In this report, the background information of International Organization for Standardization (“ISO”) will be introduced first. Then, I will discuss ISO audit and its practice in Hong Kong and overseas. As there are numerous standards under ISO, ISO9000 - Quality management System is selected for detailed discussion.
ISO is the largest developer of voluntary International Standards around the world which was found in 1947. It consists of the members from the national standards bodies of 163 countries. Up to now, it has published more than 19,500 International Standards, which cover almost all aspects of business and technology.
The organization goal of ISO is to make industry be more efficient and effective. Conformity to International Standards helps industry to gain economic and societal benefits. In economic aspect, the standards can break down barriers to international trade and help companies enter new markets. The guidelines and tools mentioned in the standards can optimize the operation of the business and thus increase the productivity and reduce the costs.
Besides, in societal aspect, the standards provide confidence to all customers that the products are safe, reliable and in high quality. Also, environmental problems can be solved. For instance, ISO14000 - Environmental management system provides guidelines to solve air and water pollution as well as the emission problem of gases. Thus, the health of citizens can be protected.
ISO9000 - Quality management System
The ISO 9000 family of standards provide guidance and tools for organizations to ensure that their goods and services consistently fulfill customer’s requirements, and the quality of products is consistently improved. There are many standards in the ISO9000 family and each standard has its own fundamental principle. For example, ISO 9000:2005 deals with the basic concepts and language while ISO 9001:2008 covers the requirements of quality management system.
1. Benefits for complying with ISO9000:
If the companies follow the guidelines under ISO9000, their products and services will meet customer’s requirements. Also, the quality of products can maintain at a high level. Therefore, customer satisfaction can be maintained and improved. Besides, high-quality products can enhance marketing and promote international trade. Then, company profits may be increased. Once all customers are satisfied, the chance of receiving complaints will be eliminated. Praise and awards from customers may be received, resulting in the improvement of employees’ motivation, awareness, and morale. Furthermore, the operation of the business can be optimized. Hence, the organizations can reduce waste, increase the productivity and reduce the costs.
2. “Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle” under ISO9000:
To run a quality management system, managers should go through four steps. They include “Plan”, “Do”, “Check” and “Act”. In the planning stage, the managers should identify customers’ requirements by receiving their feedback. Also, they may conduct several market surveys and analysis in order to locate the current market position of the company and decide which new market to entry.
Then, in the doing stage, managers should produce and manufacture products that meet the customers’ needs. They can perform materials requirement planning in order to know how much parts are needed to produce the targeted products. Next, in the checking stage, managers should check whether the products are still fulfilling customers’ requirements. To know the answers, they can carry out customer satisfaction surveys.
In the acting stage, managers should perform improvement on the quality management system in order to increase its effectiveness and efficiency. When the managers find that the system no longer conforms to ISO9000, they may redefine the system objectives or develop a new system. Finally, the company will perform the four steps again...