Why ISO 9001?

written by Jim Hampshire, Dataram Memory Blog Team Member

At Dataram, all new employees from executive management to touch labor are provided a training session entitled, “ISO9001 QMS (Quality Management System) OVERVIEW AND AWARENESS”.  I have been providing that training session for over 10 years and am often asked, “Why have an ISO 9001 system?”  Hopefully by the end of the session, they are provided an answer to that question, but here I will attempt to answer it in a few paragraphs.

The ISO 9001 standard has now been in existence for over 20 years and is still increasing in popularity.  There are now over 1 million companies globally with certifications, and that number has increased every year since it inception.  In recent years there has been a rapid growth in China, which now accounts for approximately a quarter of those certifications.  In fact, ISO 9001 is the world’s most-used Management System Standard.

There must be some benefit to be gained, or why would organizations continue to expend dollars and labor hours in an effort to verify ongoing compliance?  The answer is simple – it is because the principals of the standard deal mainly with three process-oriented goals: Customer Satisfaction, Continual Improvement and Utilization of Proven “Good Business Practices”.  Those are three goals that would head the list of any reputable company’s objectives.

As an individual who has been in the electronics manufacturing Quality/Test arena for over 30 years, if there is any concept that I fully support it is that reliable product and ultimate customer satisfaction must originate from a process approach.  Quality is not simply a group of individuals or a department but rather an organizational philosophy, a way of doing business.  Adherence to the principals and intent of the 9001 standard has proven to be one effective way of accomplishing that philosophy because it deals with a company’s overall Management System.

ISO 9001 does not define the acceptance levels of your product or service, but helps you achieve consistent results and continually improve the process.  If you can produce a good product most of the time, this helps you make it all of the time. It’s just a series of proven basic business practices.

Of course, the benefits of employing an ISO 9001 system within an organization can only be fully recognized if it is treated seriously, truly enforced and believed in by all personnel, starting with executive management.  At Dataram, we deem our ISO 9001 compliance to be a top priority with all affected personnel’s involvement mandatory.  We use it as it is intended—as a tool to continuously improve, with enhanced customer satisfaction as the ultimate objective.

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