ASQ - Energy and Environmental Division

EED Cosponsors ASQ Conference on ISO 9000 and ISO 14000

By Gary L. Johnson, ISO Conference Co-Chair

The American Society for Quality and its Energy and Environmental Division presented the 10th ASQ ISO 9000/ISO 14000 Conference in Dallas, Texas, on March 10–11, 2003. The conference was attended by approximately 250 at the Adam's Mark Hotel in downtown Dallas. The conference was held concurrently with the U.S. Standards Group Meeting on ISO 9000 and ISO 14000, which gave attendees an opportunity to meet and network with members of the US technical advisory groups (TAGs), which develop the US input to these standards.

The focus of the ISO conference was on the transition from ISO 9001:1994 Quality Management Systems (QMS) to the new ISO 9001:2000 standard. Certificate holders under the 1994 standard must convert their registrations to the 2000 version before the end of 2003 or lose their certification. The conference offered a Number of presentations intended to aid organizations in making effective transitions:

  • Effective Transition from ISO 9001:1994 to ISO 9001:2000
  • ISO 9001:2000 Internal Audit Program Enhancement
  • Experience from a Company with Multiple Sites
  • A Four-Stage Transition Process
  • Measuring Knowledge Work and Customer Satisfaction
  • Transitions for Small to Medium Businesses

Other sessions on ISO 9001–related topics included the transition from ISO/TS 16949:2002, implementing AS 9100A, and a possible new sector standard for the agricultural industry, AG-9000, as well as general quality management topics on tools and processes like management review, change management, setting measurable objectives, and rethinking documentation needs.

In addition, the conference provided the first public sessions on using the new auditing standard for QMS and Environmental Management Systems (EMS), ISO 19011:2002, Guidelines for Quality and/or Environmental Management Systems Auditing. In addition to providing an orientation to the new standard and its use, the conference included a plenary session on its impact on QMS and EMS registration programs and courses. Related sessions included the use of combined QMS/EMS audits and a description of the US supplement to the ISO 19011 standard that will provide additional guidance on internal and supplier audits and on use by small organizations. The supplement is a new initiative by the ANSI Z1 Committee to address several weaknesses in the ISO standard that concern the US Tags to TC 176 and TC 207. The supplement is expected to be completed and issued in late 2003.

As part of the conference EMS track, the limitations of self-declaration of conformity were discussed, particularly in those situations when the basis for the EMS is unknown or is not based on ISO 14001. In another timely session, a comprehensive description of Responsible Care® 14001 was presented on this new, unique certification program that offers both an ISO 14001 certificate and recognition of conformity with Responsible Care® requirements. The implementation of the program under the auspices of the Registrar Accreditation Board was discussed, and the role of certification and registration bodies for conformity audits was described. Responsible Care® 14001 certificates will be valid for three years, and the initial response across the chemical industry has been very promising.

Reflecting EED's long-term commitment to management systems integration, the EMS track also included several presentations QMS, EMS, and health and safety integration that further underscored the growth of this approach in the United States and globally. In addition to the two-day technical program, the Dallas conference offered several postconference courses for more comprehensive presentation of ISO-related subjects, including Integrating ISO 14001 and ISO 9001.

The Dallas conference provided a unique opportunity for organizations using ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 or planning their use to learn the latest information about these standards in a focused, two-day event of exceptional value. Approximately 20 exhibitors were on hand to meet with attendees and discuss related products and services. While attendance was lower than hoped for, the response by those who did attend was very positive. There was considerable praise for the timeliness and subject matter in the technical program. EED members—including Mary McDonald, Wendy Finerty, Connie Ritzert, and Gary Johnson—were very active in the preparation and presentation of the technical program.

The future of the ISO conferences is uncertain due to continued low attendance. The financial demands of producing even a two-day conference are great. Given the current economic climate, it is possible that ASQ and EED may elect to sponsor this conference every other year rather than annually. A final decision on the future of the conference will be made later this year. Whatever the result, both ASQ and EED are extremely pleased about the quality of the technical presentations and take pleasure that attendee satisfaction was so high. If we measure our success in terms of meeting the needs of the QMS and EMS communities, then the Dallas ISO conference was a resounding success.

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