Why are some ISO systems more
effective than others?
Table of Contents
ISO 9001 has been the most widely adopted set of quality
management systems ever conceived.
Implementing an ISO-based quality management system can be
a tremendous benefit to organizations. Some organizations have
achieved as high as a 1700% ROI by implementing ISO. Other ISO systems
have doubled sales and quadrupled profits in less than 5 years.
For the average ISO implementation organization however, ISO has become a mediocre initiative
for helping an organization remain effective &/or competitive. On
average, PQA estimates that ISO has helped companies achieve only a 16.25%
return on investment. Pretty poor, especially considering ISO's
When management, stockholders, and accountants are demanding pay backs of
100% to 300% (ie. 1 year to as short as a 4 month payback), ISO can easily
become an “also-ran”, or a non-starter.
Based on PQA's research on why some companies had such great success with
their ISO implementations and others failed spectacularly, PQA has
identified 10 Critical Success Factors that make an ISO implementation
successful. They are:
Sr. Management's recognition of their crucial role in the ISO
system management process
ISO involvement at all levels, jobs, and areas in the organization
Understanding of the organizational
processes and the critical control points in the process.
People trained in how to do their job, and interact
effectively with the whole system
Focusing on organizational development & improvement,
not just the bare minimum (ie. what the ISO Registrar is willing
to accept today)
Finding balance between excess ISO bureaucracy, and
insufficient ISO system depth to ensure consistent results.
Dedication to following the agreed systems at all
levels in the organization
Keeping the organization focused on meeting the ISO
Effective ISO auditing (ie. Sr. Management knows the ISO
status, the risks, and gets actionable recommendations for rapid
Timely management response to ISO audit results.
If a consultant was relied upon to guide the ISO
implementation, the fault for a poor ISO implementation may very well
lie with the consultant. Was the consultant's advise understood,
and followed by Sr. Management? Most Sr. Management get distracted
very early in the ISO implementation process, then abdicate (Sr.
Management calls it "delegate") the ISO implementation process to staff
or consultants. The effective
ISO implementation is often sacrificed for a quick
ISO certificate on the wall with minimal effort and costs.
For quality consultants to be effective, they need to have a good
understanding both of ISO 9001 and the sector or company they are seeking
to apply it to. Effective ISO 9001 implementation is supposed to lead to
improved productivity, efficiency, consistency and client service. If ISO
9001 is not delivering this, then it has not been effectively implemented.
To overcome the limitations caused by poor or incomplete
ISO implementations, PQA has developed ISO auditing techniques to help Sr.
Management effectively respond to these significant challenges. Find
out about PQA's
PQA's Sr. Consultants have been doing Quality Assurance
for more than 27 years. One of our Sr. Consultants was involved in
the very first ISO 9001 implementations in Canada at Northern Telecom
(Nortel), Bramalea.. Long ago, we learned what worked and what
didn't. Today, we are still learning what works even better.
PQA has the years of experience in numerous industries and
sectors of the world economy. PQA has worked for multi-nationals
(Fortune 100's) as well as 2-person startups. PQA knows the tough
questions that must be asked, and how to help our clients develop
effective answers to those tough questions.
PQA provides ISO consulting, auditing, and implementation assistance for a wide range of
ISO management systems: