Sidney Justifies Registrars as 'Tests'


Fully vaccinated are you?
Subject: Re: Registration Costs /Scalies/Kohn/Dey/Vianna
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 12:58:10 -0600
From: ISO Standards Discussion <[email protected]>

From: "Vianna, Sidney" <[email protected]>
Subject: RE: Registration Costs /Scalies/Kohn/Dey/Vianna

> Quoted from Pat Dey <[email protected]>:
" . . .Everyone in industry has to compete to improve productivity
whilst maintaining quality. Indeed, that's often what "quality" is
> about. Why should registrars be immune? . . ."

Pat, how do you measure registrar's productivity? Registrar's productivity should not be measured by how quickly an audit can be performed. If that was the case, what would be the measure of highest productivity? Perform an audit of a company with 10,000 employees with one auditor in half day? What about over a phone call? Obviously nothing would get accomplished. Still, some "registrars" would love to be able to do just that, if they were not concerned with losing their accreditation status.

Registrar's productivity, while an important issue, is a secondary matter, when compared to registrar's integrity. If the certification process of management systems, by third-party entities, degenerates to a point where Society, at large, perceives no value, it will go away. This whole ISO 9000 Industry will vanish. 3rd party certificates will cease to exist. I can only speculate what would be the outcome: First, a return to the multiplicity of 2nd party audits by your customers, performed by auditors that, many times, want to micro-manage your organization. For those who have experienced this, they know how costly and detrimental to business it can be.

Second, selection of your suppliers by "gut feeling". In this era of "globalization", can your company cost-effectively qualify a supplier in Hong Kong? In a perfect world, if that supplier in HK had a 3rd party ISO 9001 certificate, wouldn't that instil confidence in you that they are a capable supplier?

Third, a return to massive supplier quality departments. How costly is that?

Inferring that registrars should make their audits shorter and faster, to "increase productivity", without realizing the ramifications in terms of compromising thoroughness, integrity, in-depth investigations and assessments, is wrong. Imagine if we apply this concept to a college environment, and in order to increase "productivity", students will graduate in 3 months rather than the 4 or 5 years. Does that make sense? What about a hospital that "in order to increase productivity" requires that all brain surgeries must be no longer than 22 minutes?

Being an insider in this Industry, my personal opinion is that the Accreditation Agencies need to enhance their "policing activities". Failure to do so might send this process in a downward spiral where in order to remain competitive, registrars might compromise their services which would lead to a decrease in confidence of 3rd party certificates. If 3rd part certificates bear no or little value, registrants will most certainly seek the cheapest, easiest and fastest certificate, feeding back to the vicious loop..

As an example of the need for policing: QS-9000 3rd Ed. App. H states: ". . .The number of hours per day required for an "auditor day" shall be defined as not less than eight hours of a 24-hour day per auditor on-site performing the audit. . . ."

Why would they make this requirement so explicit? Because there were registrars performing QS audits claiming that, in their interpretation a man-day constitutes 6 hours of work. So, if the auditor stayed at the facility 9 hours, it would count as one and a half day of audit. This is just one example of how registrars might want to find loopholes and "beat the system".

For those of you that think that external audits do not add value, can you please tell me what is the value of taking exams going through college? If you think that just attending classes and reading books will make you a doctor, engineer, physicist, etc . . . what is the point of testing your knowledge? You should be able to self-certify at the end of the program that you have comprehended all the body of knowledge required in your chosen profession, shouldn't you? What is wrong with that? I think we should extend this concept to other areas. Any company should be able to self proclaim a Malcolm Baldrige award criteria-compliant organization. Any individual should be able to self proclaim a certified quality manager, cqa, cqe, etc . . . No more IRS forms or audits, everybody self proclaims to be a compliant tax-payer. Just a thought.


Sidney Vianna

Roger Eastin

This is an interesting post. It is sad when one can see a "regulatory" system succumb to market forces. If this is what is happening to 3rd party registration, then let the ship go down! I do some auditing (ISO) and I expect the clients want integrity from me. If the standard says (or intends) something, then I should be standing for that in my audit. I shouldn't be finding ways to manipulate the system so I can save a few bucks here or there. Indeed, if one of the intents of 3rd party registration is give an objective analysis of the compliance/ effectiveness of the quality system, then I should give that. I am not aware of the regulatory dynamics between the accreditation bodies and the registrars, but if competence and integrity of the auditors is not of prime concern, then I am disappointed. I am a "free market" believer, but there is a point when profit and regulatory practices become bitter enemies. I hope we haven't crossed it yet with 3rd party auditing.


Fully vaccinated are you?
After what I recently saw after UL came in and audited a client, it is evident to me that 3rd party registration can be a total joke. LRQA exhibited the same auditor 'blindness' during a registration audit of a very big client.

I don't disagree with 3rd party audits. But they are arbitrary any more. Add to it idiot (not to mention 'ambiguous') requirements like the QS9000 Dock Audit and you have a recipe for garbage audits.

[This message has been edited by Marc Smith (edited 04-09-99).]

Don Winton

It is sad when one can see a "regulatory" system succumb to market forces.

I agree. I remember when I went through my Lead Assessor training, circa 1991, there seemed to be firm, fixed rules as to what registrars and assessors had to follow. Now, it seems that the market is driving the ‘rules.’

There was a time when one major or five minors meant the firm was not recommended, period. Now, reading some of the boards, it seems that regardless of the quantity, give it a spit and a polish and the assessor will recommend registration. Sad? INDEED!

Just the ramblings of an Old Wizard Warrior.


Check Out dWizard's Lair: (broken link removed)


Fully vaccinated are you?
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">Mr. Don typed:</font><HR>There was a time when one major or five minors meant the firm was not recommended, period.[/quote]Damn it Don! This is what I was 'taught' back when I did the trip in 1993-4 with my course/exam in 1994. In a stretch, 7 minors. Radical was 10 minors. Now it's 25 to 50 minors.

I must admit that company size has thrown me. If you're doing 5000 employees, is 5 minors realistic as a 'HOLD'? Motorola gave me that wake up to reality.

But I respond with enthuseasm to your 5 minors = 1 major 'benchmark' - it was also my 'old' benchmark. AND - I just saw UL give a plant of about 300 employees a 'pass' despite somewhere in the the neighborhood of 20 or so minors and it amazes the hell out of me. I was there and I'm telling you - UL GAVE them the 'pass'. There were many majors, quite evident ones, which were 'not observed'.<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">I told them to their faces:</font><HR>If I was your auditor, you would not be recommended if I came for a registratiuon audit. You're registered so I would be back in 60 days to see what the situation was in response to the major findings...[/quote] I easily spotted at least 5 majors. Since I was there for a while I knew of a number higher than 5 - not so well 'hidden'. I dunno - maybe I've always been cynical (which is the case, I believe) or maybe I'm just getting old and 'picky'.

Especially troubling is that I used to hear how picky UL is/was. When I talked to a Navy fella a couple of years back, he stated he wanted UL as registrar because 'UL is 'Unimpeachable' - which I went along with because I really believed UL was that 'picky' and demanding and 'un-buyable' and 'independent'. I didn't like their early jump on companies for the details involved with MSA - UL really hit some companies hard - but I do appreciate their position now and see it as a 'good' feature or area to focus on (Please explain how you address Uncertainty.)

But more recently I have 'learned' that for facilities / plants which are part of a big corporate client, there is obviously a lot of slack. A pity, really.

Can all this be 'auditor differences'??? Me no 'tink so. Me 'tink problem here.

One thing I did learn with Motorola, which I want to repeat, is that a new set of 'realities' sets in when you are trying to synchronize plants all over the world. I come back to my 'standard' consideration when I ask any question: <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">I ask myself this:</font><HR>Does this meet the intent of the requirement or clause?[/quote]

Comments, anyone?

[This message has been edited by Marc Smith (edited 04-09-99).]

David Guffey

It is so sad seeing the integrity of the registration process being compromised by uncaring professionals (if indeed they ever were professionals).

I, too, was trained as a lead auditor, circa 1994. We were clearly taught 5 minors-1 major (unless the minors were so unrelated as to make the major indefensible). I have never had a problem defending the major, using 4.1 Management Review, if necessary.

Part of the problem is those of us out here desiring certification. If we accept the process for what it was meant to be, a way to improve the systems, we accept what comes, react to it, improve, and thereby benefit ourselves and our customers. Those that simply want the certification at any cost will get it and there will be no benefit to themselves or the customers.

As long as we collectively accept those firms, their registrations, and their registrars, the fault is ours and ours alone.
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