If I Had Written the Standard

You can’t be an ISO 9001 auditor for a good length of time and not harbor dreams of how you would have written the standard.

So often we see organizations attempting registration with a simple regurgitation of the words of the standard without “getting it”. How better for the masses to “get it”, the pesky auditor wonders, but in the clearer delivery of the intent of registration, the mission, if you will?

SO, with that in mind, whenever I approach the interrogation of those in management (read this as those most removed and possibly most desperate to please the pesky auditor), I always state two cardinal rules.

  • One, every place in the standard that one sees “quality”, one should substitute the word “business”. After all, if it wasn’t a business, why would we be bothering with registration in the hopes of making us better or at least opening a few more doors?
  • Two, begin your ISO journey focusing on Paragraph 8.5.1 Continual Improvement as the reason for registration. Permit me to paraphrase. “The organization shall continually improve the effectiveness of the business management system through the use of the business policy, business objectives, audit results, analysis of data, corrective and preventive actions and management review.”

I tell management that they own this paragraph, so knock my socks off with objective evidence of compliance. Would we see blank stares, horrified glances around the table or confident responses? Which would be your organization?