Big Jim

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#7
Re: Can (and should) you do 9001 in a single department/area?

The biggest issue here in my mind would be motive. This case is about a company that only wants to register marketing and sales.

The obvious prime motive would be the marketing advantage of claiming ISO 9001:2008 registration. That is that they would have a competitive edge by claiming registration. I'm sure this would be the first thing to come to mind for any customer that recognized the limitations of the scope of registration. How is this really going to make them a better supplier?

Once they are registered, would they be forthright about the scope limitation? Or would they attempt to make it look as though the entire organization was registered?

Pardon my skepticism, but all too often I see companies that are driven to registration because their sales and marketing group want the competitive advantage, and then the company does their best to minimally comply with the requirement.

To me, this looks like an end run around truly embracing what ISO 9001:2008 can do for a company if properly implemented.

I truly would have a hard time being convinced that there was a legitimate reason for starting with the sales and marketing group.
 

Sidney Vianna

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#8
Re: Can (and should) you do 9001 in a single department/area?

Once they are registered, would they be forthright about the scope limitation? Or would they attempt to make it look as though the entire organization was registered?
ISO 17021 stipulates that a CB must require their certified clients not to use certification in a misleading way. Additionally, the certificate itself (issued by the CB) has to clearly state the scope of certification and identify the actual organization being certified. That is why I said:
And, in the unlikely event that your external clients are knowledgeable enough, certification of an individual department might even be detrimental to your organization, because an observant customer, when faced with your certificate would ask: why would this organization certify a separate department only?
A "certified" transmission in a bad car will not get you anywhere...
But it is a selling argument for an used car salesman...
 
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Jim Wynne

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#9
Re: ISO 9001:2008 for Marketing and Sales Department Only.

I'm calling this offtopic, as the OP isn't actually asking 'should we do this'? at all and may not have a say in that decision.

I will though disagree with Sidney and Stijloor here about there never being value in restricting certification to a single department or area of a company. In my experience, it not only can be done but also it isn't always a bad idea in & of itself.

Some advantages include: being able to start with a restricted area, learn what's involved without trying to 'eat the whole elephant at once', gaining traction, getting some 'runs on the board', etc, and then migrating that knowledge out to widen it - kind of like doing a pilot project. What's the problem? Also, at times the whole organisation doesn't want/need certification, whereas one specific section/department/business area/contractual arrangement/line of products does.

Some disadvantages include: why do it? because if doing it under the mistaken belief that you can drop out large sections of the Standard, instead you'll find that, as it's a quality management system, you have to apply the requirements to most/many areas of the company anyway (so the reasoning goes, why not do it all). Also, how does the organisation as a whole benefit, etc.
<snip>
For example, it's possible that the M&S area is the one where the bosses see the greatest risks, the most need and the most potential gain. We don't know (not enough info).

Given your position with major certifiers, you may of course both have plenty of experience of the problems you both cite happening. My experience has been different. Yes, of course the organisation must not use certification of one department to claim/pretend/infer that the whole company is and/or mislead people. But that's no different for anyone.
The problem with this line of reasoning is that it's possible to have a "dress rehearsal" without a CB's participation and imprimatur. The scant number of initial CB audits that result in no certification is compelling evidence, I think. In other words, a company isn't likely to summon the CB unless they're pretty sure they're ready. It's a simple matter to review the system in its small-scale version and determine whether it's working or not, so other than wanting the cachet of the certificate, there's no good reason to limit the scope of the registration.
 

John Broomfield

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#10
Re: Can (and should) you do 9001 in a single department/area?

JaneB asked me to split this part of the thread ISO 9001:2008 for Marketing and Sales Department Only to this new one in order to prevent the OP's question from getting lost in the debate at the same time as we keep this very worthwhile discussion going.

Here it is. Back to the discussion:


/Claes
Departmental Procedures are an oxymoron (departmental work instructions to support the processes that run through their departments may be okay).

Departmental management often is the enemy of process management. Departments tend to focus on keeping the boss happy whereas processes are usually run to keep the customer happy.

Historically, departments were mainly for career development. These days processes are for making customers more successful.

Taking the departmental approach to developing your organization's management system is unlikely to result in an efficient and effective process-based management system for the organization as whole. One must consider the whole system for it to work well.

Management may not realize what they are doing when they try to use their traditional command and control (departmental) thinking to develop the organization's management system.:whip:
 
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