ISO 9001 Registration: Do we need Management Buy-In?

The answer to the question is a most definite YES – you can. Of course the company will not get all of the benefits but the reason why the unaccredited certifying companies do so well is that the customers of their customers don’t really know the meaning of ISO 9001 etc. and hence it is “theatre” – you have a certificate (the badge) so it MUST be OK.

In general terms the standard of auditors for accredited certifying bodies is not that good and you will attain certification status with a little rehearsal before the audit.
Let us not be too purist about this.

I am NOT condoning it just stating what I find in practice.
I have clients who have retained certification when there is little acknowledgement by the senior management. I, together with the QM, manage to retain a good working relationship with the auditor.
This is a reason why the certifying bodies should make a change to the auditor visiting a client rather than having the same one throughout the certification period.
I shall enjoy reading some of the responses, if there are any. By Malcolm Gibbs(Management Consultant for Business Standards (ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001, ISO 13485, OHSAS 18001)

This may be an unpopular response, but it is possible for companies to achieve ISO accreditation without management buy-in. There are reasons for this; such as: the corporate office mandate, customer PO requirement, managers not understanding the significance of ISO, managers not being trained on their role in supporting ISO, etc. All it takes is one ISO expert, a pile of money, a little time and an ISO registrar who is led to believe that there is management support; and BINGO; a certificate is granted. However, If management is not engaged in the leading or supporting the program, the Company will not gain the benefits of the journey nor will they reap the cost savings and improvement opportunities. It is better to wait until managers are trained, motivated and committed to the concepts of quality system and process improvement before the ISO journey is started. A better question might be: Who’s role is it to convince management of the benefits of quality system improvements? By Ron Tuznik (Quality Engineering Project Manager)

We need a definition of ‘buy-in’. Buy-in occurs when a meaningfully constructed QMS has been designed collaboratively by the leadership team with the intent of following it because it captures how the organization will succeed doing business.
It is naïve to believe the purchase of certification constitutes ‘buy-in’. It is not ‘buy-in’ if a quality manager must police the organization to maintain the certification. A flurry of activity by the QM prior to ISO audits in order to make sure all outstanding NCs have been corrected, any improvements noted, etc. is akin to sweeping parking lots and painting handrails prior to senior corporate visits. By Scott Robertson(Business Improvement Specialist at Diavik Diamond Mines Inc.)

Do not implement a management system especially for certification. Instead develop your organizational management system to create more successful customers. Do not “implement ISO 9001″. It is better to understand and develop the management system that actually runs your organization.

Ask yourself “is my quality management system worthy of top management commitment?” If it is “yours” then it probably is not worthy especially if its main focus is on controlling documented information, inspection and controlling nonconformity or some other preoccupation of the Quality Department.

Focus instead of what your organization does to convert the needs of customers into cash in the bank (or continued funding). This is the system that needs to be improved by top management’s management system. Make this a reality and never worry about such top management commitment again. By John Broomfield (Senior Vice President at Quality Management International, Inc.)

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