Survey Results – When it comes to ISO 9001, who’s really in charge?

Well, the results are in and in some cases they aren’t pretty.

One thing for sure, as far as registrar auditors holding top management toes to the fire, it is happening! A solid 94% or the respondents agree that their registrar interviews top management and 91% agree that the auditors hold top management accountable for areas of the standard. Great news!

But just when you start feeling good about the results, you read a comment like this: “The Quality Manager is always held 100% responsible for all ISO audits and Top Management only attends opening and closing meetings. I do not fault our ISO auditor; I fault our Management for refusing to be involved. Our auditor is excellent and they could learn a lot from him but they refuse to participate. The only support the Quality Manager gets is if I do not pass the audit I will be fired.”

Yikes! Shades of Neanderthal mentality?

Sad, however, were the results as to whether there was a positive difference in the company since the word “top” was added before management in the standard (only 25% agreeing and a whopping 53% responding Neutral), and whether top management is greatly involved (62% agreeing and 22% Neutral).

One insightful respondent remarked “The involvement of Top Management varies greatly from organization to organization. Those companies that have top management involvement are the most prosperous and successful.” While intuitively obvious, only 54% of the respondents agreed that Top Management uses the ISO standard to improve the business, while 34% were Neutral.

One respondent posed a question to this pesky auditor with “Our overall Business VP resides at our plant site. The ISO auditor always interviews the Plant Manager, but not the Business VP. The Plant Manager has authority over ISO/quality/plant/costs etc. and I see him as the applicable “top” management. I wonder if Pete would see it the same way or if Pete would insist or prefer to “audit” the Business VP too?”

Well, I guess I have to let you in on a secret. Pete’s credo regarding who in Top Management will fall victim to the hot breath of the auditor is whoever the top ranking official on site is. So the Business VP better be aware if Pete gets assigned!

We offer many thanks to those who took the time to share their thoughts for this survey. Hopefully, you found the data as interesting as we did. Allow me to leave you with a final comment that sure made my day!

“Without reservation I can honestly say our auditors from a service other than PRI are not to the PRI high standard I have known in the past at a previous employer. The business improvement is not their strong focus and appears to be built on relationships versus what the standard was and is intended to accomplish.” Amen!