Who's the Enemy?

May 5, 2003
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
Dear Editor,

I read your recent editorial with much interest, since I have been battling in the ISO trenches for about 10 years now. I have noticed one thing about the "enemy" in all this, and to paraphrase the cartoon strip "Pogo," it is us!

If there has been one constant complaint about ISO 9000 though the years, it is the tired refrain about drowning in the waves of paperwork that implementation of the standard has forced us to create. While attempting to put in place and implement those elements of a good quality system (things we arguably should have been doing anyway) many of us somehow managed to translate the requirement for adequate documentation into documenting everything from complicated test procedures to sharpening pencils. It didn't have to happen that way.

In my capacity as a quality professional (I'm also a lead auditor, and Chair of the Syracuse Section of ASQ) I've been exposed to many company ISO systems. I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but I've seen the 200-page quality manual, the training classes on the most mundane and simplistic of procedures, overwritten procedures, unnecessary procedures and audits that were a mile wide and an inch deep. The standard requires none of this, and good auditors will recognize that. We have nobody but ourselves to blame. We once had a manager at our company circulate a 40-page procedure on component obsolescence. I returned my red-lined copy to him, and remarked that the main problem was that it was just too darn long. He came up with a novel solution. He edited his document down to 20 pages or so by decreasing the font size! As humorist Dave Barry says, "I am not making this up." We have to recognize the certificate on the wall for what it is -- not the end of a registration process, but the beginning of an improvement process. I think education is the key. By that, I don't mean simply training your internal auditors.

We have to recognize what the standard was created to facilitate in the first place, and spread the word. Unfortunately, we still can't proceduralize common sense.

Bill Busher
Quality Systems Engineer
Inficon Inc.
Chair, Syracuse (NY) Section, ASQ

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Quality Magazine. 

You must login or register in order to post a comment.




 In honor of World Quality Month, we spoke to James Rooney, ASQ Past Chairman of the Board of Directors 2013, for his take on quality around the world.
For more information, read the ASQ Speaking of Quality column.
More Podcasts

Quality Magazine


2014 September

Check out the September 2014 edition of Quality Magazine for features!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

The Skills Gap

What is the key to solving the so-called skills gap in the quality industry?
View Results Poll Archive

Clear Seas Research

qcast_ClearSeas_logo.gifWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.



facebook_40.png twitter_40px.png  youtube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.png