When many years ago working as a Purchase manager being interviewed by an ISO consultant about how my dept satsifies (or didnt) the ISO 9001 element on Purchasing, i asked him if he would like to see my evidence that certified suppliers were actually delivering worst quality than none- certified suppliers.
Althoug i was bluffing out of badness, his nervous shifting in his seat told me that he may believe this to be true. Now before the ISO freeks jump out of their seat i should tell you a story.
When recently working as a ....ISO Consultant, a company that i had implemented a system into showed me their 6 month old Supplier List, and of 6 'Blocked/Dropped' supplier guess how many did not have ISO.
I am sceptical about companies saying that they are better becuase they have ISO, but if i had no other way of verifing a suppliers ability, and i was faced with a choice between a supplier that had ISO and supplier that didnt, i would opt for the supplier with it.
I read an article a couple of months back, the article based on whether or not ISO benefits were noticable. Dr. Juran's response was right on the money, IMHO. He mentioned that ISO in itself falls short for an organization. An organization must do more to be successful. In addition, he warned the reader about the troubles of enumerative studies such as this, such that no single group has approached this as an analytical problem, and the results of previous studies should be viewed as informational only.
So are organizations that are registered better than those that aren't? Probably not. I couldn't lean toward a company that was ISO registered over a company that was not to manufacture a part. What might sway organizations to select the registered company might not have anything to do at all with Quality. Instead, selection may be based on Customer perception and the ease of their own Approved Supplier List maintenance.
The ISO frenzy is clouding judgement. ISO is not a cure all solution. When the dust settles, I think many folks will realize that Dr. Juran is right.
The other thing to watch for here is that suppliers will use words like, "ISO compliant" or something along those lines. It does not mean ISO registered (3rd party), it simply means that they want to take advantage of the "market aspects" of ISO, but not to necessarily change/document their quality system. Yes, I agree, that ISO is just a beginning for any quality system. We have spent many threads discussing that one! (I'm sure anyone can review the old forum for some interesting discussion there.)
You bring up a good point, as you normally do, regarding "ISO Compliant". I think that it might be a good idea for any organization to consider whether or not an ISO registration means anything to themselves, or their customers. This is especially true of an organization that is not interested in the added cost of ISO, but still would like to apply the guidelines to the construction of their own QS. Formalized or not, the organization may adopt in part, or in whole, the essence of the standard.
The problem as I see it is two fold. Many organizations that could be compliant with ISO, but do not value the "marketing edge" it may bring, could be overlooked prematurely by an organization smitten with ISO registration as a requirement. Also, those organizations whom require ISO may be acting on false preconceptions that ISO means Quality. Either way, good partnerships can be overlooked for the wrong reasons, or bad ones created for all the "right" reasons. My feeling; more often the bad relationships will be created because an organization places to much value on an ISO registration. A good company, whether ISO registered or not, stands a better chance at establishing partnerships because their reputation precedes them.
My opinion, I would rather be compliant, but not necessarily registered. ISO in my estimation accounts for very little in creating a Quality Culture. But it is a customer requirement, so we are.
As far as suppliers being compliant instead of registered, I think is merely because management wants all the benefits of certification without the cost, resource, obligation, time and energy put into deserving the certificate. But they want customers to think they are gunho so they imply they are compliant.
I evaluate suppliers, and if it is done to get benefit instead of simply abiding by the standard, I must say there can be quite a difference in registered suppliers and so-called compliant suppliers. And I would pick a supplier who is registered over one who isn't. Because there is a difference in a company who is registered to a standard requiring calibration and a company who is interested in just-in-time get it out the door and make a buck manufacturing.
All very valid stuff. In my searches so far the closest I have come to any real performance survey of suppliers is a UK study which concentrated on defining a world's best practice model for suppliers, which stated that ISO is nice, but a supplier with an engrained TQM culture will provide you with the best service/cost/delivery/product (quality).
Being hard-nosed, I'd still like to see an actual report/survey that compares the performance of suppliers at various levels of recognised achievement. E.g. non-certified; ISO 9001/2/3 certified; TQM recognised; Award winners (Baldrige and the like). Has anyone seen such a beast?
This is a fascinating question. The discussion could go in any number of directions according to how one defines and measures "performance".
Response time for customer concerns? OT delivery? ppm of delivered stuff?
I think one could generalize. But, as I stated in another thread, recently, I have not seen any meaningful data based on a statistically significant sample of "certified" firms that registration has been beneficial. That being so, I am tempted to believe there is no definitive evidence that certified suppliers will outperform non-certified ones. And, considering the discussion about "fines" imposed onto auto suppliers who have been cudgeled into QS 9K TS etc., one might suspect the mighty auto industry (which is rampant with so-called CS2 costs - which should be unnecessary if "certification" was effective) has not seen much difference.
In the final analysis, perhaps each customer must decide for itself on the basis of whatever evidence it has. But, does the lack of data also suggest few customers actually collect, collate and analyse the associated data concerning supplier performance?
If you ask the relatives of the hundreds of people killed or injured by tire blow-outs on Ford Explorers, they will probably less than convinced the performance of the BF plant that was "certified" amounted to anything in terms of "better performance".