ISO 9001 - Design Control in Service Industries


Fully vaccinated are you?
Subject: Re: Q: Service Design Control?? /Parra/Randall
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 09:34:43 -0600
From: ISO Standards Discussion

From: RCR9000
Subject: Re: Q: Service Design Control?? /Parra/Randall

> Subject:Q: Service Design Control?? /Parra
> Hi there,
> I thought I had it clear about product design control, but then I went to a
> presentation about " Service Design Control" and I got confused, the
> revision & verification concepts were pretty different from what I can read
> in the standard. I would consider this "service design" as described was
> very much like the contract review but after signing the contract. Isn't it
> wrong? Here's an example,
> Lets say a transportation company, wants to be ISO 9001 certified, so they
> "design the service" - how are they to meet all the 4.4 shalls.
> Please help,
> E Parra

Even though some "ISO Gurus" promote the concept that ISO 9000 is a "one size fits all" standard -- in reality I find that it is not. ISO 9000 can be extremely difficult to apply to a service sector business (e.g., temporary staffing, interior design, financial planning, insurance brokerages) -- particularly when the service involves the sell of a concept rather than a physical product. I've found that rather than using ISO 9000, I have much better results using the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) cycle when developing a quality system for many service companies. Upon completing the system to the PDCA cycle, I can usually find many of the elements of ISO 9000 applicable (conceptually), but not all (particularly elements 4.4, 4.8, 4.10, 4.12, 4.13, 4.15 & 4.19).

While working with a financial planning business last year, I found that the following ISO 9000 elements were not applicable: 4.4, 4.6 (as purchasing related to the quality of the service provided), 4.10, 4.11, 4.12, 4.13, 4.15 & 4.19. While there were times when the concept contained in an element might have been applicable (e.g., 4.13), the element -- as written -- was not.

The concept of "service design" and element 4.4 of ISO 9001 is a great example of where ISO 9000 does not "fit all" (before some inexperienced quality professional challenges this statement, please go out and visit a couple of hundred companies -- as I have -- before presenting an argument based on theory rather than real-world application). Design of a transportation service, for example, is much more appropriately addressed during the development of your business model or business plan (or even contract review / quality planning if the service is specific to each client). If all else fails -- try using the PDCA cycle.

With respect to your company seeking ISO 9001 vs ISO 9002 registration, I recommend that you seek ISO 9002 registration. I seriously doubt that any of your clients are going to care that you didn't seek ISO 9001 registration -- besides, after Nov. 2000 it won't matter because there will only be ISO 9001 and your scope of registration will omit the design requirements.

I hope that this helps,

Richard C. Randall


Fully vaccinated are you?
I tend to agree with this person:

From: Kelly Speiser
Subject: Q: Service Design Control /Speiser

I am actively involved in a service organizations ISO 9000 compliance project. Working backwards, everyone in that organization can define "how" to provide the service, flowchart it and write a procedure ("delivery specification" as suggested in ISO 9004-2). Asking "what" is the service is a little more difficult but with effort, they develop the "service specification" document. The question for management that I have (as a consultant) at that point is: how did you decide to provide that service in the first place? The answer is obviously they saw the need. How did they do that? Through research, development, market analysis and customer input. These are the inputs that are found in 4.4 Design Control. What if my service organization says, "We'd like to offer a new service". An appropriate 4.4 procedure would specify the same thing that was done by management before, i.e., research the market as input, document it in an output (service specification), verify and validate. Verifications and validations can be accomplished the same as for a product: trials or pilots, customer survey's, expected vs. actual results, etc.

I know I'm in the minority, but I can't see how a service organization provide a new service without 4.4.

Kelly Speiser

Andy Bassett

I agree with what you say Marc.

Yes you will be challenged on your statement that ISO 9000 is difficult to apply to a service organisation, somebody out there is likely to use all the powers of imgagination to stretch the standard to cover all sorts of applications.

But it ignores the fact that ISO 9000 orignated to control the making of bombs and munitions,and can still be directly applicable in this environment.

The problem with stretching the standard to fit other areas is that you tend to lose workers and managers on the way. I like your idea of using the PDCA cycle in service type organisations, its simple and understandable by nearly everybody.

During a recent seminar on the Business Excellence Model, which was held to promote the new model, the scoring system was based on something known as RADAR, whcih turned out to be PDCA. They have used RADAR to appear original.


PS Marc - Do you ever get involved in BEM/Self Assessment (Baldridge in America i think), i dont see much discussion of it in the forum.


Fully vaccinated are you?
Any thoughts about design in service implementations from anyone now that the new standard is out?


After reviewing ISO9000:2000 and beginning the transition process, I am finding it much easier to implement in our service business than the old version. The process focus provides a better framework for me to insist that "all our ducks are in a row" before implementation at a new customer site. I can't speak for other service organizations, but the new version "fits" much better than the old one

Q rex

Service is a process. The output of a service business is a service, which is a process. What's the output of this process? In many cases it's a change in the state of customer owned property (service to tangible property) or in the information possessed by the customer (service to intangible, e.g., intellectual property).

I agree that the new standard works better for service business than the old, but the definition of process as something that takes input and converts it to output hinders thinking about the application of the standard in useful fashion for service business.

The general "quality" definition of a process is akin to a journey. It's more about the journey than the destination. The ISO definition focuses on the destination, the endpoint, because it grew out of a manufacturing environment.

I haven't studied the new standard as closely as the old one, but one area the old standard really fit service business poorly was in the model that you define all requirements then produce your product. In service, it is more situational, the service process is about defining these requirements, and it happens in parallel with producing the product, rather than in series as a superficial reading of the standard leads you to conclude.

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