Some organizations have been certified to ISO 9000 since the inception of the standard in 1987. You may be one of many facing the tough decision to transition to the new version of the standard with a deadline of December 2003. Even though December 2003 is past and gone many companies still have not converted to the new version of the standard. Why? Those who are not concerned with the impact of letting customers know that they are registered to the newest version are looking at the changes and saying why should we bother, we have a system in place. Others have a culture of motivating their employees around a project and viewed ISO implementation as a "flavor of the month". As soon as they were registered their enthusiasm dissipated and could not continue the effort required to maintain the system.
But, let's face it. What would happen if you build a building and once it's built you stopped any maintenance or improvements. Eventually if not maintained or upgraded it will become obsolete, and fall into ruin. The same will happen with a management system. If the system is not maintained it will become obsolete and outdated. If it's not improved it will become antiquated and slow and useless. Employees will be disenchanted with the process and disillusioned with the management team.
Those companies that viewed ISO 9001 as a culture change rather than a project are still certified and have expanded their registration to other management system standards. The standard registration process ensures not only that you maintain the system but also requires you, with the 2000 version of the standard, to continually improve your processes and bottom line results.
If everyone in your organization has a natural instinct to continually look analyze and maintain the efficient system you've created, you may not need any standards to live up to. But if your organization needs that external push to keep you looking and self evaluating your management system, your organization can benefit from the registration process. To keep generating benefits out of the investment you've put in you need to maintain the system and work hard to make it better all the time. IF IT WAS EASY, ANYONE COULD DO IT!
The 2000 version of the ISO-9001 standard was expanded to add continual improvement and focused a lot more on the importance of achieving customer satisfaction. The standard added more emphasis on company metrics. We all want to do business with organizations that have established record of excellence and have systems in place that will be there when we need them. Long term focus and continual reach for excellence should be the virtues of all organizations. ISO 9001-2000 is a tool that can be used by any organization to help them reach those goal.
Whether you have been certified in the past or are a newcommer to this process the standard can help you achieve these goals. With current tools and computerized software, that can automate the maintenance of tasks, ISO 9001-2000 can be easily achieved and maintained. Just keep in mind ISO9001 is just a tool, just like a hammer it can be used to build things or destroy things. Understanding the standard requirements is crucial to creating a management system that will help your company reach it's future goals.