List of Topics


ISO 9000 Feedback

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 104 comments and questions on ISO 9000 issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.

List of next 15 letters




Attempt statistics Compliance vs Certification
List companies Compliance vs Certification
RMA Resources
Electronic document control Manual Sample
What should we do? Compliance
ISO 9000 for a Trucking company Simple Plan USA
Unsure about ISO 9000 Requirements
Resaerch on the commonalities of ISO and TQM TQM Comparison USA
Benefits, drawbacks and/or costs Compliance vs Certification USA
Info on ISO 9002 General USA
Power behind ISO 9000 General Sweden
ISO 9000 for t-shirts General USA
ISO 9000 Compliance General USA
ISO 9000 and TQM General Hong Kong

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First 15 letters

Compliance vs Certification

Attempt statistics

September 8, 2003


What are the statistics on companies receiving ISO 9001 certification on the first attempt?

Davida - (436)


I've never seen exact statistics on that. Since most companies use auditors to check compliance before making the official effort the percentage is high on the first attempt.

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Compliance vs Certification

List companies

August 12, 2003


All very interesting - but can you list companies who ARE registered, for me to make an objective assessment. e.g. are Barclays Bank registered as a TQM compliant or registered Company??

Ken - (198)


Good grief, there are are thousands of companies world wide that have been ISO 9000 certified or registered. The best bet is to contact companies in your industry to see if they have been ISO 9000 registered. Many will advertise the fact.

At the very least, following the ISO 9000 standards is a good business practice. Whether you gain a competitive advantage in becoming registered is what should be evaluated.

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August 5, 2003


Trying to find help or sample to assist in developing a Return Material Authorization (RMA) work instruction. Understand the manufacturing and or production industry uses a work instruction to guide personnel through processes involved with assessing various materials from vendors, suppliers or customers, and materials recieved are assessed as bad or good through RMA process to determine repairability, return, use or trash.
Can you help?

Pat - (125)


Sorry for taking so long to answer. I do not have information on that topic. Best wishes in your search.

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Manual Sample

Electronic document control

July 28, 2003


my current employer is using a new electronic Document Control system whereas all approvals for documents, engineering changes,etc. are done via an email and then stored. An email stating approval only, - no signatures on any documentation.

Does this policy conflict in any way with ISO Requirements... or is it left up to each individual company as to how the documents are approved/maintained... Please base your response on Govenment contract work....thanxxx

kevin - (26)



The main philosophy of ISO 9000 is that you tell how you’re going to do something, follow that practice and be able to verify you do it that way. If a company wanted the janitor to sign off documents, that would be fine, as long as they state that procedure and consistently follow it.

I hope that helps.

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What should we do?

January 30, 2002


I just read your article after struggling with the costs of becoming ISO Certified. I own a very small translation company (6 employees) and some of our clients are asking if we are ISO 9000 compliant or certified. How do we become compliant and how do we show we are compliant?

Kristen Giovanis
Chief Executive Officer
KJ International Resources, Ltd.
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Kristen - (314)


Being compliant would simply to follow the good business practices of ISO 9000, where you have a policy manual outlining how you maintain quality of work, have well-defined job descriptions, and document what you do in your business. You could tell your clients that you comply with the standards, but you are not yet officially certified. That may satisfy their concerns.

If you felt that having the official ISO 9000 certification would get you more business, you can go through the process. For a small company like yours, it may not cost much. You might check with the Minnesota chapter of the American Quality Society at to get the names of some local ISO 900 registrars. You can get an idea of how much it would cost you and what you would have to go through.

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Simple Plan

ISO 9000 for a Trucking company

September 2, 2001


I am interested in obtaining more information about how to become ISO 9000 Certified. I work for a trucking company in Arizona who has no knowledge of where to begin this process. For instance, I noticed that Step 3 involves training personnel to become internal auditors. How & where can we get this training? Any information you could send me by U.S. mail or e-mail would be greatly appreciated.


KC - USA (5250)


The whole idea of ISO 9000 is to make sure your company documents the important things it does, and that it then follows whatever guidelines it sets.

You should have somebody in charge of your quality assurance for your company. Tasks might include assurance that the trucks are in good condition and that the customers are satisfied with your services.

Once you set up a top-level quality policy manual, a list of procedures that tells who is responsible for what in your company, and a way you keep your records, you would want to have someone within the company occasionally check that documentation is properly checked. for example, if you had a safety check sheet for each truck, the auditor might see that they are being filled out.

The auditor helps to make sure the company is following what it had said it would. There is training for auditors, but in many cases it just takes someone who isn't afraid to nose around.

I would suggest you purchase a book or two on ISO 9000 -- perhaps from It is worth getting the latest facts on the process.

Check the American Society of Quality (ASQ) ISO 9000 ( site for good information.

Also, it would be good to send someone to a local ASQ meeting. It is a good place to find out about registrars in the area and such. Check either the Phoenix or Tucson chapter sites.

Best wishes in your efforts.

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Unsure about ISO 9000

March 13, 2001


I am j.s. srinivas from India and have basic doubts on iso 9000.
1.Actually i want to know difference between different
iso9000 series like iso 9001,9002,9003 etc.
2.Any competitors in market for iso9000.
3.Who will issue iso 9000 certificate.

J.S. - (317)


ISO 9000 is an international standard for quality. Companies agree to follow the standard and require their suppliers to do also.

ISO 9000 is an overview of the specific series ISO 9001, ISO 9002, ISO 9003. ISO 9001 is the most stringent requirement. Which one used depends on the industry.

See for information on certification.

You can learn more about ISO 9000 from

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TQM Comparison

Resaerch on the commonalities of ISO and TQM

March 11, 2001


My name is Vin Leong Chiew. I am a postgraduate student from the University of New South Wales (Australia). I would like to request some information regarding the similarities of Kaizen philosophy and ISO 9000 to Total Quality Management. From my information Kaizen has been a long history to successful TQM while ISO 9000 is commonly considered as a stepping stone to TQM.

Part of my research interests is to find out the commonalties and differences between the two approaches. Besides, I am also interested to find out how exactly or in what ways both can be integrated.

I would greatly appreciate if you can send me some of this type of information if there is any available or perhaps your precious opinions on these issues.

Thank You. Yours faithfully,

Vin Leong - USA (5249)


ISO 9000 is a set of standards or rules for a company to follow in order for them to better organize their business. It is mainly concerned with keeping good documentation of what a company does. It should actually be used before implementing TQM.

Total Quality Management covers a number of management practices, philosophies and methods to improve the way a company does business, makes its products, and deals with its employees and customers. Kaizen is one of those philosophies. The importance of customer satisfaction and the use of statistics to control processes are other concepts included in TQM.

Much of implementing this material has to do with the leadership and upper management of a company. The head of the company must decide that he wants to improve.

Then he should make sure the company is well organized by following the ISO 9000 standard. (I personally believe that can be done without officially being certified in ISO 9000).

The next step would be to start a TQM program. Probably the first part of TQM is striving to make quality goods to satisfy the customer. Then philosophies such as Kaizen, Taguchi methods, design of experiments and such can be followed.

Hopefully, this information is helpful to you. Keep me informed as to the results and applications of your studies.

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Compliance vs Certification

Benefits, drawbacks and/or costs

March 10, 2001


I am a student at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. I am doing a summer research project on the implementation of ISO 9001 in a small business (approx. 600 employees). Could you please send me more information on the of just becoming ISO 9000 compliant without actual registration. Thank you for your time.

Megan - USA (5248)


ISO 9000 compliance over actually becoming registered is something I feel is worthwhile, but I doubt any ISO 9000 consultants would agree with because it would cost much less. Some of the expenses required in ISO 9000 registration are in hiring a consultant to start the process, hiring auditors to check over a facility, and in hiring a registrar to give approval. Then there are yearly audits that must be paid for.

I believe that if a company does not need to be registered or certified, but they still want to improve the way they do business, they can simply bypass the official process and do it themselves. Obviously, the people making money at this will disagree. Perhaps some professors would too.

If a company complied with most of the ISO 9000 requirements and later had to become certified due to customer requirements, the job would be much easier for them.

The external costs for gaining registration can run from $35,000 to over $100,000, depending on the size of the company. This is not counting internal documentation and organizational expenses.

I hope this helps you. Keep me informed on how your research project works out.

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Info on ISO 9002

April 25, 1997


Do you know how I can get further information about iso 9002? Namely, the requirements and what it takes to obtain this. Even if you have a contact person I can get in touch with. I really do not know very much about it, but one of our offices internationally was asking if it was possible for us to obtain an iso 9002. Please let me know any information you might have. Thank you for your help. Sorry if this is too vague. BYU

Damara - USA (4137)


ISO 9002 is a subset of ISO 9000. 9001 is the most difficult to obtain and 9002 is a little easier. It depends on your industry. A good overview of ISO 9000 can be found at ASQC (American Society for Quality Control) can provide list of companies that work in the area. The best bet is to look in their Quality magazine or a similar one. There should also be some consultants and quality auditing firms in your locality that can guide you. You should be cautious about hiring a consultant, because many in the ISO 9000 certifcation area have been known to charge very high fees.

I hope this information has helped you. Keep me informed on how your efforts turn out.

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Power behind ISO 9000

April 24, 1997


Hello, We are two students at The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden who are working with a project about quality management. We wonder if you could tell us what made someone start ISO 9000. What was the power behind it? Please write us back as soon as possible if you know the answer since we have tried to get an answer from someone else for a long time.

Charlotte - Sweden (4135)


ISO stands for International Standards Organization. That organization felt there was a need to set standards to assure that companies deliver what they promise to deliver to other customers and companies. Most of the standards are concerned with keeping good documentation of the processes involved in making a product and keeping track of what is going during the manufacture of a product. Similar standards can also apply to service companies.

In other words, if a company is certified as an ISO 9000 company, you can be sure that you are getting good that are made in a consistent manner and that are what they company says they are. That is the concept in theory. It seems like a good idea.

Good luck in your project and keep me informed on your progress.

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ISO 9000 for t-shirts

April 24, 1997


Dear Ron, I read your web site on ISO 9000 with great interest. We are in an industry(marketing services) where creating a tangible difference between us and the guy down the street is extremely difficult. Can ISO 9000 be applied to a company that does not manufacture a product in house? We do have promotional products(hats, T-shirts) printed and manufactured externally for our clients, would that qualify?

I would be interested to hear if you have worked with companies in the marketing industry achieve ISO 9000 compliance or certification. Best regards, Mark Jackson Promotion Resource Group

Mark - USA (4136)


Some large major companies have implemented ISO 9000 division at a time. The reason for becoming ISO 9000 certified is usually to assure your customers that you will be providing the quality product or service you promise. Although many companies have used certification as a marketing tool, so they could advertise they were certified, I feel that has not resulted in that much of an edge. It is more important when your customers are in Europe. In fact, that the prime motivation for American companies to get certified in ISO 9000 was because most European companies required of their suppliers.

A problem about becoming certified or registered in ISO 9000 is that the auditing process can be expensive. The automobile industry has developed their own QS 9000 standards that are more industry specific to follow.

I think following the ISO 9000 standards is a good idea to improve the
way you do business, but I don't think a company -- especially a smaller one -- needs to become officially certified. In such a case, you might be able to advertise that you are "approaching ISO 9000 compliance."

By the way, ISO 9000 consists of a series (9001, 9002, 9003) that apply to different industries and different levels of strictness.

In your business, I would try to make sure my suppliers are somewhat compliant to ISO 9000 (in other words -- they provide reliable quality to you). This will help you provide quality to your customers. Also, to get an edge over you rcompetitors, I would emphasize customer service and personal concern to satisfy your customers. That is what they really remember and will cause them to come back, as opposed to some "strange" certification.

Good luck and keep me informed on what you decide to do.

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ISO 9000 Compliance

April 19, 1997


We are a small stainless distributor ($9 million in sales). ISO certification seems a bit excessive in terms of cost and effort. We really have no concept of the cost to become certified so this is why I am writing you. When you talk of ISO "compliance", what exactly would we need to do in order to achieve this? And, would this be enough (in your opinion) to pacify customers? Your feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Western Branch Metals, Inc.

Mark - USA (4134)


In many cases ISO 9000 certification is excessive and expensive. I had some numbers that related the size of a company to the approximate cost, but I don't have them handily. I know it can be expensive. There are auditing firms that really try to make a killing on this too.

Some companies have become certified simply in order to advertise that fact. I don't know if that has gotten them any more business or not. Other companies have become certified because the firms they do business require it. Still others have used it in hopes of getting more business in Europe or such.

If your customers don't require certification, I would hold off on it. On the other hand, the standards are a good tool to running your business in an effective manner. They mainly emphasize good documentation and record keeping. If you run your business roughly following the ISO 9000 standards, your business should be more effective and avoid situations of people cutting corners on jobs. Companies you do business will may appreciate they are are trying to comply with ISO 9000 even if you are not officially certified.

There are a number of good books that give an overview of ISO 9000. Also, the auto industry is using a version called QS-9000 which relates closer to their situation.

Check for some resources on these topics.

I hope this helped you. Let me know how it turns out.

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ISO 9000 and TQM

April 18, 1997


I am now doing a study project to compare and contrast the ISO 9000 Quality Management System with Total Quality Management. Would you be so kind to advise me in this topic? I am now working for the Royal Hong Kong Police Force providing service to the community. Which appropriate system you will recommend to the Force. I would like to have your views as part of my project.

Wing-Yuen - Hong Kong (4133)


ISO 9000 consist of a number of rules or standards that an organization should follow in order to run effectively. Although it is intended for industry, it is useful in any organization, such as a police force. Essentially, it concerns documenting what you are supposed to be doing and following the established procedures. Many organizations have practices to follow, but soon people start to skip things they should do. Get a list of the ISO 9000 standards and compare them to how your police force does its business. Often they are outlined in books on ISO 9000 or you can try for information.

Note that companies get registered in ISO 9000 in order to do business. An organization like a police force only needs to follow the standards as they fit into that organization.

Following the guidelines of ISO 9000 should be done BEFORE using Total Quality Management (TQM) techniques. TQM concerns improving efficiency, teamwork, and satisfying the customer. In the case of a police force, the customers are the public who pay the taxes for police protection. I hope this has helped you. I will be putting other documents I have written on my web site soon on this topic. I have worked in applying TQM within the U.S. Air Force.

Keep me informed on the progress and results of your study.

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