Archive for August, 2010

PErfect ISO System

August 17, 2010

The perfect ISO system died today. Beautifully crafted and wonderfully presented, it was 10 pounds of flowcharted and textual procedures and work instructions written for ISO 9001. This perfect system “won” accredited certification for the company and kept the Quality Engineer employed for years.

When managers and employees said they wanted to change the system to avoid duplication and triplication the Quality Engineer assured them that the inefficiencies were required by ISO 9001. So it stayed, not as a system to help the business, but as a millstone to keep the certificate.

Everyone but the Quality Engineer hated it. It was a work of fiction and it made liars of them. Before the registrar’s auditor visited, the Quality Engineer would do a quick audit to verify conformity to ISO 9001 and hold a management review meeting. The managers went through the motions, obtained no value and were assured that ISO required this charade.

Then the credit crunch hit and management had to look at whose jobs generated value. They decided to let the Quality Engineer go. And what was to become of the perfect ISO system without its champion?

The Operations Manager took control and transformed the despised ISO system. With support from the management team, she is developing their Business Management System that helps everyone to determine and meet requirements for customers and continual improvement. The management system that actually runs their company is captured and shared electronically in flowcharted procedures without the textual duplications, and strangely enough, it happens to conform to ISO 9001.

The perfect ISO system is dead. Long live business management systems that work and happen to conform to ISO 9001.

For more information on how to transform your ISO system into a business management system that works, visit: