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Is earning ISO worth money?

By: Daryl Guberman

September 28, 2012

For over 30 years I’ve been involved in manufacturing and quality, starting at Sikorsky Aircraft and weaving through myriad industries — plastics, medical implants, industrial materials and printing. Indeed, I can remember the time when it was a significant achievement and honor for a company to acquire ISO certification/registration.

Unfortunately, it has since metamorphosed from an ethical standardizations process to a profit-driven system controlled by a monopoly supposedly overseeing all major registration companies.

In short, the fundamental principles of quality went from an esteemed achievement to one that can be bought. Is this quality? Or quality out of control?

The lack of added value continues to be the primary concern of quality managers seeking ISO certification. More companies are realizing it’s just not feasible to invest thousands of dollars to acquire and maintain a certificate. Moreover, the registrar will return 364 days later to perform another audit, which further increases the expense. Nevertheless, ISO can be a wise investment if the company gets value-added benefits proven to increase its bottom line, grow revenues and attract more customers.

I have personally experienced in my years in manufacturing what ISO has become. In fact, I have had auditors tell me one year, “Daryl you run a great system,” and the following year they come back for another surveillance audit and claim they need to issue a corrective action because it’s what the registration body expects.

No wonder companies are increasingly seeing ISO and the quality process as being distorted and financially driven, requiring an investment of a lot of money to gain acceptance and approval based on standardization procedures that are non-consistent. You end up with a standard that is not clear, which only devalues the confidence people have in the standards-setting process.

Since nearly all registrars are required to report to the same international accreditation body, the certification process as it stands today is flawed, and no better than the fox guarding the henhouse.

For this reason I founded G-PMC LLC as a stand-alone registrar reporting directly to the Industrial Leaders Group, which serves as its sole accrediting body. G-PMC is an independent entity of Guberman-PMC LLC, which provides consultation and technical assistance in achieving many ISO, AS and TS ratings, as well as Nadcap compliance and certification.

Daryl Guberman

Stratford, Conn.