Martin Bailey

A really fundamental question here folks. What are forum members views about the benefits of implementing ISO 9000 (1994) across a group of companies? How do you feel the standard should be introduced? We all know the benefits with respect to our own company, but I would be interested to hear other peoples views, ie the advantages as you see them.
Best regards

David Mullins

Jeez Martin, a big question with not much info.

Can we assume that the group of companies are answerable to a central HQ?
Are we talking about a business sector, e.g. the effect of implementing ISO 9001 throughout the steel industry?
Are you looking for the range of benefits over a cross section of industry types?

Any web search on quality benefits should give you the standard answers in relation to your question. Are you after something different/specific?



Fully vaccinated are you?
My first question would be what's the status of the company as a whole now ('health')? ARE there quality problems? Are there current improvement programs? ARE your customers satisfied and if you say yes how do you know.

Then comes the marketing end (which is typically the first area to beat the drum for ISO because customers are asking for it or they have heard ISO 9 registration is becoming 'de rigour').

Between these two issues the question of why you want to do it will be answered.

At the very least, a gap analysis at each facility would help you in determining status so you can draft a road map to compliance. As far as implementations themselves, they are like any other improvement project - you're opening your eyes, focusing resources and investigating. At the same time a lot of 'house keeping' goes on (do we still really need to keep this 1964 soldering spec?). Discipline is also addressed. I'm pro-implementation. I'm not sure post-implementation survalience by a registrar is really a plus unless there's a low level of internal discipline.

With respect to your 'group of companies' criteria (in addition to David's questions) - my question is are they inter-related now? If so, how so? Same quality manual? Any common procedures? Common processes? Is there an intent or desire to standardize?

Martin Bailey

Thanks for the suggestions so far. The questions I posted are from an assignment for college. The question reads 'The Managing Director of Airways Travel Agents, a national organisation, has recently attended a seminar where the benefits of BSENISO 9000:1994 were refered to. This interested him, so he instructed you (as a branch manager and having some knowledge of BSENISO 9000) to prepare a report for him on how implementing the standard would benefit the group of companies. Your report should comprise of the following;
1. Any benefits the Company would experience by implementing the standard.
2. Which part of the standard to consider and why.
3. A general review of the documentation that would be required and what it should include, ie format, clauses etc.
4. How you suggest the standard should be implemented.
You should also offer a conclusion as to whether or not you consider that the organisation should proceed with the introduction of such a Quality Management System and why.'
There are many variables in this question which remain either assumed or unknown. For example, the state of health of the company is unknown and whether a QMS exists. It would be desirable to implement the same processes for each branch office and the Quality Manual would be a global document. Part 3 of the question is causing me some concern, am I required to include supporting industry standards, for example?
Looks as if I will be burining the midnight oil for some weeks to come!

Best wishes

David Mullins

Food for thought.

1. The expected benefits not only include increased efficiency, increased profitability, reduced waste, greater job security, greater control over processes and consistently meeting expectations, but also credibility, marketability, providing a competitive edge, providing regular tune-ups for our organisation, corporate pride and prestige. These are standard benefits which you could evaluate against the travel agent scenario (i.e. come up with specific items, e.g. standardised best current practice questions to ask customer ensures the required information to create a travel plan and book all arrangements is captured first time at bat, thus reducing overall processing time and increasing efficiency).

2. ??? I'm guessing here that you need to assess each clause/requirement to determine what will apply and what won't, and reasons for inclusion or omission. A gap analysis or system audit checklist could be used for this purpose.

3. One of the aspects here is that all offices presumably are working to one electronic system that provides information on flights, transfers, event tickets, etc. This system provides business rules which are automatically enforced, thus eliminating the need for some documentation. I suppose the old documentation pyramid provides an overview of the documentation typically required. Then you need to provide a breakdown of what is typically found in these different levels of document.
Some of this is covered in an employee quality awareness training document I developed located at: - Look for Employee_Awareness1098.doc
The standard also tells you (4.1 & 4.2) what the policy, manual and system procedures should contain.

4. I suppose you have a choice of blanket, phased or staged implementation. Blanket = all branches together. Phased = implementing facets of the system across the organisation at a time (e.g. setting up doc control and corrective action everywhere first, then add contract review and process control, then add ….. (Australian Standard AS4500 actually provides approaches for this with a three module and combination options – I have a copy)). Staged = a branch or group of branches at a time. One of the problems with multiple site certifications/registrations is the culture and process differences between sites. In this situation you could expect that this variation would have a reduced impact, given the electronic business rule enforcement already mentioned. This makes staged implementation more attractive – implement the system at one site, get the bugs out of it there, rather than de-bugging all branches at the same time (if all the branches are continually having their procedures modified in an attempt to ‘get it right’, they may lose confidence in the system all together), and then piggy-back the other branches.
Additionally, under the 4.19 SERVICE banner I would sell customer feedback (surveys) as a major source of measurement and improvement (travel agencies often never see the customer again, unless they got it all correct and the customer comes back to them next time). This is a major learning opportunity for the organisation. Look at our operation from the eyes of the customer. What are their needs, as opposed to our perception of their needs. You can even measure feedback success rates by branch. This helps you improve your business, win customers, get repeat business and get customer referrals (when your satisfied customers hear a tale of travel agent woe, they’ll say “you should have gone to Airways Travel Agents, they never have problems like that”).

Another question is - would you recommend seeking certification/registration? This can only be decided by assessing the ROI. If the organisation is responsible and committed, they can glean the benefits without the added cost – but lose the marketability factor.

Any way, oil prices are down, you can afford to burn some!


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