Quality Management and Safety Engineering (BSc) - MST 326
Quality Management Systems (ISO 9000).

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A fundamental foundation for effective business practice is good customer-supplier relationships and understanding.  After the Second World War, there was an increasing requirement for inspection of products and documentation of procedures especially in the defence (US MIL-Q-9858a and NATO AQAP), space (NASA QSR), nuclear and power generation industries.  Increasingly the quality control of supplied materials has been delegated to the supplier.  At first, each customer would audit the suppliers practices and procedures.  As the practice became more widespread, the need for a widely accepted single route to company-wide certification was needed.  Each country has national standards for specific products which define minimum specifications for particular classes of goods (we will return to this topic towards the end of the course).  In 1979 in the United Kingdom, BS5750 - Quality Management and Systems was developed to permit a company to document its commitment to quality and the standard of its quality systems.

In 1987, the International Organisation for Standards (ISO) adopted a series of quality standards, ISO 9000:1987, based on BS5750 and strongly influenced by the US Department of Defence Military Standards (MILspecs).  The initial version was focused on quality control using retroactive checking and corrective actions.  ISO 9000 was revised in 1994 (ISO 9000:1994) with greater emphasis on quality assurance via preventive actions.  This required evidence of compliance with documented procedures and tended to create a significant volume of associated procedure ("do it as you document it") manuals and bureaucracy.  Ford, Chrysler, General Motors and other automotive/truck manufacturers identified deficiencies in ISO9000:1994 and undertook a re-interpretation and extension to develop QS-9000 which additionally addressed continuous improvement, manufacturing capability and production part approval processes.  The next version of the international standard (ISO 9000:2000) moved towards process performance metrics and hence reduced the need for documented procedures where there is clear evidence that the process is working well.  The standards provide criteria for companies to "certify" their quality management then achieve "registration" by a third-party auditor.  Recertification is required every three years.  This system verifies practice and processes, provides objective 3rd party validation and enables benchmarking.

Related standards include:

The revised ISO 9000:2000 quality management system standards series is based on eight quality management principles, described in detail on the ISO website:

  1. Customer focus
  2. Leadership
  3. Involvement of people
  4. Process approach
  5. System approach to management
  6. Continual improvement
  7. Factual approach to decision making
  8. Mutually beneficial supplier relationships
  9. The next step

and consists of four primary standards:

ISO 9000:2000 is structured into 21 elements organised into four major sections:

BSI Management Systems suggests some key steps that every company implementing a Quality Management System (QMS) will need to consider.

The costs of certification may be considerable.  Evans and Lindsay [page 137] suggest that the registration audit may cost US$10-40K with training and documentation being of the order of US$100K.  However, the recording of the activities of the company can save money:  the data may also be used to inform individual changes or to underpin continuous improvement programs and may prove invaluable as evidence in the event of litigation.  Evans and Lindsay [page 138] record the following as consequent upon ISO 9000:

Topics related to the quality management system and addressed in other standards include:

A key goal for integrated management systems is QuEnSH: Quality, Environment and Safety and Health.

Recommended reading

URLs for ISO9000 (checked as live on 28 January 2005):

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Created by John Summerscales on 27 November 2004 and updated on 24-Jul-2014 11:04. Terms and conditions. Errors and omissions. Corrections.