A family of standards and guidelines for quality in the manufacturing and service industries. ISO 9000 defines the criteria for what should be measured. ISO 9001 covers design and development. ISO 9002 covers production, installation and service, and ISO 9003 covers final testing and inspection. ISO 9000 certification does not guarantee product quality. It ensures that the processes that develop the product are documented and performed in a quality manner.
First Popular in Europe
Initially popular in Europe, ISO 9000 certification began to increase in the U.S. in the early 1990s. Certification requires exacting documentation and demonstrations in practice over time. The process, which can take up to a year, involves two major players in addition to the company being certified. A consultant provides (and may help implement) a plan for documenting the company's ISO system. Once documented, a registrar interviews the company's management and line staff to make sure that the new system, as documented, has been effectively implemented. Only a few dozen companies worldwide are authorized to conduct such audits for the issuance of ISO 9000 certificates. See ISO 9000-3