The International Organization for Standardization, also referred to as ISO, is now widely known as an international standard-setting non-government organization that promulgates worldwide commercial and industrial standards. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, ISO currently has more than 150 member countries. It was founded on February 23, 1947 and the need for ISO was brought about by the urgency to develop an unbiased system of quality standards that everyone would accept and recognize. A family of standards for quality management and assurance that ISO maintains presently is ISO 9000.
ISO 9000 can be applied to any organization as it certifies the system or process used in manufacturing a product or service. It covers every stages of the production process, from product design up to product delivery. The standards for ISO 9000 include the following:
(a) ISO 9000:2000 Quality Management Systems fundamentals and vocabulary – contains the core language of the ISO 9000 series of standards and covers quality management systems basics.
(b) ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management Systems requirements – provides a number of requirements that the organization has to fulfill to meet or even exceed customer expectations.
(c) ISO 9004:2000 Quality Management Systems guidelines for performance improvements – gives advice on what has to be done to promote continual process improvement.
Meeting these ISO 9000 standards can definitely make an organization more competitive. Eventually, it can lead to a lot of benefits such as creating a more effective and efficient business operation, enhancing marketing techniques, promoting international trade, improving employee awareness and motivation, increasing profit and productivity by reducing waste and increasing customer satisfaction and retention.