It’s Not the Holy Grail

The quality world is entranced by ISO9001 and certification, almost essential in western business, and it employs many in compliance auditing.  Even first and second party audits focus on compliance.  Inspection is frequently reduced to pass or fail judgements.  But is that the only way to think, or even the best way? Continue reading


Think Analogue

It’s easy to think of quality as a binary attribute: either good or bad, right or wrong, compliant or non-compliant, white or black. In a digital world, where computers work with 1’s and 0’s that may be a logical extension of thought. Continue reading

ISO9001 Cringes

Over the years since BS5750:1979 was published, I’ve dealt with hundreds of companies certified to that, or the more modern ISO9001, standard.  “Dealt with” either as an auditor acting on behalf of one or more customers, or handling supply chain issues from within a single customer.  I’ve never been involved with the certification process directly (other than when I’ve been advising a company on the process), so I can’t speak from a Certifying Body (CB) standpoint, but I’ve come across situations and claims that have made me smile (or cringe): Continue reading

Document Control

Why is document control so difficult for many organisations?  It’s often lacking for crucial documents or so strictly regulated that people who need documents struggle to get access when and where they need them.  The principle is that people should have sufficiently accurate information to meet their responsibilities – yet organisations tie themselves (and their staff) in knots over it.   Continue reading

Standard – High or Low?

It appears (to me) to be  a commonly held view that companies working to an internationally agreed standard will be better than those not working to it: an ISO9001 certified company must be better than a company not certified, all else being equal, of course – but it’s the “all else being equal” that is often forgotten.  A company may be meeting the standard but hasn’t felt the need to apply for certification, for example.  But that’s not the point of this article.  I want to think about what the Standard (and you can take that to infer ISO9001 if you wish – it’s certainly the focus of most of my comments below) actually means. Continue reading