There are several quality management certification institutions in the world. The most famous of these institutions is the International Organization for Standards. The ISO 9000: a global benchmark for quality management is a collection of standards that are generally useful in quality management in organizations. It’s maintained by the International Standards for Organization while the administration is done by accreditation and certification bodies. These standards are updated with time. Amongst the ISO family, there are many standards dealing with several aspects of business (http://www.iso.org/iso/survey2008.pdf). Some of the most common are the ISO 22000:2005 (Food Safety in Supply Chains) and the ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management Systems, among others. The major aim of the ISO certification is to ensure that the process of production follows some laid down standardization rules. For instance, some of the requirements of the ISO 9001:2008 include:
- Procedures for monitoring processes to ensure that they are effective
- Adequate record keeping
- Correction of defects in output, while constantly looking out for such defects
- Regular review of the individual production processes for quality and effectiveness.
- Facilitation of continual improvements in production and service delivery
The introduction of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality program in 1988 was a land mark step towards quality management. This award is based on an internationally recognized total quality management system. It was first created buy the United States awards department of commerce to encourage organizations to embrace total quality management. The development of this award was initiated by a number of management gurus such as Joseph Turan, Philip Crosby, and Edward Deming. These scholars advanced the quality field from the simple quality assurance to a giant step towards total quality management.
The year 1992 saw the creation of the Baldrige award by the European Quality Management Awards. Most organizations have employed the Balridge criteria and evaluation framework to evaluate their performance by comparing themselves with market leaders in the industry. Other organizations engaged in quality management standardization include, the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and the SEI CMM among others
There has been a raging debate on whether these designations have been significant in the improvement of quality in production and service delivery in organizations. It must be remembered that these standards are concerned with the production processes and not results. It can however, be argued that the products are the end results of some processes. Adoption of quality management in the production process may thus be expected to translate to the quality of products and services (Naveh and Marcus,2004).
Quality of products and services may be expected since the improvement in efficiency is as a result constant examination and review of the operational methods and techniques used in the production process.
The introduction of quality management certification in the corporate world has had far reaching implications on quality, and efficiency in the production process. The objectives of the quality management standards has been to provide a set of requirements that would, in case of effective implementation, provide confidence that your supplier can consistently provide goods and services that; meet your needs and expectations, and also comply with the relevant quality requirements, regulations and legislation.
Naveh. E., Marcus, A. (2004). "When does ISO 9000 Quality Assurance standard lead to performance improvement?", IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 51(3), 352–363.
An abstract of the 2008's ISO survey of certificates, retrieved from http://www.iso.org/iso/survey2008.pdf
Bamford, Robert; Deibler, William (2003). ISO 9001: 2000 for Software and Systems Providers: An Engineering Approach (1st ed.). CRC-Press.