AND ISO CERTIFICATION
By Syed Faisal Gillani
Oct 16 - Oct 22, 2000
There is a general notion among people that an ISO
certification means good quality products/services. However this may not
be the case in general.
This notion or perception has been created partly due
to — if I may say, the exploitation of ISO certification through media
that some how implies on the good quality of products/services, and
partly due to the abstract concept of 'quality' itself.
What one has to understand is that ISO does not
certify the "quality of products/services" per se, it actually
certifies the company's Quality Management System according to the
critieria or standards established by the International Organization for
On the other hand it is also not necessary that all
the activities of an organization must be ISO certified. A company can
get the certification only for their manufacturing operations or
distribution set up or the quality control department. In which case the
question arises, what about the quality of their other areas that have
not been certified? Are they not delivering the quality? Well, yes and
As stated earlier 'Quality' is an abstract concept.
Any product or service could be a good quality for one person and a bad
quality for another. By the same token one product at one particular
time may prove to be good for the same person where as at other time it
might prove otherwise. The official definition of quality is "the
totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that
bear upon its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs".
Reference ISO 8402/BS4778.
It is the later part of the definition that makes the
difference — the ability to satisfy stated or implied needs. For
example if a person needs to write only, he/she might go for pen worth
of Rs. 2/-, however if he/she also needs to create an impression of his
status he/she might use a very expensive pen. In the first case a stated
need is being satisfied where as in the second case it is the implied
need that is being satisfied. Hence both products are quality products.
The concept of quality is not new; it started perhaps
with the start of civilization. Each and every company strives for
quality in its own way. So what is the hype about?
It seems that this interest in quality has been
created due to the overwhelming success of Japanese businesses where in
they have practically beaten the United States and other Western
organizations in different fields.
Japanese realized that the needs and wants of
consumers are continuously changing, they are in the dynamic state. That
quality actually resides in the minds of the consumers or users, and
that quality is not a fixed goal but a moving target.
Hence we can say that a company that is capable to
identify the changing needs and wants of its customers and then
interactively designs, develops, procures, manufactures, services and
maintains its products and services in the most economical way is
actually doing an over all good quality job.