Volume 7 · Issue 11 · November 2002
ISO 9001:2000 Advisory Group Meets to Support ISO 9000
Registrations Poor Indicator of ISO 9001:2000 Acceptance
At a time when the transition to ISO 9001:2000 may be accelerating
while also moving in more than one direction as far as implementation
goes, coordination of the activities of a wide range of organizations
is critical to ensuring efficient support for the effective
acceptance and use of the quality management system (QMS)
requirements standard. Indications are that the number of
registrations to ISO 9001:2000 do not reflect the true level
of transition activity underway but that not all organizations
presently registered to ISO 9001/2/3:1994 will remain registered
when the transition period ends.
However, this situation means that effective implementation
and dedicated use of QMSs meeting and exceeding ISO 9001s
requirements are more important to true ISO 9001:2000 acceptance
than having many organizations simply complete the transition.
Such acceptance will only be accomplished by strengthening
the conformity assessment system while also providing greater
support for implementers, users and auditors.
This significant conclusion led to the creation in May 2002
of the ISO 9001:2000 Advisory Group (IAG), an umbrella group
of interested parties to the use of ISO 9001 and the rest
of the ISO 9000 series of quality assurance and quality management
The IAG met for a second time in Berlin on September 22,
2002, to continue its consideration of a number of issues
surrounding the effective use of ISO 9001:2000 and the rest
of the ISO 9000:2000 series. What is important to understand
is that the IAG will not itself be taking any actions, but
it will instead act as a coordinating body for a variety of
groups and organizations that will take actions linked to
QMS implementation auditing and use.
"As far as addressing the slow transition is concerned,
that is a matter exclusively for the ISO 9001/2:1994-registered
organizations themselves, their registrars and the accreditation
body members of the IAF [International Accreditation Forum]
to manage," noted Nigel H. Croft, Chairman of the International
Standardized Testing Organization, who is serving as the ISO
9001:2000 IAG co-convenor in addition to being the ISO Technical
Committee (TC) 176 Liaison Delegate to the IAF. "ISO
9000 and the IAG are not only about registration, and the
IAG is not only looking at the transition to ISO 9001:2000.
"We in the IAG are looking at the whole ISO 9000 scenario
and the threats and opportunities associated with it. Topics
we are addressing include issues associated with auditor competence,
registrar competence and integrity and accreditation of registrars
by overseas accreditation bodies, as well as general issues
of consumer understanding of ISO 9001:2000 and what the standard
can and cant do.
"The transition is only one aspect of the IAGs
work, and we need to put it into perspective. The uptake hasnt
been as fast as we had expected initially, though in general
organizations have been receptive to the new standard itself.
And the IAG can only recommend that its constituent member
bodies, such as the IAF, take actions to improve the uptake."
In fact, one of the major results of the Berlin meeting was
the reinforcement of the IAGs belief that more needs
to be done to ensure that registrars and their auditors are
competent to conduct audits of process-based QMSs conforming
to ISO 9001:2000.
"The IAG will not be developing guidance,
since that is not its role," confirmed Dale Misczynski,
senior advisor of the Industry Cooperation on Standards and
Conformity Assessment (ICSCA). He is a representative of ICSCA
to the IAG and spoke with THE OUTLOOK about the Berlin
meeting. "Any guidance will be developed by the IAF through
its Technical Committee."
In fact, THE OUTLOOK has learned that the IAF, consisting
of 40 accreditation bodies worldwide, met in Berlin concurrent
with the IAG, and approved a resolution calling for the development
of a guidance document for QMS auditors that will focus on
auditing of an ISO 9001:2000- and thus process-based QMS.
In a communiqué from the 16th annual meeting of the
IAF on September 21 and 26, 2002, the IAF stated:
The Joint IAF-ISO/TC 176-ISO/IEC CASCO ISO 9000 Advisory
Group held its second meeting and further developed its
terms of reference as well as identified activities currently
being undertaken in support of the implementation of ISO
9001. The Annual Meeting approved the proposal that the
Advisory Group should develop consensus on best practices
for auditing of management systems, recognizing the need
for innovation following the introduction of ISO 9001:2000
and the new ISO 19011.
The IAG will be playing a key role in the development of
this guidance, even if the IAF will draft the actual document.
Consensus on this "Best Auditing Practices" approach
will include IAF accreditation body, registrar and industry
members, as well as representatives from ISO/TC 176 (responsible
for ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 19011:2002 and the other ISO 9000
series standards) and ISO/CASCO.
In light of this development, it may be useful to gain a
greater understanding of the IAG, the task it faces and how
it may benefit your organization. Croft and Misczynski provided
THE OUTLOOK with information about the IAG and its
Berlin meeting. What follows provides a good sense of the
two directions in which the transition may be moving, what
it may mean to your organization and what the IAG member bodies
may provide that will assist you in making an effective and
One Transition But Two Directions?
There appears to be two different directions being followed
by organizations presently registered to ISO 9001/2/3:1994
but planning to make the transition:
- Transitioning of QMSs and upgrading of 1994 certificates
to ISO 9001:2000 and/or sector-specific requirements aligned
with ISO 9001:2000
- Transitioning of QMSs without planning to renew 1994 certificates.
Despite the slow transition so far, recent indications in
the United States and worldwide are that the vast majority
of organizations presently registered to ISO 9001/2:1994 or
sector-specific requirements based on ISO 9001:1994 will be
upgrading their certificates to ISO 9001:2000.
One point that Croft made is that the number of registrations
to ISO 9001:2000, even 13 months before the end of the transition
period, is a poor indicator at present of what is taking place
in the ISO 9000 user community. While the vast majority of
organizations registered to ISO 9001/2:1994 have not yet obtained
an upgraded certificate for ISO 9001:2000, that does not mean
the vast majority are not in the process. It simply means
that the pressure to transition is not speeding up the rate
at which ISO 9001:2000 certificates are issued and reported
to registration databases.
"It seems that a large number of organizations are well
on their way to implementing the changes, though they have
not yet achieved the upgraded registration," explained
Croft. "We need to remember that the criterion we are
using is a yes/no as far as certificates are concerned.
Even if an organization has done 90% of the work needed to
make the transition, until it successfully completes the upgrade
audit, it is still counted as a no, which can
distort the statistics."
Croft acknowledged that there are several reasons that account
for the slow transition so far, not all of which are bad.
"For instance, I know of a number of organizations that
are taking the opportunity to revamp their whole QMSs. Instead
of asking, What do I have to do to comply with the new
standard?, they are asking, How can I take full
advantage of the new standard to improve my organization and
make the management system something that truly adds value?
At a European Organization for Quality meeting held in the
United Kingdom shortly after the IAG and IAF meetings, a representative
of one such organization quoted Mae Wests immortal words:
If a things worth doing, its worth doing
slowly! I agree wholeheartedly."
However, not all organizations registered to ISO 9001/2:1994
are going to continue to hold registration certificates, even
though most of these will transition their QMSs and go beyond
the baseline conformity requirements of ISO 9001:2000. Misczynski
serves as an advisor to ICSCA, an association that places
high value on the effective use of QMSs and views ISO 9001:2000
as a baseline that is inadequate to compete in a world-class
environment. "In general the ICSCA member companies operate
quality management systems that exceed the requirements of
ISO 9001:2000," affirmed Misczynski.
Thus, many ICSCA members view ISO 9001:2000 registration
as an ineffective way to pursue real quality management, since
an organization would be verifying conformity to an inadequate
baseline. Misczynski told THE OUTLOOK that some organizations
that are members of ICSCA have dropped or plan to let their
ISO 9001/2:1994 registrations drop, because their QMSs already
surpass ISO 9001:2000. "The members, in general, see
little value from the registration process, and we are aware
of several companies that are not planning to upgrade
"We must face the fact that some organizations may choose
not to continue with their ISO 9001/2 registrations as a result
of the transition," acknowledged Croft. "That could
be because they are not quality organizations
and do not embrace the principles on which the new standards
are based, making it difficult for them to make the transition.
Or, as Dale has pointed out, it could be that they have decided
that registration is no longer an important consideration
for them, although they plan to continue to use the ISO 9000
standards as a basis for their quality management systems."
Croft believes that part of the problem with ISO 9001:2000
registration today may be due to the "overselling"
of ISO 9000 in the past to organizations that did not really
benefit from the standards, but needed the registration in
order to do business. "There was one infamous
story several years ago about a group of folk dancers in Europe
who achieved registration to be able to provide their services
to the local government. In that case, I would certainly question
the value of registration!
"Regarding the values of registration in the vast majority
of cases, however, there is ample data available in publications
like THE OUTLOOK and on the official ISO web site (www.iso.org)
and others that demonstrate the success of organizations that
have implemented ISO 9001:2000 in a wholesome
way. By wholesome, I mean when an organization
applies the spirit, not just the letter, of the standard in
implementing or revising a QMS. One thing that the IAG discussed
in Berlin was the need to educate users of ISO 9000 about
what registration to ISO 9001:2000 actually means, and what
the standard can and cant be expected to provide. There
are several initiatives currently underway, including the
IAFs and ISO Central Secretariats communication
If your organization is considering whether to continue its
registration or let it lapse, it is important to consider
whether one or more of its customers is going to continue
to require QMS registration, which would make the transition
a necessity. "From my own personal perspective, the large
organizations I deal with in Europe and Asia are indicating
that they will continue to require ISO 9001:2000 registration
as a basis for supplier selection and evaluation," confirmed
Decisions this year by the Big Three and others in the automotive
sector to require transitioning to ISO Technical Specification
(TS) 16949:2002, which is aligned with ISO 9001:2000 and requires
production and service part suppliers to TS-registered organizations
to be registered to ISO 9001:2000, will have a major impact
as the ISO 9001:2000 transition continues.
Customer requirements are likely to remain a major reason
for organizations to be registered to ISO 9001 when the 2000
edition becomes the only choice. However, many organizations
will continue to find internal value from having third-party
assessments of QMS conformity and effectiveness, especially
when ISO 9001:2000 is considered an adequate baseline for
performance improvement within an organization.
Nevertheless, registration may not be worth keeping for a
few organizations. While more than 90% of registered organizations
likely will maintain registration, some may find registration
inadequate because their systems go well beyond ISO 9001:2000s
requirements. A few others may find registration ineffective
because third-party audits and a formal QMS fail to motivate
and drive their management and employees to pursue QMS effectiveness
What about organizations that choose to "retain"
their ISO 9001/2:1994 certificates after the transition period?
While this will happen temporarily in the US automotive sector
because of the ISO-approved extended life of QS-9000, which
includes the 20 clauses of ISO 9001:1994, there is little
expectation that this practice will be considered in other
sectors or will provide much practical value. Even QS-9000
certificates will have decreasing value over time as customer
deadlines for transitioning to ISO/TS 16949:2000 approach
and more and more suppliers have made the transition.
According to Croft, when the transition criteria were defined
by a multifunctional group consisting of the IAF, the ISO
Council Committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO) and ISO/TC
176 in 1999, the group adopted a "macro" policy
that would allow market forces to decide the details for themselves.
"There are certainly no plans afoot to extend the transition
period beyond December 15, 2003," advised Croft, who
added, "It is really up to the market to decide if any
eventual nonaccredited certificate to a standard that is more
than 3 years out of date is of relevance in 2004! There is
an old Latin phrase that says as much today as it did when
first uttered: Caveat emptor! (Let the buyer beware!)"
What Is the ISO 9001:2000 IAG and Its Mission?
You may be wondering what the ISO 9001:2000 IAG is and what
it will be doing to help the ISO 9000 user community get the
most out of use of the ISO 9000 standards. According to Croft
and Misczynski, the IAG is a forum of sorts for organizations
and associations relating to QMS conformity assessment and
related issues. The membership includes Trevor N. Smith, International
Chairman of ISO/TC 176; Katrina Altoft, Secretary of TC 176;
the IAF accreditation body members (e.g., representatives
of the Registrar Accreditation Board, the United Kingdom Accreditation
Service and the Japan Accreditation Board for Conformity Assessment)
as well as its certification body/registrar association members
of IAFe.g., Independent International Organization for
Certification (IIOC), the International Certification Network
(IQNet), the Japan Association of Certification Bodies (JACB),
the Association of British Certification Bodies (ABCB), the
IAAR (representing US accredited registrars); and representatives
of the IAF, ISO/CASCO and the International Auditor Training
and Certification Association (IATCA).
Other participants include Vijay K. Mediratta, Secretary
General of Quality Council of India, Marisol Valenzuela, Executive
Director of the International Accreditation Registry, Misczysnki
and Croft. "The membership of the IAG was formed at the
Denver meeting in May 2002 and is currently limited to that
group," said Misczynski.
As for what the IAG will do, Misczynski and Croft both indicated
that the group has no enforcement or even guidance-development
authority, but will provide a means of discussing issues and
recommending actions to one or more of the groups members.
"The IAG group is very much in its infancy,"
suggested Croft. "Keep in mind that the first exploratory
workshop that gave rise to the group was held in Denver only
6 months ago, where we tried to bring together the major interested
parties and identify the strengths and weaknesses of ISO 9000
as a whole, and the opportunities and threats associated with
the transition to the ISO 9000:2000 family.
"The sharing of information among member organizations
is critical to the groups mission. In Berlin, we collated
information on the many initiatives that are currently underway
in this arena, to ensure that all the component members of
the group were aware of things that the others are doing.
We also discussed related ISO developments, such as the publication
of ISO 19011, Guidelines for quality and/or environmental
management systems auditing, the revision of ISO Guide
62 (used as a basis for the accreditation of registrars),
and the development underway of ISO 10019, Guidance for
the selection and utilization of quality management system
"In total we came up with more than 20 initiatives that
are currently in progress. The next step will be to match
up those initiatives with the SWOT analysis we
did in Denver and identify gaps that need to be addressed.
Again, let me emphasize that any tasks that need to be carried
out will be done under the umbrella of one of the component
member organizations of the IAG, not by the IAG itself."
As an example, Croft mentioned activity by the IAG involving
auditor competency with ISO 9001:2000, which involves a process-based
approach to quality management. "In Berlin, we did identify
auditor competence as a critical factor in the success of
the new standards and know that many auditors have difficulty
in understanding the new process approach both
in terms of ISO 9001:2000 and the auditing technique,"
reported Croft, who added that the IAG did consider what role
ISO 19011 will play in helping auditors. "The new standard
will go some way in dealing with auditor competence issues."
Croft provided the following list of "draft terms of
reference" that have been agreed upon for the tasks of
- Monitor the credibility of ISO 9001:2000 in its role for
registration and provide feedback for each of the component
members of the group, as appropriate
- Provide a forum for discussion of user satisfaction and
to call for action by component members of the group, as
necessary, when complaints or indications of concern are
- Identify issues that indicate the need for official ISO/TC
176 "interpretations" to ISO 9001:2000 or specific
IAF or ISO guidance documents
- Provide feedback to ISO/TC 176 on the acceptance of its
standards and provide inputs for eventual future revisions
- Provide a catalyst for ISO member bodies and accreditation
body members of the IAF to stimulate similar "shadow"
committees on a local or regional basis.
An initial result of the IAG meetings in Denver and Berlin
will be the introduction of a guidance document by the IAF
to help third-party auditors increase the effectiveness of
their audits. This will be done by increasing auditor understanding
of how auditing of a process-based QMS is conducted. THE
OUTLOOK will provide ongoing coverage of the IAGs
efforts and related developments within its member bodies.
Return to Top