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ISO 9000 History:
In 1979, a new ISO technical committee was approved: ISO/TC 176, Quality management and quality assurance.  Initially, 20 member countries decided to become active participants (P-members) in the work of this new committee and another 14 countries opted to follow the work as observers (O-members).  Today, the number of countries participating in ISO/TC 176 is 69, with another 18 as observers.  The new committee set to work and, in 1986, had completed its first standards.  Published in the early part of 1987, these standards were known as the ISO 9000 series.

ISO has been developing voluntary technical standards over almost all sectors of business, industry and technology since 1947.  With the exception of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000, the vast majority of ISO standards are highly specific. They are documented agreements containing technical specifications or other precise criteria to be used consistently as rules, guidelines, or definitions of characteristics to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.  In 1987, came ISO 9000, followed nearly 10 years later by ISO 14000

The ISO 9000 family is primarily concerned with "quality management".  This means what the organization does it to fulfill:
- The customer´s quality requirements, and applicable regulatory requirements, while aiming to enhance customer satisfaction, and achieve continual improvement of its performance in pursuit of these objectives
- To organization, large or small, whatever its product including whether its "product" is actually a service, in any sector of activity, and whether it is a business enterprise, a public administration, or a government department

More than half a million organizations in more 149 countries are implementing ISO 9000 which provides a framework for quality management throughout the processes of producing and delivering products and services for the customer.

ISO 9000 Name:
At the end of 2002, ISO had 13,544 standards in its portfolio.  ISO standards are usually assigned a catalogue number automatically.  When the first output of ISO/TC 176 was nearing completion, ISO was already approaching a total of some 9,000 published standards.  It was realized even then that TC 176´s standards would have a significant impact and so it was decided to give the series the next available round figure - 9000 - as a designation because round figures are more memorable.

Selection and Use of the ISO 9000 Family of Standards:
The greatest value is obtained when an organization uses the entire family of standards in an integrated manner.  It is suggested that, beginning with ISO 9000, adopting ISO 9001 to achieve a first level of performance.  The practices described in ISO 9004 may then be implemented to make the quality management system increasingly effective in achieving business goals.  ISO 9001 and ISO 9004 have been formatted as a consistent pair of standards to facilitate their use.  Using the standards in this way will also enable the organization to relate them to other management systems (e.g. environmental), many sector specific requirements (such as ISO/TS/16949 in the automotive industry) and will assist in gaining recognition through national award programs.

Maintaining the Benefits and Continual Improvement:
Most new users obtain measurable benefits early in the process of deploying the standard requirements in their operations.  These initial benefits are generally due to improvements in their organization and internal communication.  The benefits must be strengthened through effective internal auditing and management review of system performance.  Like all systems, it either improves or becomes less effective.  It does not remain static for long.

When adopting ISO 9001, the organization must strive for the satisfaction of the customers and the continual improvement of the quality management system.  Continual improvement is a process of increasing the effectiveness of the organization to fulfill the quality policy and the quality objectives.  ISO 9001 requires that the management plans and manages the processes necessary for the continual improvement of the quality management system.  ISO 9004 provides information that will be helpful in going beyond ISO 9001 to improving the efficiency of the operation.  It is recommended that the organization obtains data from various sources, both internal and external, to assess the appropriateness of the quality system goals.  This information can also be used to improve the performance of the processes.

Some organizations may expand their management systems by extending the ISO 9001 structure to include the requirements of ISO 14001 Environmental management systems.  The structural and organizational requirements of the two management systems have been designed to be compatible.

Quality Management Principles:
Principle 1 Customer focus
Principle 2 Leadership
Principle 3 Involvement of people
Principle 4 Process approach
Principle 5 System approach to management
Principle 6 Continual improvement
Principle 7 Factual approach to decision making
Principle 8 Mutually beneficial supplier relationships

Implementing ISO 9000:
The existence of an organization without customers, or with unsatisfied customers, is in peril! To keep customers - and to keep them satisfied or delighted to the maximum- the product/service needs to meet their requirements.  ISO 9000 provides a tried and tested framework for taking a systematic approach to managing the business processes (the organization´s activities) so that they consistently turn out product conforming to the customer´s expectations.

Application and Benefits of ISO 9000:
An ISO 9000 certificate indicates the organization´s adherence to quality management practices with customer focus.  The standard is designed to look at all the important processes affecting customer satisfaction, from the initial review of requirements related to the product, to the packaging and delivery of the finished product.  The intent of standard is to provide the universal and uniform baseline for quality management, which can be used by organizations around the world. The success of this idea is evident from the fact that ISO 9000 series has become the most widely used quality management system in the world.

Making a decision to become registered to ISO 9001 seems often a simple one as the benefits are evident and well documented:
- Better competitive strategy (especially on the international level)
- Continual improvements and commitment
- Enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty
- Error detecting and corrective actions
- Facilitate the accessibility of data and other information
- High level of communication
- History archiving for a better planning
- Improve internal transfer and know how
- Improve moral and motivation of staff
- Increase efficiency and productivity
- Increase the organization image
- Job description, specifications and analysis
- Low risk
- Maximize the personnel qualification and the recruitment process
- Minimize waste
- Increase control
- Prevent duplication
- Records updating and filling
- Reducing quality cost
- Structure and organizing
- Task definition

A well designed and implemented quality management system; based on ISO 9001 can provide organizations with the following benefits:
- Objective based approach to the management system
- Better process control, flow and productivity
- Reduction of cost, reduction of product scrap & rejections, Improvement in product reliability
- Better documentation of the processes and greater quality awareness among employees
- Framework for continual improvement of each process
- Leadership with customer focus
- Structure of result oriented operations
- Demonstrate the organization´s commitment to quality standards to the outside world

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