Quality System FAQ
The following questions and answers will introduce you to the ISO 9000 Quality System standards.
What is ISO?
This is the International Organization for Standardization, a federation of National Standards bodies from 140 nations. The name ISO is not an acronym, but is taken from the Greek word iso, meaning "Equal" since all member bodies have an equal say into the standards. ISO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. What is the ISO 9000 family of standards?
These are generic quality management system standards. They are 'generic' in the sense that they will apply to any organization or industry no matter the size of the organization. A management system defines the process for doing the business of the organization. And they are standards that define the state-of-the-art processes and procedures for defining and implementing a management system.
These are voluntary standards: organizations choose to adopt them. They don't define what quality is for a particular product or industry, but they do define the requirements for a management system to control processes for quality. By using the procedures and processes in the Quality Management System, organizations will reliably produce goods and services that meet the needs and requirements of their customers.
How is Quality defined?
Quality in the ISO 9000 family of standards refers to all those features of a product or service that are required by the customer. So, it is the customer who defines what quality is and means. The ISO 9000 standards represent a consensus on what constitutes good management practices that will allow an organization to reliably deliver products or services that meet the requirements of the customer.
What is 'certification' and how is it obtained?
Certification of compliance with the ISO 9000 standards is provided by a third-party registrar, and not from the ISO organization. The Registrar will audit the Quality Management System for a company to insure that all the requirements of the ISO 9000 standards are met. ISO 9000 defines the requirements of an effective management system, but does not specify how these requirements are met in a particular organization. This allows the organization to find the best way for itself that suits the organization's size, product or service, and culture.
What is the differences the standards in the ISO 9000 family?
The ISO 9000 is a family of standards, each of which will cover a different scope of activities. One standard is not better or worse than another. ISO 9001 covers Design and Development, Production, Testing and Inspections, and Servicing activities. The ISO 9002 standard covers all except Design and Development, while ISO 9003 covers Servicing.
SEH America, as a full service manufacturer, is certified under the ISO 9001 standard.