Why do so many ISO 9001 Implementation Programs Fail?

Sidney Vianna

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But the system could be well enough supported by the process people to maintain certification.
Almost on a daily basis, one encounters behaviors that are counter productive in terms of product conformity and/or customer satisfaction. For example, the sales person who decides to lie cheat tell a little fib to a customer about the realistic delivery date, in order to make the sale and pocket the commission, knowing full well that the delivery dates being promised to the customer are totally unrealistic. Another example is when people bypasses verification steps devises a shortcut to ship the product at the end of the month.

Situations such as these can ONLY be corrected if top management is not only aware of the deeds, but clearly sides with the people abiding their quality policy. There is a reason why the WHOLE section 5 of ISO 9001 is addressed to top management. If top management is not engaged and faithful to the intent of the standard, the underlings will most definitely notice the "not walk the talk" behavior and act accordingly.
 

Big Jim

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I am not convinced your system is a failure, though it's apparent that upper management has an awareness problem. The question of why is a different subject... But the system could be well enough supported by the process people to maintain certification.

While I agree you may be able to maintain certification, it certainly would not be as effective as it could be, which seems to be among your core beliefs too.
 

Sidney Vianna

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Re: Why do many ISO 9001 implementation programs fail?

Contrary to what some other people want to believe, in my estimation, 99%+ of organizations going for ISO 9001 implementation do so because they were either mandated, coerced, strongly advised, etc... to seek certification. So, certification becomes the end goal. That is the biggest negative contributor to the problem. Certification, not performance, becomes the final target and "measure of success".

The consulting and conformity assessment practitioners have trivialized the product, so it could be marketed more promptly and to the masses. A significant percentage of such practitioners have no idea of what business processes are and what a system comprised of processes is. In this post, we have a very representative image:

Back to my point, if certification is the end goal and, substandard systems are awarded and maintain certification undeserving, with no involvement from top management, with no corrections to dysfunctional business processes, with no change in negative corporate culture, why would we expect top management to be involved? And, worse, in those instances where a competent third-party auditor wants to keep the organization accountable to the INTENT of the standard, but the organization doesn't, it is so easy to find another CB and/or auditor that won't be "so demanding".

If we really want ISO 9001 (and it's inexorably connected certification piece) to be what is meant to be, many stakeholders would have to change their behaviors. Accountability would have to be exercised. And accountability is something that many people avoid, given a chance.

I started this thread back in 2011 before we had any inkling of the first drafts of the ISO 9001:2015 Edition. Just like the suggestion for dropping the requirement for preventive action, ISO TC 176 SC2 WG24 also took on the suggestion for the QMS to be embedded in the organization's business processes. As we are fast approaching the deadline for the transition, some of the discussions in this thread might be useful guidance for some organizations that want to use this "transition" as a platform to make the QMS work, as intended.
 

Pancho

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Re: Why do many ISO 9001 implementation programs fail?

I started this thread back in 2011 before we had any inkling of the first drafts of the ISO 9001:2015 Edition. Just like the suggestion for dropping the requirement for preventive action, ISO TC 176 SC2 WG24 also took on the suggestion for the QMS to be embedded in the organization's business processes. As we are fast approaching the deadline for the transition, some of the discussions in this thread might be useful guidance for some organizations that want to use this "transition" as a platform to make the QMS work, as intended.

The new standard has the potential to weed out the bad implementations. Will CBs refuse to grant certificates if management isn't FOR quality? That will be the test.
 

Sidney Vianna

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Re: Why do many ISO 9001 implementation programs fail?

Will CBs refuse to grant certificates if management isn't FOR quality? That will be the test.
Pancho, I think we all know the answer to that question. The only way to weed out undeserving certificates of substandard systems would be for the real users of such certificates make themselves accountable and demand accountability from the other involved parties. I don't see that happening just because the standard used for certification was revised.
 

Big Jim

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Re: Why do many ISO 9001 implementation programs fail?

The new standard has the potential to weed out the bad implementations. Will CBs refuse to grant certificates if management isn't FOR quality? That will be the test.

In Theory, yes, as they would fail leadership commitment. In practice, that would be very difficult to determine an enforce.

This would have been true under the 2008 and 2000 version as well.
 

SpinDr99

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Getting back to Amanda (remember her?), I hear your pain also. I'm in a similar position but have been in Quality over 20 years. My company moans about spending money on calibration while they buy carpeted runners for the front entry.

I agree that top management must be shown the benefit from the business aspect, for that is what they really understand. The cost of poor quality, the repeat and new business that comes with "getting with the program" and adopting ISO as a set of very helpful tools. I'm letting my top management decide on the Quality Objectives and determine the KPI's they want to track. This lets top management buy-in to the program and have a real sense of ownership, rather than being told what to aim for and what to track. Let top management decide what's important to them. At that point they will be truly invested in showing continual improvement.

I'm in a small company of about 30 people and ISO is still viewed as nothing more that binders in my office and an exercise in worthless paperwork. The General Manager hides customer complaints and rejections since he views them as a "black eye", even though I explain I can't show improvement next year, unless we show where we are this year.

Hopefully you'll be more successful than I've been in getting the light bulb to grow dim before you get an offer elsewhere as I have. It's not hard to see when a company has the commitment.

Take all of the great input on this forum and run with it. Quality is a great career path, and don't let this experience deter you from persuing it.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
Re: Why do many ISO 9001 implementation programs fail?

The new standard has the potential to weed out the bad implementations. Will CBs refuse to grant certificates if management isn't FOR quality? That will be the test.

Frankly, what weeds out the bad players is the market. ISO will not keep you in business if you suck at what you do.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
Getting back to Amanda (remember her?), I hear your pain also. I'm in a similar position but have been in Quality over 20 years. My company moans about spending money on calibration while they buy carpeted runners for the front entry.

I agree that top management must be shown the benefit from the business aspect, for that is what they really understand. The cost of poor quality, the repeat and new business that comes with "getting with the program" and adopting ISO as a set of very helpful tools. I'm letting my top management decide on the Quality Objectives and determine the KPI's they want to track. This lets top management buy-in to the program and have a real sense of ownership, rather than being told what to aim for and what to track. Let top management decide what's important to them. At that point they will be truly invested in showing continual improvement.

I'm in a small company of about 30 people and ISO is still viewed as nothing more that binders in my office and an exercise in worthless paperwork. The General Manager hides customer complaints and rejections since he views them as a "black eye", even though I explain I can't show improvement next year, unless we show where we are this year.

Hopefully you'll be more successful than I've been in getting the light bulb to grow dim before you get an offer elsewhere as I have. It's not hard to see when a company has the commitment.

Take all of the great input on this forum and run with it. Quality is a great career path, and don't let this experience deter you from persuing it.

Just like ownership/management understands the business aspect, quality should too. I have seen too many instances of unnecessary expense trying to "comply" with this or that. If your system is just binders of worthless paperwork, then you have too much paperwork. No document should be worthless (although it's hard to get rid of everything the auditor "expects" to see). If the document doesn't add value, then get rid of it.

The thing that popped out at me was you "letting" top management decide on objectives and kpis. The real question is "guys, what are we going to track for KPIs/objectives?" When people come in and push a system/procedure/document/etc. it usually ends badly. There isn't a manager/owner out there that doesn't track something. Sometimes you need to dig until you find something. It may not be entirely applicable, but it's a start. Also, there is no harm in testing out KPIs. Track them for a few months and if they are no good or unhelpful, get rid of them and move on to something else.

To me, these QM systems quickly get out of control if we are not careful and diligent in keeping them simple and effective.
 

AndyN

Moved On
"My company moans about spending money on calibration while they buy carpeted runners for the front entry."

I completely understand why they would. I frequently find that what has been justified to management as "ISO-Says" is not. Recently, I found a company who had been calibrating things once a year but had NEVER looked at the results from the lab. Over 6 years the equipment had not varied by greater than 0.1%. It's THAT type of doing things for the sake of compliance which management don't appreciate. As Quality "professionals" we often overlook using the QMS to SAVE money with affecting product quality.
 
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