The need to standardize business management practices globally informed the establishment of ISO 9000 in 1987. The system was aimed at providing global management standards with a view to enhancing customer satisfaction. Consequently, many firms across the world worked towards acquiring the certification, with each aiming to adopt the ISO 9000 standards to enhance customer satisfaction by reducing customer complaints and product nonconformities (Karapetrovic, Fa and Saizarbitoria 246). However, over time, studies consistently show a decrease in the gleam as the number of ISO registration has been decreasing. This has been accompanied by a decrease in the ISO 9000 implementation benefits and execution costs. This essay explores what the cause of this scenario may be.
Routine, Relaxed Implementation Process
The decrease in the level of implementation benefits of the standard management benefits could be due to the fact that the process, having been in existence for decades, had become routine. To this end, the implementation consultants, knowledgeable internal staff and the registration bodies may have lowered the requirements, leading to complacency hence the downturn results (Karapetrovic, Fa and Saizarbitoria 261). What is more, seeing that the standards have been around for long, the registration bodies may have relaxed the threshold for ISO 9000 certification. In this case, companies which lack the capacity to adopt and implement the global management standards may have secured certification. The fact that such companies lacked the capacity to implement the practices to realize the execution benefits may be the cause for the decrease in the benefits. Also, some firms may have been motivated to pursue ISO 9000 certification with the hope of obtaining a marketing or competitive advantage. However, the realization that the registration did not confer any competitive advantage, mainly because other competing firms would obtain the certification, may have led to the decrease in the levels of implementation benefits, as well as the decline in the number of registrations globally. Moreover, entry of newly registered firms into the market may have diluted the perceived benefits of being a registered company. This may have directly or indirectly contributed to the decrease in the ISO 9000 gleam, including the level of implementation benefits.
Laxity after Registration
In their empirical study, Karapetrovic, Fa and Saizarbitoria (261) note that it is possible that companies that secured ISO 9000 certification may have been overly satisfied with the achievement. This could have led to a perception that the firm’s implementation benefits were better that they actually were. The result would have been that over time, the companies would revise their perceptions to conform to the reality, leading to stagnation or decrease in the level of benefits. It may also be said that following registration, companies’ management would imagine that they had already achieved something. Such a notion could lead to relaxation in such operations as quality assurance, customer care and such related issues. This could lead to a decrease in customer satisfaction. As may be conceived, relaxation in implementation operations would result in the decline in the level of implementation benefits, notwithstanding the ISO certification and the fact that the costs of system implementation and maintenance have decreased significantly.
All in all, the ISO 9000 luster has decreased significantly over the years. Possible relaxation of registration requirements, laxity of firms upon certification and adjustment of companies’ perception to reflect reality may have contributed to the decrease in the levels of implementation benefits, the decline in system implementation and maintenance costs notwithstanding.
Karapetrovic, Stanslav, Fa M. Casadesus, and Saizarbitoria H. Inak. “What Happened to the
ISO 9000 Lustre? An Eight-year Study”. Total Quality Management, 21.3 (2010): 245-267. Print.