What Is ISO 9002?

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ISO 9002 was a standard issued by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) that guided the work related to quality assurance in production, installation and servicing. ISO 9002 has become obsolete and no 9002 accreditation can be received today. ISO 9002 gave way to a group of standards, called ISO 9001, in 2000. These new guidelines are more all inclusive, covering various aspects of quality management. ISO 9001 standards are still in use today.


The International Organization of Standardization was founded in Geneva, Switzerland, after World War II with the mission to gather insights from multiple nations to harmonize industrial standards into guidelines that would work at a global level. To give each country an equal footing, the organization formed technical committees limited to a single expert in standards from each nation. ISO still follows this approach today. Developing countries have joined the organization as fully equal members, wielding the same degree of influence as do the developed nations.


The British government proved instrumental in encouraging the ISO to develop the ISO 9000 series. The effort started after the United Kingdom experienced several disastrous bomb explosions in its factories during World War II that were caused by munitions defects. Anxious to prevent more accidents, the United Kingdom developed the standards called BS 5750 to enforce tight production and installation procedures aimed at ensuring better quality product and greater employee safety.


The BS 5750 standards promoted the idea of focusing on the quality of the production processes as opposed to the product itself. This concept represented a novel approach to issues in manufacturing. The British government urged the ISO to develop a broader version applicable to nonmilitary industries. In 1987, the ISO took the BS 5750 guidelines and built upon them to create the ISO 9000 quality management standards.

ISO 9002

ISO 9002 guided the practices of quality assurance in production, installation and service for 13 years, from 1987 to 2000. The document included 19 sets of quality system requirements that covered all functions involved with the manufacture and delivery of products. Some of these requirements matched practices described in the U.S. Defense Department MIL standards. They included a stress on the importance of setting quality objectives upfront for each area of production, of monitoring progress against objectives and of taking corrective steps as soon as employees noted a deviation from accepted practices.


ISO 9001:2000 succeeded ISO 9002 in 2000 and merged 9002 with two other standards, 9001 and 9003. This new group of guidelines departed from 9002 by placing accountability for quality assurance with upper management. It requested the leadership team to set quality objectives for its company and support the activities needed by providing resources for implementation and training. Guidelines included the use of metrics to measure compliance to processes as a means to achieve zero defects.


The ISO 9000 set of standards has become widely adopted. Today,160 nations refer to ISO 9000 for evaluating companies’ commitment to quality. Besides providing a common language of quality management, these guidelines have created opportunities for companies to collaborate with others in aligning their operations based on shared expectations of quality assurance.



About the Author

Nathalie Gosset started writing for technical journals such as “Lightwave” in 1990. Awarded the 2009 IEEE Engineer of the Year and 2007 EMBS Career Achievement recognitions for her philanthropic outreach, she authored her first professional development book, “Hidden Jobs, How to Find Them!” in 2009. Gosset has a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, a Master in Telecom and a Master of Business Administration.

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