Is Certification possible? A department within an organisation


Johan G

I have a question.
I have just joined a quality group in a department of an organisation. The organisation as a whole is not aiming for aiso 9000 certificate. The organisation is more into TQM and feel that a certificate is not nessery. However my department manger want to have a certificate for our department. The organisation as a whole has just started with quality. To my question. Our department has no Human resourses, no purchasing and we have not an own information system inside our department. Can we get a certificate anyway. If so, how can we prove that we have control over these parts wich do have an other approch towards quality and maybe do not fulfill all requirements in the standard.
If we cant, can you specify better than i did above?
Many thanks for your ansver in advance.

The organisation has appr.
1440 employees. abt 1000 work in my department.

Greg Mack

Dear Johan,

Firstly, whether they call it TQM, QA, ISO, TQC, or whatever, if you have 1400+ employees with no HR or controls over purchasing, I think now would be a good time to start!

It doesn't really matter if you obtain a "certificate" or not, that is really only for marketing purposes at the end of the day. Although having an independent assessment of your system is important feedback.

If you feel that you need to implement a system with the desired controls and disciplines, then by all means do it. Don't worry about obtaining a certificate. Obviously your top management do not see this as a measure of the system's success or the company's success in the marketplace.

If this is the way you all decide to go, I would also suggest looking at 9004 as a guideline approach rather than the basic requirements of 9001.

As for your department managers, I would suggest that you make your own internal certification program. Then they can get their certificate endorsed by top management if that is what they really want - just a bit of recognition.

I'm sure many others will have a lot to say about this. I will sit back and enjoy.

Al Dyer


Your Quote

"To my question. Our department has no Human resourses, no purchasing and we have not an own information system inside our department. Can we get a certificate anyway."

If you are asking if your department can be registered as opposed to the company I would say no.

By the way, what type of business are you?


[This message has been edited by Al Dyer (edited 17 February 2001).]

Dan Larsen

This represents a rather unconventional approach. I'm not even sure if you'd be able to locate a registrar that would consider this (would the certificate be issued to "The ABC Department of the XYZ Company"?) But it does raise some interesting scenarios.

Consider the department as a "company unto itself". As a company, it has both internal customers and internal suppliers. I suppose a departmental ISO compliant system could be written in this context.

The "executive management" would be the Department Manager. Support services to the department could be subject to control through a purchasing system of sorts, where the internal support departments would be "approved suppliers". I guess it would just take some creative definition. The idea of a ISO registered department in a non-registered company provides an interesting mental exercise!

Don't get me wrong, Johan, I really don't advocate this approach. I think your department manager should concentrate on convincing upper management that certification is the way to go (with nearly 70% of the workforce in his department he should have some influence). Concentrate on the cost benefit of the ISO system and how customers of the company (both existing and potential) would view the company if it had a certified system.

Al the Elf


We already operate in exactly the mode you suggest. The manufacturing function is registered to supply product to 7 Internal Business Units (who then supply "real" customers). We in manufacturing gather requirements from our customers (the Internal businesses) and measure how satisfied they are with our delivery.

I agree that it is sub-optimal. It would be a great deal better to engage the commercial end of the organisation in an holistic approach. Unfortunately they have been thoroughly put off ISO900X by over zealous bureaucracy that was a strong feature of corporate implementation in the early years (BS5750 in late eighties). Our intent is to start demonstrating some best practice and to try to spread back into this commercial arena later on, probably without talking much about ISO standards.

From our experience there would be no issue for Johan in getting registered - they must do recruitment and purchasing. If these are done by groups outside the registration scope, then they become a subcontracted service. Johan will need to define all the usual purchasing stuff for these services e.g. documentation, timescale, quality system, criteria for assessment, etc. I bet they actually do this anyway, although probably not in an auditable way.

Greg - I love your idea about internal certification as a recognition tool, with the inevitable spin off of top management involvement. Have you seen this implemented, and if so how did it work ?

Cheers, Al.

[This message has been edited by Al the Elf (edited 20 February 2001).]
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