The argument quality has suffered for years since its birth (within its first publication in 1987 as the nowadays famous ISO 9000) several changes and adjustments (based on the prehistoric BS 5750 BSI – British Standards Institute which among other things had already been proposed to ISO as far back as 1979).
You should think its story can be almost traced some twenty years earlier, when the British Department of Defense released his MIL-Q-9858 Standard in 1959.
This specification was then revised in NATO AQAP in a number of rules in 1969, which were reviewed in the BS 5179 series of standards (within a guide published in 1974). Everything was then recapped and consolidated in the BS 5750 series of standards (required in 1979) before being proposed to the ISO.
As a result, this relevant core (the ISO 9000 of course) then developed other more recent regulations adapted and customized for various industries in which they must be recognized, applied and periodically certified. The maximum refine example of processing is of course the automotive industry that has seen literally transform ISO into several steps (who does remember the nowadays obsolete AVSQ-94 and QS-9000?) flowing in the latest ISO / TS 16949.
Nice! But what is the scope?
The “Technical Purpose” of creation and imposition of those wise rules and guidelines (if applied correctly…you cannot be wrong!) which should standardize and regulate the market at the global level can be enclosed in an old phrase that one of my first “Masters” (of which I still have a fond memory since he did initiate me on the Quality topics) who usually reminded me: “Do what you Write and Write what you Do.”
Only in this way, you can exactly take consciousness of the current scenario of your business system, being able to take corrective actions to improve in its fundamental aspects (where Japanese are the Masters) such as Quality, Cost , Delivery, which can be considered as the three main cardinal features that must be religiously adhered to lead a profitable business.
However it should be noted that those three key points cannot effectively exist and coexist in terms of consolidation over the time (Jack Welch managed to master the best practice of it during its second decade of service in the General Electric) without the contribution of people. Therefore to sum up: Quality, Cost, Delivery and…People indeed!
Wonder Bar! Well, not really! It did not take too much time that everything started to get rotten thanking to “Political Purpose” which is very intent to develop a complex web of business solely for profit scope while losing completely the sight of the sound principles that underlie the general “Technical Purpose”, making them to appear more like a “Fashion of Timings” rather than an opportunity for improvement through an effective and valuable global standard tool.
Hence the question we all should seriously consider: “How many organizations certified ISO/TS 16949 (but this subject can be also extended to all other industries indeed) are effectively complying to the requirements of the piece of paper officially obtained (i.e. the Certificate)? “.
In conclusion, the “Technical Purpose” is always accompanied hand in hand by the “Political Purpose”, which regularly has succeeded in undermining the solid foundation of the “Technical” in terms of credibility, by forcibly stepping into other scenarios (which we all can guess with a minimum of ethical reasoning and consciousness) which I do not personally consider to be relevant to the aim of global standardization of the Quality System according to ISO specifications (however this concept has been already recalled in one my former article published in February 2011).